The Supreme Court of the Maldives has declared that both the Police and the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) should be answerable to parliament and its National Security Committee – known as the 241 Committee – whenever requested.
The Supreme Court said the decision was made after all judges unanimously agreed on the matter, which relates to overseeing the procedures of the nation’s security forces.
The declaration was delivered after parliament, under article 95 of the Constitution, requested the Supreme Court provide legal council on the issue back in November last year, when the police and military failed to attend the Majlis for questioning when called.
Article 95 states that ”The People’s Majlis may, by resolution, refer to the Supreme Court for hearing and consideration of important questions of law concerning any matter, including the interpretation of the constitution and the constitutional validity of any statute.
The Supreme Court shall answer the questions so referred and shall provide the answers to the People’s Majlis, giving reasons for its answers.
Parliament last year attempted to summon the Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Faseeh and MNDF Major General Moosa Ali Jaleel for questioning, who then both dismissed the parliament’s requests and refused to attend the meeting.
The Supreme Court said Article 239 (b) states that ‘’the security services shall be subject to the authority of the People’s Majlis.’’
The Supreme Court also said that, according to article 99 (a) and (b), it was clear that the parliament is obliged to supervise every action of the security services and to ensure that their actions are within the constitution and laws.
It is a legal responsibility of the parliament to question cabinet ministers over their work and cabinet ministers are obliged to answer truthfully to the parliament according to the constitution, the Supreme Court said.
The Parliament’s 241 Committee is chaired by opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Ali Waheed.
When the 241 committee tried to summon both the police commissioner and the MNDF’s major general last year, the committee’s scheduled meeting was cancelled after alleged clashes with some Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs.
MDP MPs then accused the 241 committee of attempting to influence bribery investigations into Jumhoory Party leader MP Gasim ‘Buruma’ Ibrahim and Peoples Alliance (PA) Party leader MP Abdulla Yamin, who were then kept under house arrest.
Yamin and Gasim are both also members of the 241 Committee.