Supreme Court rules Kaashidhoo MP cannot attend parliament sittings

The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that Independent MP Ismail Abdul Hameed could not attend parliament sittings as long as his conviction by the Criminal Court on corruption charges is not overturned.

The full bench of the apex court however ruled that the Kaashidhoo seat could not be declared vacant until Hameed exhausted the appeal process.

After the High Court upheld the Criminal Court verdict earlier this month, the convicted MP has filed an appeal at the Supreme Court, which has yet to decide whether to hear the case.

At Thursday’s hearing, Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz noted that under section 55 of the parliamentary rules of procedure, an MP convicted of a criminal offence could no longer attend sittings and participate in votes, adding that this was the norm in free and democratic societies.

The Chief Justice however stressed that Hameed had the right to appeal his conviction, with the possibility that it could be overturned.

Parliament sittings have meanwhile been disrupted and cancelled since October 24 due to a dispute between opposition and ruling party MPs over Hameed’s right to attend sittings.

The resulting deadlock has seen sittings cancelled for three consecutive weeks, excepting the week-long holiday preceding the SAARC summit on November 10 to 11.

Addressing objections of opposition MPs who insisted sittings could not go ahead with Hameed in attendance, Speaker Abdulla Shahid had said that in cases of dispute parliament did not have the legal authority to determine if an MP was stripped of his or her seat.

Shahid noted that according to article 74 of the constitution, “Any question concerning the qualification or removal, or vacating of seats, of a member of the People’s Majlis shall be determined by the Supreme Court.”

Opposition MPs however contended that there was no room for dispute as an MP with a sentence to serve could not attend parliament.

Following the second week of forced cancellations, Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Ahmed Nihan told Minivan News that opposition MPs did not wish to disrupt proceedings but were objecting because article 73(c)(3) of the constitution clearly stated that MPs found guilty of a criminal offence “and sentenced to a term of more than twelve months” would be stripped of their seat.


9 thoughts on “Supreme Court rules Kaashidhoo MP cannot attend parliament sittings”

  1. What utter drivel these people are coming up with! The man's been convicted, the seat should be declared vacant.

    The law does not allow a convicted murderer to walk about free and attend to his daily businesses until he exhausts the appeals process, does it? No, a convicted person makes whatever appeals he thinks necessary while serving the sentence. If he is found to have been wrongfully convicted, he can sue later.

    One would think there were uneducated people fresh off the streets sitting on those benches in the judiciary and the parliament.

    Oh, wait. There are.

  2. I hope this ends this chapter. I hope we can see many others soon, including Yaameen and other cronies.

  3. Could one argue Kaashidhoo Dhaairaa voters' right to unrestricted representation? Judicial gymnastics...showing off! What a waste of public money!

  4. For Maumoon to go to Thaa Guraidhoo and tell the people that he will change to Thimarafushi airport to Guraidhoo is politics at its lowest. The people of Thimarafushi will not tolerate this at all. Besides, this will restrict PPM to lay their feet into any other island in Thaa atoll. Guraidhi is governed by Kulhi Hameed's boy Hussein Maniku Don Maniku.

  5. This was on news 3 days ago, Ahmed Naish. Why do you want to make it a top news article now?

  6. Hameed is linked to MDP. He has been convicted by the judiciary. So for all Hameed-haters, the judiciary has done its job.

    The DPRS which has failed to enforce the banishment sentence is an arm of the executive.

    Also, the MDP parliamentary group made it clear to the media that they support Hameeds presence in Parliament.

    The dilemma facing the Supreme Court is quite another matter. Hameeds seat, if declared vacant now, might have to be returned to him if he is found innocent on appeal. Therefore, they have delayed making such a declaration.

    However, the SC has dutifully rendered Hameeds presence in Parliament meetings a no-no. So there is no reason why sessions of the Parliament cannot be conducted. Also, there is no reason for the executive to delay amendments to the import/export act designed to reduce customs duties on select goods.

    However, one must understand that customs duties are a valuable source of revenue for the government. Coupled with the current GST, the government can scoop up a considerable amount. When GST reaches 6% customs duties can then be reduced.

  7. "adding that this was the norm in free and democratic societies". Would he so readily cite other, more obvious, norms of free and democratic societies? Freedom of conscience and religion, for example.

  8. It looks like this chief "judge" is an amateur. In "free and democratic societies", convicts serve their sentences while their appeals are being filed or heard. This chief "judge" needs to read daily court reports in "free and democratic societies'" newspapers to bring himself up to scratch.

  9. Quite right, Ironies

    Where in the world do people found guilty of a crime and sentenced be allowed to roam free? Appeals are launched while serving out sentences to my limited knowledge.


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