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.