High Court throws out EC appeal against new member Habeeb

The High Court has thrown out an appeal by the Elections Commission (EC) against its newly appointed commission member Ismail Habeeb.

Habeeb was made redundant in January 2013 before contesting his dismissal at the Labor tribunal. The tribunal ordered his reinstatement in August 2013, by which time he had been appointed to the Civil Court as its senior administrator.

The EC initially demoted Habeeb on corruption allegations in 2012 claiming he had not followed due procedures in appointing an EC staff and in awarding a scholarship to another staff. But the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) cleared Habeeb of the charges.

The EC decided to appeal the tribunal’s decision at the High Court, but the commission’s lawyers failed to attend the hearing scheduled for Monday.

In the meantime, Habeeb was appointed by the People’s Majlis to the EC on March 12 to replace former member ‘Ogaru’ Ibrahim Waheed who had resigned in October 2013 citing health issues.

Habeeb’s confirmation to the EC followed the Supreme Court’s controversial removal of the commission’s President Fuwad Thowfeek and Vice President Ahmed Fayaz.

The dismissals left the EC without the three members required for a quorum to hold meetings and approve decisions, raising doubts over the commission’s ability to prepare for and conduct parliamentary elections as scheduled on March 22.