Judges not informed of impending shuffle

The Judicial Services Commission’s (JSC) Secretary General Abu Bakuru Mohamed has said the commission has not informed ten superior court judges about their impending transfer on January 1, according to local media.

The JSC decided to shuffle the judges in December “in a bid to strengthen the judiciary.” However, Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz objected to the decision claiming the commission does not have the authority to shuffle judges.

Although only two days remain for the shuffle to take effect, JSC SG Mohamed has failed to inform judges or explain reasons for the delay, local media have said.

Meanwhile, JSC Members Shuaib Abdul Rahman and MP Ahmed Hamza have confirmed to Minivan News the JSC will stands by its decision to shuffle judges and has called on the SG to facilitate its implementation.

“Informing the judges is an administrative work and the responsibility of the Secretary General. I believe he will abide by the commission’s decision and notify judges prior to their date of transfer. The transferred judges must report to work at the courts where they have been transferred to starting from January 1,” Hamza stated.

The JSC has so far transferred ten Superior Court judges to other courts of the same legal calibre, including the transfer of controversial Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed to the same position at the Drug Court.

JSC Senior Legal and Complaints Officer Hassan Faheem Ibrahim also said that notifying judges is the responsibility of the SG, and so he is unable to comment on the matter.

Controversy around transfer of judges

Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz Hussain termed the JSC’s decision “unlawful.” He sent a letter to the president of the judicial watchdog Supreme Court Judge Adam Mohamed stating that the commission did not have the legal authority to carry out such transfers without deliberation with the Judicial Council – a council compiled of the seven judges of the Supreme Court.

Judge Adam Mohamed himself is reported to have expressed disapproval with the decision of the remaining commission members to transfer judges and to have walked out of the commission meeting.

The commission, however, decided with majority votes to go ahead with the transfers, stating that the Chief Justice’s objection lacked any legal grounds.

“Even under the constitution and the JSC Act, the commission is vested with the power to transfer the judges as we have,” member Hamza said at the time.


One thought on “Judges not informed of impending shuffle”

  1. The transfers are in reality either demotions or promotions. Those courts are not considered as of the same "legal caliber".

    Unless the JSC publishes detailed reasons for their transfers I do not even see any point of media coverage in this issue. Why were the judges transferred? Aside from the vague comment about "strengthening the judiciary" the JSC has not given any solid reasons.

    Why were some judges raised to the post of Chief Justice? What qualifications do they possess? How can a judge working at the Drug Court (a recently-formed court which rules on mechanical/procedural issues with little substantial jurisprudence) know anything about the work of the Civil Court - for example.

    Why has the judiciary transferred one Judge from the Criminal Court to the Civil Court to the Juvenile Court and now back to the Criminal Court? How can the judiciary be strong when judges are not given a chance to specialize in an area of the law?

    How can judges be independent when politicians in the JSC can transfer them from one court to another at will without providing any reasons to the public?

    The MDP currently has a majority in the JSC so the transfers must be to their own needs. What if the PPM gets the majority in the future? Will some other judges be transferred mysteriously as well? Will the MDP's earlier transfers be reversed? What if a judge refuses to rule according to the wishes of the political party in control of the JSC? Will they unearth evidence of misconduct kept hidden for years and "discipline" him?


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