The Supreme Court has ordered the Criminal Court to restart trials following the court’s decision to suspend all cases in the absence of a prosecutor general (PG).
In a statement today, the Supreme Court said it had told the Criminal Court that the criminal justice system must proceed in order to maintain constitutional rule.
The apex court ordered the Criminal Court to “continue with all ongoing cases without any obstruction, and continue issuing rulings such as that on [pre-trial] detentions as before.”
The Criminal Court had announced yesterday it will halt all ongoing cases as the PG’s position has been vacant for more than 30 days.
Former PG Ahmed Muizz had resigned from his position shortly before the parliament was set to debate a no confidence motion against him.
Speaking to Minivan News, deputy PG Hussein Shameem condemned the Criminal Court for its decision, alleging the court had not discussed the matter with him or the parliament.
Further, people held in pre-trial detention may have to stay in remand centers if cases do not go ahead, Shameem said.
“So what do they do now, it would not be fair to keep them in there until the parliament comes back to work from recess after three months and appoint a new PG,’’ Shameem said.
“That is one of my biggest concerns over this issue, it is a responsibility of the PG office to uphold constitutional rights of the people.’’
There were no laws stating that the deputy PG cannot fulfill the responsibilities of PG in the case of the position being vacant, Shameem added.
He argued that PG’s office’s work must not come to a halt because the parliament had failed to appoint a new PG.
On December 10, President Abdulla Yameen proposed his nephew Maumoon Hameed for the post of Prosecutor General and submitted the name to the parliament for the MPs to approve.
The issue was sent to parliament’s Independent Commissions Committee and the committee decided to seek public opinion on him before sending it to the parliament floor for voting.
However, the parliament is now on recess and will not start work until March.