President of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) Mohamed Fahmy Hassan has returned to office after Supreme Court ruled that parliament’s decision to remove him was unconstitutional.
The CSC confirmed to local media on Sunday (March 17) that Fahmy had returned to work after he had been dismissed by parliament in late November last year.
In November last year, parliament voted 38 – 32 to remove the CSC chair after the Independent Institutions Committee investigated a complaint of sexual harassment lodged by a female employee of the CSC.
On Thursday (March 14), Supreme Court ruled 6-1 that Fahmy would receive two punishments for the same crime if he was convicted at court following his dismissal by parliament (double jeopardy).
Following the judgment, Fahmy would be reinstated and compensated for lost wages since December 2012.
Delivering the judgment, Supreme Court Justice Abdulla Saeed reportedly said that a person should be considered innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law and was entitled to protect his reputation and dignity.
Fahmy was alleged to have to have said to a female CSC employee that “it is not appealing when unmarried girls like you get fat”, whilst touching her on the stomach.
Following Fahmy reinstatement, Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali today tweeted: “Majlis n civil servants have lost confidence in Mr. Fahmy, President of CSC. In the national interest, he should resign.”
Supreme Court ruling will encourage sexual harassment: NGO
Maldives-based NGO Voice of Women (VoW) expressed its disappointment with the Supreme Court’s ruling regarding the verdict on Fahmy’s dismissal last year.
In a statement published on its website, VoW accused the Supreme Court Justices of having let down the women of the Maldives.
“In a small country like Maldives, where women are terrified to come forward and report cases of sexual abuse, domestic violence or sexual harassment, it took great courage for a girl to step forward and report this case against Mr. Fahmy,” the statement reads.
“By reinstating Mr. Fahmy, after disregarding the Parliamentary no confidence vote, all the women working in Civil Service are in danger of being victims of sexual harassment, as women will be even more reluctant than before to come forward and report such cases.”
VoW raised further concern regarding Fahmy’s seat on the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), claiming that he is in a position to “influence the judiciary”.
“As Parliament had dismissed heads of independent commissions in the past with votes of no-confidence (eg Auditor-General on 28 March 2010) without any prior court case, VoW is extremely concerned that this ruling is highly irregular and departs from previously established norms and procedures,” the VoW statement reads.
“VoW calls upon the Parliament of Maldives to exercise its rights as per article 187 of the constitution and immediately take action to remove Mr. Fahmy (whom the parliament members as representatives of the people, do not have confidence in, and who they believe women employees will not be safe with) from his reinstated position.”