JSC shuffles nine judges “to strengthen judiciary”

The Judicial Services Commission has announced it will shuffle nine superior court judges in a bid to “strengthen the judiciary.”

The judicial oversight body said the reassignments would uphold public trust in the judiciary and were an opportunity for judges to build capacity and gain additional experience.

The nine reassignments include Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed who has now been transferred to the post of the Drug Court’s Chief Judge. Judge Abdulla’s military detention in January 2012 precipitated the ousting of former President Mohamed Nasheed. He has been accused of obstructing high profile corruption cases and has been investigated for ethical misconduct.

The Prosecutor General (PG) has charged Nasheed with unlawful arrest of a government employee over Abdulla’s arrest, but the case is currently stalled after Nasheed’s legal team challenged the legitimacy of the appointment of the judges-panel to Hulhumale Magistrates Court, where the trial is being heard.

Criminal Court judges Muhuthaz Fahmy and Abdul Bari Yusuf were reassigned to the Drug Court and Juvenile Court respectively.

Yusuf was suspended in February 2013 over allegations of misconduct and the JSC told local media that despite his reassignment, Yusuf remains suspended. However, if his suspension is lifted, he will start work at the Juvenile Court, the JSC added.

The Family Court’s Ibrahim Ali was changed to the Criminal Court.

Drug Court’s judges Zubair Mohamed and Mohamed Easafulhu were reassigned to the Criminal Court while Abdul Sattar Abdul Hameed was reassigned from the Drug Court to the Civil Court.

The Civil Court’s Ali Naseer was changed to the Family Court and the Family Court’s Hassan Shafeeu was reassigned to the Civil Court. The Juvenile Court’s Mohamed Naeem was changed to the Drug Court.

UN Special Rapporteur for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Gabriela Knaul, issued a report in May 2013 expressing concern over the politicisation of the JSC and judiciary.


Failing to obey superior court’s decision violates constitution and Judges Act, Supreme Court warns Naeem

The Supreme Court has said that refusing to follow a decision made by a superior court violates the constitution and violates the Judges Act.

The Supreme Court’s statement comes after Civil Court Judge Mohamed Naeem said he would not accept cases concerning the state because the parliament had not then decided whether to give consent to reappointed Attorney General Dr Ahmed Ali Sawad.

Sawad has now been dismissed by the parliament for the second time, following his second reappointment by President Mohamed Nasheed.

The Supreme Court’s statement said that judges should at all times avoid any matters that could harm the reputation of the judiciary or cause people to lose confidence in the justice system.

The court also noted that it was against the code of conduct of the judges to disobey a decision made by a superior court.

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has formed a sub-committee to investigate judge Naeem after he told the press that he had decided not to accept cases concerning the state, despite the High Court’s decision to accept cases.

Judge Naeem revealed that the Civil Court judges were split on the issue, however the majority of the judges said they wanted to accept and conduct trials of cases concerning the state despite the fact that Dr Sawad’s appointment procedure was then not completed.

President’s Member of the JSC, Aishath Velezinee, has stated on her Article 285 blog that “Judge Naeem has been under investigation since the interim Commission, [for] nearly two years. No updates on the investigation [have been] tabled despite the legal requirement that a report must be submitted in writing every 30 days.”