The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has appointed five judges to the High Court of the Maldives, including Shuaib Hussein Zakariyya, Dr Azmiraldha Zahir, Abdul Rauf Ibrahim, Abbas Shareef and Ali Sameer.
Dr Azmiraldha Zahir is first female judge to be appointed to the High Court, and the JSC said in a statement, was appointed despite the objection of Sheikh Shuaib Abdurahman on the grounds of her gender.
”The only commission member that did not vote for Dr Azmiraldha was Sheikh Shuaib Abdhulrahman,” said the commission. ”The reason he did not vote was that he said none one of the four sunnah sects of Islam allow females to judge in cases.”
However, the commission said Dr Azmiraldha had been appointed as one of the five judges during last night’s meeting, by the vote of eight among nine present members of the commission. All the members of the JSC were present at the meeting excluding the President’s Member Aishath Velezinee, who has contended that the commission is unfit to appoint the judiciary because the far lower standards of ethical and moral conduct it demands from judges, than is required by the Judicial Code of Conduct as passed by the JSC itself.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is furthermore investigating the JSC for embezzlement of state funds. Last Thursday, Velezinee also filed criminal charges with police against six members of the JSC.
All judges appointed to High Court, excluding Dr Azmiraldha Zahir, were appointed by the majority vote of the commission, the JSC said.
Currently there are very few female judges in Maldivian courts.
”According to the policy of appointing judges to the High Court, which was approved by the JSC, any member that does not vote for a person among those who received the highest mark, shall explain the reason why he did not vote,” said the JSC.
Meanwhile, daliy newspaper Haveeru has reported that a judge at the Criminal Court has filed a case against the appointment of judges in the Civil Court, claiming that there were policy and legal issues in the appointment procedure.
Haveeru reported that Criminal Court Judge Abdul Baary Yousuf told the paper that there were issues with the High Court Judges Appointment Policy established by the JSC.
According to Haveeru he said that the policy states that if a female and male scored even marks, higher priority shall be given to the female when appointing judges for the high court bench, and that this was against the constitution and Labor Act.
Haveeru also reported that Ali Sameer was the chief judge of Civil Court, Shuaib Hussein was the Chief Judge of the Juvenile Court, Abdul Rauf Ibrahim was the registrar of the Civil Court and Abbas Shareef was the lawyer of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.