Legal limbo leads MNDF to confiscate Supreme Court keys, after Majlis cancels last session of interim period

The Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) confiscated the keys to the Supreme Court on Saturday afternoon pending the conclusion of the interim period of the Constitution.

Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair said the President had ordered the move “to prevent entry until the Majlis (parliament) reaches a consensus [on appointing the new Supreme Court judges].”

Zuhair explained the decision to confiscate the keys was made “to avoid unforeseen circumstances, because right now there is a difference of opinion as to what will happen should the Majlis fail to reach a decision by tonight.”

The current Supreme Court judges have previously declared themselves permanent in a letter sent to President Mohamed Nasheed, although the President’s member on the Judicial Services Commission (JSC), Aishath Velezinee, claims this was unconstitutional “and no one has recognised or even mentioned it.”

According to the constitution, the president is required to nominate the new Supreme Court judges following consultation with the Judicial Services Commission (JSC), and then present the names to parliament to approve in a vote.

Nasheed has already nominated Supreme Court Judge Uz Ahmed Faiz Hussain for the position of Chief Justice, however “he has not been able nominate [the rest of the bench] because parliament has not yet passed the Bill on Judges that stipulates the number required,” Velezinee said.

The constitution obligates parliament to resolve the matter before the end of today, however scheduled sessions were postponed to 8pm and then eventually cancelled in a statement issued by the Speaker, opposition DRP MP Abdulla Shahid, on the grounds that both sides were unable to decide the matter.

The Majlis was also to approve nominations for the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) and the Civil Service Commission (CSC).

Under the constitution, the cancellation effectively leaves the country in a legal ‘limbo’ period as of midnight, without several institutions functioning legitimately including the country’s highest court – “as of midnight there are no Supreme Court judges”, Zuhair noted.

Parliament has also yet to approve the reinstated cabinet ministers.

A senior government official told Minivan News that “rather than leave the country without a legitimate judiciary on conclusion of the interim period, the President will decree at midnight that the trial courts [the Criminal and High Courts] will continue to function, while an interim body of credible judges of high reputation will serve as an appellate court, under advisory of the Commonwealth.”

Appellate courts have been used in countries like the United States, and are typically limited to reviewing decisions made by lower courts rather than hearing new evidence.

Foreign Minister Dr Ahmed Shaheed confirmed the President had proposed to decree that the two trial courts continue to function after midnight, “to give parliament time to pass the necessary legislation.”

However Dr Shaheed said the President would not re-mandate the current Supreme Court bench, “because that would be a de-facto extension and could go on forever.”

“Parliament has failed to complete legislation that would give legitimacy to the Supreme Court [under the new Constitution],” Dr Shaheed said.

He also said that while the government had asked the Commonwealth for assistance running the interim appellate court, it had not yet received an answer. The government had also briefed the UN Resident Coordinator, Andrew Cox, he said.

“It’s not just tonight’s cancellation [of parliament],” Dr Shaheed said. “Parliament has had two years to do these things. It baffles me why they would put the country in this situation – tonight people should be asking who they should blame.”

Minivan News was still waiting for a response from Attorney General Husnu Suood at time of press, following the announcement of the appellate court.

Suood had previously told newspaper Haveeru that parliament had the option of extending the transition period for another one to two months with a two-thirds majority vote, or by appointing a new chief justice before midnight.

“Questionable matters will arise when this state is over,” Suood told Haveeru.

Velezinee told Minivan News that the country was now “in a vacuum”, and the JSC had been asked to be on call to meet with the President and suggest names should parliament reach a decision.

She noted that the JSC now consisted of eight members, as the Supreme Court’s member and head of the commission Mujthaz Fahmy and ex-officio member of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) Dr Mohamed Latheef no longer retained their positions on conclusion of the interim period, until reappointed.

“I have asked the Secretary General to call the police if they try and enter the building,” she added.


28 thoughts on “Legal limbo leads MNDF to confiscate Supreme Court keys, after Majlis cancels last session of interim period”

  1. that criminal Mujthaz Fahmy is finally no longer a Supreme Court Justice!!! That is justice indeed

  2. We're in Alice's Wonderland. How delightful. After the interim period has ended where does the excommunicated Chief Justice relieve his bladder?

  3. All of a sudden we are all aware of the existence of PG. Where was he when all the cases against Nazim / Saleem was sent to him. It took him ages to send them to courts and he is happily dozing off while the "maaiyvegenvaa fadiyaarun" is sleeping over these cases. He couldn't say a word on this.
    Mr. Muizz! Just resign and go get a life.

  4. Finally, lets hope something gets done. Mujthaz fahmy and gang seems to think the courts of this country and the judges are their baap kaa maal.

    I hope the president keeps these criminals out of any positions where they might be able to influence the judiciary. And what lazy criminals those majlis members. Sitting on their arses for 2 years and on top of it squabbling like kids when its the last hours to do something.
    The highest paid lazy bums in Maldives will be all the MP's for sure.

  5. Hey common on guys the DRP better conserntate on riseing their salaries and benifits of their Supream leader Maumoon so and so. What ever the case we Maldivians will rott .

  6. When self serving judges (criminals accepting bribes and other pay offs from political figures and gangsters in order to stay in power) are determined to retain their position at the expense of the peace and security of the whole country, it is not wrong for the President to take this step to eradicate the Court of such corrupt people so that we can finally punish the criminals in this country. If anyone in the current or former government is a criminal, then well we first of all need capable and honest judges to enforce the laws of the country and pass the right judgements! What we have now is a bunch of "for sale to the highest bidder" thugs who like of think of themselves as honest judges! They only fool themselves...

  7. dr shaeed said "tonight people should be asking who they should blame." everyone is looking for someone to blame. even the tvm is looking for someone to blame. no one looks for a solution or a way out of this mess.

  8. What next, change the Quran by presidential decree, as there are some of you who don't believe, whats written in that book too. Its high time for a revolution in Maldives, abolish parties and elect a new president free from personal vendetta.

  9. Praise be to Almighty GOD

    Truth is winning eventually. Congratulations! Mr.President.May Allah guide you, your team and the nation of Maldives to the right direction.

    Congratulations to all Maldivians! This is yet again a new beginning.

    With Allah's will,Change is here, And with that Peace, Security, and Justice is going to come eventually.

    In Almighty GOD we trust.

    May Almighty GOD bless us all.

  10. The biggest wrong the judiciary has done is not to give decisions as per the orders of the current President Mohamed Nasheed.

    The biggest problem the country is facing is because :

    1. Mohamed Nasheed participated in the first round of elections with a coalition of Gaumee Ithihaad Party of Dr. Waheed (Vice President) and received 24% of the vote.
    2. The remaining Votes he received during the second round was because of a coalition with Dr. Hassan Saeed and Jumhoori Party
    3. Now that these Major parties are out of the coalition, you have a president who does not have the support of the people, his voter base without Dr. Waheed would be around 10% of the population and due to his current unpopularity, he would only have roughly 10 to 15,000 supporters.

    So now we have a president who has a support base of around 15,000 people ruling a country with a population of roughly 320,000 people.

    2. The second question that arises is, can the president HIJACK the supreme court?, can he force the state institutions to make decisions that only profit him ?

    3. The only reason why the parliament was not able to do its duty was clear with the way velezinee was recorded on tv during the judges re-appointment, its because they disrupt any proceedings that dont go as per their thoughts and because of that the parliament has been disrupted so many times, there have been DRP members who have beaten during sessions, thats the only reason parliament has not been able to do its job.

    and all this was a planned effort to bring all the powers of the state in one mans hand, a man who has a support base of just 15,000 people to rule a country of 320,000 people where 305,000 of people dislike him.

    Bad men can only flourish when the good does nothing,

    its time when the citizens took their powers and win back what is rightfully theres, the citizens deserve a president that they support and who practices democracy.

  11. Article 284 of the constitution says:
    The supreme court appointed pursuant to this chapter shall continue until the establishment of the Supreme court as provided for in article 145 of this constitution.
    So what are you guys talking about. This is a democracy with seperated powers. President has no right to influence the judiciary or the parliament. he should be inside his circle. This is not the change Maldivians expected. I'm so sad to support the change.

  12. Dr. Shaheed, Aren't you baffled about who you are and your integrity? It doesn't baffle anyone as to why this country is where it is now. Its only because of self centred double mouthed indviduals, the likes of you and Nasheed, that the country is in a stand still now.

  13. This is fantastic... Watching this full throttled thrust to eradicate the corruption is truly inspirational. I certainly hope that in the end, justice will prevail in this struggle. Thankyou SO MUCH MNDF! WAY TO GO!

  14. A parliament unable to deliver. No Supreme Court. No Chief Justice. No Courts or Judges (appointed under a law) and an unconfirmed Cabinet. Where are we going?

  15. A parliament unable to deliver. No Supreme Court. No Chief Justice. No Courts or Judges (appointed under a law. An unconfirmed Cabinet. No Human Rights Commission and no Civil Service Commission. Where is this Country going?

  16. Velezini has all the hall marks of a typical MDP activist. Ofcourse she can only be a appointed member of the President.

  17. NASHEED IS a DICTATOR like Hitler who had his courts, NASEED is USING Maldives Military for lawlessness as he is the commander in Chief. this is worse than Gayoom time.

  18. @jackson

    You are joking right? President has support of only 15,000? You are totally delusional. He has support of more than two third of the population!
    And besides this is not about the executive power! the issue here is the parliament not doing their job in the given period and deprived the Maldivians of important institutions to function as a democratic nation!

  19. I am beginning to find respect to Maumoon now. He served 30 years under the old constitution which gave him powers of both parliament and judiciary and it was OK. But we can see now the new guy with the new constitution and within little time in power more ruthless than any other ruler in this country. He is harassing the judiciary, parliament, independent commissions and even the vise president when ever they do something which he doesn’t like. He even has a different way of interpreting the constitution.
    Our economy is going backwards, crime rate so high, people have no respect for each other, family members don’t talk to each other, you get mugged every day, women are not safe, u may get knifed and now they is no rule of law.
    This is “anne Dhivehi raajje”.

  20. Beggining the end of the so called "Democracy" welcome to anne dhivehiraajje" with Miltary Power.

  21. Veluziney will be the best for Chief Justice because she will obey the President with ofcause Hon. Gasim approval.
    I will not be surprise if she go back to Jumhoori Party again if her one time favorite boss Gasim come back.
    Is there any good to learn from ppl like Valuziney?

  22. These events might be the signs of a bright future and end of tyranny. There is an english proverb " Pride comes before a fall".

    Any way we should not beleive dr. shaheed and suood will be faithful to the president.My guess is what hassan and munawar did to maumoon so will these guys to to anni. Anni will be blamed for all.

  23. Sood has resigned is this another episode of drama or a gimmick or he has got signal that he can become the interim supreme court chief justice with Velezine and Aslam Shakir. Must be interesting court when Aslam Shakir rules.

  24. Haleem, have you been in Male' the last 10 years? You speak as though all of which you speak suddeny happened with the election of our new President. It beats how someone who calls himself a muslim can speak such spin (untruth).

  25. Please please please elect maumoon for president, and yaamin for finance minister, dhunya maumoon for tourism minister, nasreena for gender ministry, gassan for communication, ilyas for civil,ablo shahid....ablo hameed ...adam zahir.............with these loyal, honest , trust worthy politicians our nation would be better off..they wont steal, lie, torture, oppress, and all thing infallible.


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