JSC investigates Civil Court judge

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has announced that it has formed a subcommittee to investigate cases concerning judges, indicating that its first subject was Civil Court Judge Sheikh Mohamed Naeem.

The investigation of Naeem came after media reported that during the first hearing of a case filed against the state, he stated that he would not accept cases related to the state before Parliament approved the appointment of Attorney General Dr Ahmed Ali Sawad, and cancelled the hearing.

Parliament today declined to approve Sawad for the second time, prompting President Nasheed to appoint Solicitor General Abdulla Muizz as his replacement.

The JSC said the committee, which consists of President of JSC Adam Mohamed Abdulla, Member of JSC Abdulla Didi and Member of JSC Shuaib Abdurahma, was established to take measures against judges under the Judges Act. Its first scheduled task was selected by a popular vote taken among its members, it said.

Naeem’s case will be the first time the JSC has investigated a judge in over a year, despite receiving over 140 complaints.

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has published a report critical of the JSC’s independence,  however the commission has thus far refused to table the report.

Local media SunFM reported that the first hearing of the case against Judge Naeem was held today, and he was questioned.

President’s Member of the JSC, Aishath Velezinee, stated on her Article 285 blog that “Judge Naeem has been under investigation since the interim Commission, [for] nearly two years. No updates on the investigation [have been] tabled despite the legal requirement that a report must be submitted in writing every 30 days.”

Last Monday, local media reported the hearing of a case filed against the state by Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) claiming that the agreement made between the Finance Ministry and GMR was not valid and that it violated the constitution.

In the Judges Chamber, Judge Naeem said that four of the Civil Court seven judges had agreed to accept cases related to the state, in a meeting to decide whether or not to accept cases related to the state after Dr Sawad was reappointed as the Attorney General following his first dismissal by parliament.

However, Judge Naeem said he would not follow the majority decision of the Judges and would not accept cases concerning the state before the parliament decided on Dr Sawad, or until a superior courts ruled otherwise.

The constitution requires all members of the cabinet to have the consent of the parliament.


3 thoughts on “JSC investigates Civil Court judge”

  1. Judge Naeem is a judge who badly requires Shariah & Law training so that he understands his capacity...now he is like people who talk politics at the Fish Market area and Island Joalifathi....

    As we all know a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, what Naeem has is a little knowledge about Justice...As a man, he is capable of getting trained and once he completes training, he no more be the Naeem that we see today, Insha Allah

  2. Let's not be too quick to judge. Perhaps Naeem has a point.

    There IS a constitutional requirement that the parliament endorse presidential appointments to the cabinet. Common-sense dictates that such appointments will always be made with the ruling party's interests at heart. An opposition majority in parliament can only bog the process down without imposing its own choices on the executive.

    However, Article 129 clearly stipulates parliamentary approval as a requirement by law. This requirement does pose practical inefficiencies and apparent incompatibility with a presidential system of governance. However, we are now left with two choices.

    1) The supreme court must decide whether pending parliamentary approval prevents presidential appointments to the cabinet from exercising their duties under the constitution.
    - If the answer is "No" then this will allow for the executive to execute its functions without delays resulting from the vetting process. However, if such an appointment is removed through parliamentary discretion, this creates discontinuity with regards to the direction of policy which is shaped by individuals as well as government agenda.
    - If the answer is "Yes" then this would amount to undue influence by the parliament on the executive as such a system would allow for a vindictive parliament to cripple the government indefinitely.

    2) The second choice, would be an amendment to article 129 which would either, a) remove the process of parliamentary approval altogether OR, b) reduce the parliament's role to a ceremonial one with regards to the removal process which would of course make the process moot altogether.

    Possible advantages to the public by allowing the parliament to vet appointments to the cabinet might lie in the prevention of high-handedness by the executive in a country which has a culture of making of nepotism and handing out posts as political favors to unqualified individuals with little or no interest in the duties of their respective posts. This is a matter of tradition so the situation might change with better education and informed public scrutiny of presidential appointments. However, there might be some utility in empowering the public to exercise their scrutiny through the parliament. Such scrutiny might be better directed through a clear and transparent process where parliament televises the interviews of presidential appointments where the latter would be questioned about their opinions and plans to formulate policy.


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