Judicature amendments to appeal process come into force February 15

The High Court has announced that lower court and tribunal decisions can only be appealed under the new process established by the Supreme Court from Sunday (February 15)

The instructions referred to by the High Court – published on January 27 – state that the request for appeal must be submitted by filing the necessary forms to the  lower court or tribunal that deliberated on the case, within 10 days of its conclusion.

The lower court or tribunal must then send the forms to the upper court within 7 days of the appeal request, before the upper court is then obliged to complete all administrative processes necessary within 7 days of receiving the appeal documentation.

High Court Spokesman Amin Faisal was unable to give further details, confirming only that the appeal process will be in accordance with the Supreme Court circular from Sunday onwards.

The amendments to the Judicature Act also mandate the formation of two additional branches of the High Court in the northern and southern regions of the Maldives. The two new branches can only adjudicate the rulings of the magistrate courts.

The nine-member High Court is to be divided among the three branches, with three judges in each branch.


JSC taking applications for six Judgeships

The Judicial Service Commission has opened applications for the vacant positions on the benches of the High Court, Civil Court, and Criminal Court.

In an announcement made today, the commission stated that applications will be open from today till 3pm on February 10, 2015, for one High Court judge, four Civil Court judges, and one Criminal Court judge. The application forms will be available on www.jsc.gov.mv.

High Court Judge Yoosuf Hussain retired from the bench today, reportedly due to poor health, while Civil Court judge Aishath Shujoon – one of the first female judges in the Maldives, resigned in late December of last year.


MDP rejects MP Shareef’s proposal to reduce Supreme Court bench

Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) national executive council has rejected an amendment proposed by MDP MP Ibrahim ‘Mavota’ Shareef to reduce the number of Supreme Court judges from the current seven to five.

Speaking to the press today, opposition leader and former President Mohamed Nasheed said the amendments would require reappointment of the Supreme Court bench, and said the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives’ (PPM) majority in the parliament and their refusal to consider the opposition’s concerns would result in a bench biased towards the PPM.

“The current issues within the judicial system does not amount to the number of judges at the Supreme Court. There are bigger issues that require immediate resolution,” he said.

In a speech last night, Nasheed described the amendments as an attempt by the PPM to fit the Supreme Court bench into President Abdulla Yameen’s fist.

The amendments came in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to accept a complaint over “an unconstitutional decision” to reappoint the auditor general, he claimed. The Supreme Court today rejected the complaint.

Shareef defected from the MDP to former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) in 2008, but rejoined the MDP during the presidential elections of 2013. Gayoom left the DRP to form PPM in 2011.

Shareef said he believed a seven member Supreme Court to be too large for the Maldives. He has also proposed two three-member High Court benches be established in the North and South.

Meanwhile, MDP Parliamentary Group Leader Ibrahim ‘Ibu’ Mohamed Solih said Shareef had not consulted the party before he submitted amendments.

MDP Chairperson Ali Waheed said the party’s MPs are now obliged to proceed with the national council’s decision.

Meanwhile, local media reported that Hulhuhenveiru MP and Deputy Speaker ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik had boycotted the council meeting following a heated argument. Speaking to Haveeru afterwards, Manik pledged to support Shareef, even he if he has to do so alone, and claimed MDP members had treated Shareef disrespectfully at today’s meeting.

The Supreme Court – established in 2008 – has been in the midst of numerous controversies in and out of the Court room.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court used a ‘suo moto’ proceeding – allowing the Court to act as both the plaintiff and the judge – against the Elections Comission (EC)’s President Fuwad Thowfeek and Vice President Ahmed Fayaz.

They were charged with contempt of court and disobedience to order and sentenced to six months in jail as a result of testimony given in the People’s Majlis independent commission’s oversight committee.

More recently, the Court employed a similar ‘suo moto’ proceeding against the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) after it criticized the judiciary in its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) sent to the UN.

The Court charged HRCM with undermining the constitution and sovereignty of the Maldives by spreading lies about the judiciary in the UPR while stating that the report – based on a 2013 report by the UN Special Rapporteur for Independence of Judges and Lawyers Gabriela Knau – was ‘poorly researched’, ‘irresponsible’ and ‘dangerous.’

June this year also saw Judge Ali Hameed – a sitting Judge at the Supreme Court – being cleared of a sex tape scandal after three recordings surfaced allegedly showing Ali Hameed engaging in sexual acts with three different woman.


Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed takes over ‘Sun’ Shiyam’s case

Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed has taken over the alcohol smuggling and possession trial of Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) leader MP Ahmed ‘Sun’ Shiyam.

Citing a letter sent from the criminal court secretariat to Judge Ahmed Sameer Abdul Aziz, who was previously overseeing proceedings, Haveeru has reported that the action was taken in response to a letter from the Supreme Court.

The decision has come amid media reports that Judge Aziz was to be replaced with Judge Shujau Usman after a request from government coalition leader Shiyam

According to the court spokesperson, the action was taken following complaints regarding the case, and was done under Article 55 (e) of the Judicature Act.

The article specifies that it is the responsibility of the senior judge in superior courts to “take action in relation to delays and other complaints related to cases submitted to the court”.

Shiyam request allegedly stated that Judge Aziz’s “hand gestures and facial expressions” indicated a personal grudge against him which could lead to an unfair trial.

According to reports, in addition to making the request for the removal of Judge Aziz from the Criminal Court and Supreme Court, Shiyam wrote a letter to Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz stating his belief that his complaints regarding the judge had further increased the risk of receiving an unfair trial.

In a letter addressed to the chief justice, which was acquired by the media, Shiyam was reported to have said he had received reports that the judge may be “considering a hastened and strict verdict” against him.

Denying reports that the case had already been handed over to a new judge, the court today said it still remains with Chief Judge Abdulla.

Shiyam was charged with smuggling and possession of alcohol in March 2012 after customs officers at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) discovered a bottle of alcohol in his luggage.

The case remained in the investigation stage for a year after the Prosecutor General’s Office sent it back to the police in August 2012 citing a lack of necessary information.

Since the trial began in November 2013, the Criminal Court has cancelled four scheduled hearings after being unable to deliver the summons chit to Shiyam.

He appeared before the court for the first and the only hearing held in the case on March 13 this year after a court order was issued to bring him before the court under police custody. Shiyam denied the charges and requested more time to research the case.

The second hearing in the trial has been rescheduled three times, the most recent instance occurring earlier this week.

In late March, CNM reported that Judge Abdulla – prior to the official schedule date for the second hearing – had attempted to hold an unofficial hearing while judge Aziz was on leave.

If found guilty Shiyam could lose his seat in parliament as per Article 73(c)(2) of the constitution which states that members of the parliament will be disqualified upon receiving a criminal sentence of more than twelve months.

Meanwhile, a hearing in the trial of Shiyam’s brother, Ahmed Salim Mohamed, for disobedience to order have also been cancelled this week, on the same date Shiyam’s latest delay.

Haveeru reports that Chief Judge Abdulla has on several occasions asked presiding Judge Muhtaz Hussein to hand the case over to him, though the court informed Minivan News today that this has not yet happened.


Chief Justice Faiz previously alleged bribery in interim Supreme Court: Nasheed

Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz alleged in 2010 that judges on the interim Supreme Court “openly accepted bribes”, advising then-President Mohamed Nasheed to “bring the interim court to a halt,” Nasheed has claimed at a campaign rally in Male’ last night.

In 2010, then-interim Supreme Court Justice Faiz requested an audience with the president, Nasheed explained, noting that it was the first time he had met with a sitting judge.

“Faiz came and said the judges on the interim Supreme Court were openly accepting bribes and that Faiz knew of it,” Nasheed said.

He named the judges who were accepting bribes, Nasheed added.

“Faiz told me that the work that went on in the interim Supreme Court was not establishing justice but buying and selling. He said the court must be brought to a halt,” he continued.

Faiz advised the president that he was obliged to rein in the interim court, Nasheed said.

Interim bench

Nasheed referred to the five-member interim Supreme Court – headed by interim Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed – declaring that it was permanent ahead of the constitutional deadline for the interim period on August 7, 2010.

Apart from Faiz, the interim bench sworn in on September 18, 2008 consisted of Justice Abdulla Saeed, Justice Mujthaz Fahmy, Justice Abdulla Areef, and Justice Yousuf Hussain.

Nasheed noted that the then-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) did not have a majority in the People’s Majlis, through which the permanent Supreme Court was to be instituted.

Referring to Justice Ali Hameed’s sex tape scandal, the former president revealed that his first seven nominees to the apex court did not include “disgraced judges.”

The original candidates included sitting MPs and a relative of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, he added.

Nasheed alleged that Jumhooree Party Leader Gasim Ibrahim offered an unlimited amount of money to MDP parliamentary group leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in exchange for confirming Ali Hameed to the Supreme Court bench.

On August 7, 2010, when the constitutional interim period expired, President Nasheed ordered the military to confiscate the keys of the Supreme Court after the interim court declared itself permanent.

Three days later, parliament hastily passed the Judges Act and approved Nasheed’s nominees to the new Supreme Court bench in a deal reached with the then-opposition parties who controlled parliament.

The president’s member on the Judicial Services Commission (JSC), Aishath Velezinee, described Faiz at the time as “a well-respected man amongst the judges. I have never heard anybody question his independence or impartiality. He is a learned man and amongst all the politicking and hanky-panky going on, he has maintained his integrity.”

Nasheed meanwhile went on to severely criticise Faiz for issuing a harshly worded statement condemning international partners who expressed concern with the Supreme Court’s controversial removal of the Elections Commission’s chair and deputy chair.

The Supreme Court was “destroying the future of generations to come,” he said.


Parliament accepts bill seeking to abolish Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court

Parliament today accepted amendments to the Judicature Act submitted by Independent MP Mohamed ‘Kutti’ Nasheed to abolish the magistrate court in Hulhumale’.

The legislation (Dhivehi) was narrowly accepted for consideration with 32 votes in favour, 31 against as well as one abstention and sent to the Independent Institutions Committee for review.

The Independent MP for Kulhudhufushi South proposed the amendments in December 2012, following a controversial 4-3 Supreme Court ruling declaring the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court legitimate.

The judgment cleared the way for the magistrate court to proceed with the trial of former President Mohamed Nasheed on charges of illegally detaining Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012.

Nasheed’s formerly ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) disputes the legitimacy of the magistrate court, contending that it was created by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) in violation of the Judicature Act.

Writing in his personal blog after submitting the amendments, MP Nasheed explained that he would have accepted the apex court’s decision as final and incontrovertible if Supreme Court Justice Adam Mohamed Abdulla – chair of the JSC – had recused himself.

“The [Hulhumale’] court was formed by the commission. The vote on forming the court was called at a meeting of the commission chaired by [Justice Adam Mohamed]. The case requesting the Supreme Court to declare the court legitimate was submitted by the commission chaired by the justice,” Nasheed wrote.

Justice Adam Mohamed “created the court, filed the case, and decided the case in his favour,” Nasheed wrote.

Echoing the criticism, former Attorney General Husnu Suood, who argued the case at the Supreme Court, described the decision at the time as “a case of actual bias because JSC would [have] lost the case without the vote of JSC president: 3 for 3 against, [tie-breaking] vote by JSC [president].”

Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz Hussain, Justice Abdulla Areef and Justice Muthasim Adnan had delivered the dissenting opinion ruling that the magistrate court was not established in accordance with the Judicature Act.

MP Nasheed’s amendments would meanwhile see the magistrate court abolished and its cases transferred to the superior courts (Criminal Court, Civil Court, Family Court, Juvenile Court and Drug Court) in Male’.

Moreover, an article would be added to the Judicature Act explicitly stating that the islands of Hulhumale’ and Vilimale’ should be considered part of Male’ City.

Vili-Maafanu and Hulhu-Henveiru are both electoral districts or constituencies in the capital with elected MPs and city councillors.


In a blogpost in October 2012, Nasheed observed that the Judicature Act stipulates that magistrate courts should be set up in inhabited islands aside from Male’ without a division of the trial courts (Criminal Court, Civil Court, Family Court, Drug Court and Juvenile Court).

According to appendix two of the constitution, Hulhumale’ is a district or ward of Male’ and not a separate inhabited island.

The former magistrate court at Hulhumale’ – controversially set up by the JSC before the enactment of the Judicature Act in October 2010 – should therefore have been dissolved when the Judicature Act was ratified, Nasheed contended.

In the latter blogpost on amending the law governing courts, Nasheed explained that the purpose of amending the Judicature Act was to “clarify the Majlis’ intent as the [Supreme Court] has made a decision that conflicts with the intent of the Majlis in passing the law.”

If a Supreme Court interpretation of an article or provision in an act of parliament was “not the outcome intended by lawmakers,” Nasheed suggested that the remedy was amending the law to ensure the desired effect.

If the amendments are passed and signed into law, Nasheed wrote, a magistrate court could not be set up in the capital Male’ on the pretext of “two or three articles in the Judicature Act”.

Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court

During the first hearing of former President Nasheed’s trial at the magistrate court, the ex-president’s lawyers raised procedural points challenging the legitimacy of the court, which were summarily dismissed by the three magistrates on the bench.

Nasheed’s legal team then appealed the magistrate court’s ruling on the procedural points at the High Court.

On November 4, 2012, the High Court granted a stay or an injunction temporarily suspending the trial pending a ruling on procedural points.

The injunction prompted the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court to announce that it had suspended all ongoing cases as they could be affected by the questions raised over the court’s legal status.

However, before the High Court could issue a ruling on the appeal, the JSC filed a case in Supreme Court requesting a decision to declare the magistrate court legitimate.

On November 8, 2012, the Supreme Court instructed the High Court to halt its hearings on the former President’s appeal.

The Supreme Court also ordered the Civil Court to send over all files and documents on a case submitted over a year ago by lawyer Ismail Visham, which challenged the legitimacy of the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court.

The Supreme Court issued a writ of mandamus ordering the lower court to suspend its hearings and took over the case.

Meanwhile, a week before the Supreme Court delivered its 4-3 judgment declaring the magistrate court legitimate, parliament’s Independent Institutions Committee voted not to recognise the legitimacy of the Hulhumale’ court.

The oversight committee, chaired by MP Nasheed, decided that there were no “legal and constitutional grounds” to support the court’s legal status.

However, in an unprecedented move, the Supreme Court issued an order (No. 2012/SC-SJ/05) invalidating the committee’s decision.

The Supreme Court declared that no institution should meddle with the business of the courts, claiming that it held parental authority over “constitutional and legal affairs” and would not allow such “interference” to take place.

“Any action or a decision taken by an institution of the state that may impact the outcome of a matter that is being heard in a court of law, and prior to a decision by the courts on that matter, shall be deemed invalid, and [the Supreme Court] hereby orders that these acts must not be carried out,” the order read.

Meanwhile, earlier this month, the High Court granted a second injunction or stay halting former President Nasheed’s trial at the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court.

The trial was suspended pending a ruling by the High Court on the legitimacy of the three-magistrate bench appointed by the JSC to preside over Nasheed’s trial.

The injunction followed testimony by members of the JSC to the Independent Institutions Committee claiming that the three magistrates chosen by JSC were appointed arbitrarily.


Judicial Council decided Hulhumale’ court could not hear criminal cases, reveals Nasheed’s legal team

Members of the Judicial Council raised doubts over the legitimacy of the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court at a meeting in late 2010 and decided that criminal cases were out of its jurisdiction, former President Mohamed Nasheed’s legal team have revealed.

In a press statement, Nasheed’s legal team said that minutes from a meeting of the Judicial Council were among documents submitted by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to the High Court.

The JSC entered as a third party into an appeal lodged by Nasheed at the High Court challenging a ruling by the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court, which had summarily dismissed procedural points raised by the former President’s lawyers.

The procedural issues included the legal status of the magistrate court.

However, before the High Court was due to issue a ruling on Nasheed’s appeal, the Supreme Court instructed the High Court to suspend proceedings as the apex court had been asked to determine the legitimacy of the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court.

The Judicial Council minutes meanwhile revealed that Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz, former Chief Judge of the High Court Abdul Gani, former Chief Judge of the Juvenile Court Shuaib Hussain Zakariyya, Magistrate Mohamed Niyaz from the north judicial district and Magistrate Ali Shareef from the south judicial district “all raised questions over the legitimacy of the Hulhumale’ court.”

The Judicial Council was abolished after the Supreme Court unilaterally struck down articles in the Judicature Act concerning the council.

“Presenting the case [to the council], the Chief Justice said that following the enactment of the law on courts, members of the judiciary as well as lawyers were saying that the court in Hulhumale’ could not function under the law and that the Hulhumale’ court had been stopped following the passage of the [Judicature Act in 2010],” the press release explained.

The Judicature Act states that magistrate courts should be set up in inhabited islands aside from Male’ without a division of the trial courts (Criminal Court, Civil Court, Family Court and Juvenile Court).

According to appendix two of the constitution, Hulhumale’ is a district or ward of Male’ and not a separate inhabited island. The former magistrate court at Hulhumale’ – controversially set up by the JSC before the enactment of the Judicature Act in October 2010 – should therefore have been dissolved when the Judicature Act was ratified.

Moreover, the minutes revealed that the Judicial Council had decided that criminal cases were out of the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court’s jurisdiction.

The Chief Justice had said at the Judicial Council meeting that the magistrate court had been dealing with civil cases and family disputes.

The press statement noted that it was the opinion on record of all judges at the council meeting that the Hulhumale’ court could not function as a separate court following the enactment of the Judicature Act.

Supreme Court intervention

Nasheed’s legal team also expressed concern with the Supreme Court ordering the High Court to suspend hearings on the appeal.

If the Supreme Court decides to take over the procedural point raised at the High Court, “President Nasheed would lose one stage of appeal,” the legal team said.

Following the High Court granting an injunction or stay suspending the former President’s trial at the Hulhumale’ court, the magistrate court announced that it has suspended all ongoing cases.

However, the Supreme Court last week instructed the magistrate court to resume the cases and took over a case filed at the Civil Court a year ago by a lawyer, Ismail Visham, contesting the legitimacy of the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court.

Speaking to press yesterday after a ceremony to open new offices for the Drug Court, Chief Justice Faiz criticized the JSC as “inept” and contended that “challenges faced by the judiciary would have been resolved” if the judicial watchdog body “properly” carried out its responsibilities.

Faiz also said that the case concerning the legitimacy of the Hulhumale Magistrate Court presently before the Supreme Court had not been addressed before because the JSC had not filed the case.

“When a case was filed in Civil Court contesting the legitimacy of Hulhumale Magistrate Court, the JSC sent a letter to [the Supreme Court] arguing that the Civil Court did not have the jurisdiction to look into the case. We then asked the JSC to file a case as per the procedure and they only filed the case just a few days ago,” he explained.

The Chief Justice added that the Supreme Court would be considering the case as a “high priority”.

The JSC filed the case while Nasheed’s appeal was ongoing at the High Court.

Meanwhile, MP Mariya Ahmed Didi, former President Nasheed’s spokesperson, said that the Supreme Court deciding on the legitimacy of the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court without allowing the High Court to rule on Nasheed’s appeal would “give weight to what many are saying about the politicization of the Supreme Court.”

The former Special Majlis MP urged the highest court of appeal to allow the High Court to issue a ruling as those unhappy with the judgment could appeal at the Supreme Court.


High Court grants injunction suspending former President Nasheed’s trial

The High Court today granted an injunction (Dhivehi) temporarily suspending the trial of former President Mohamed Nasheed at the contested Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court, pending a ruling on procedural points raised by the former President’s legal team.

The former President is facing criminal charges over the military’s controversial detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed.

At a preliminary hearing on October 22, Nasheed’s lawyers requested an injunction halting the trial pending a ruling by the High Court on three procedural points dismissed by the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court: a magistrate court holding a trial on a different island to where it was based; the constitutional legitimacy of the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court; and the legality of the arrest warrant issued by the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court, as such orders could only be issued by a court in the locality of the defendant’s permanent address.

At the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court’s first trial date on October 9, the court summarily dismissed the first two points and agreed to hear the last issue. The court however ruled that the warrant was issued legally as it was following a precedent established by the High Court.

The ruling was subsequently appealed by Nasheed’s legal team at the High Court.

Concluding the hearing on the appeal on October 22, High Court Judge Shuaib Hussain Zakariya said the three-judge panel would issue a ruling on the injunction at the next hearing on the morning of November 4.

Meanwhile, the second hearing of the trial at the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court was scheduled for 4:00pm today. Following the court order issued by the High Court however, it has since been cancelled.

In its ruling today, the High Court noted that the Prosecutor General’s Office had not objected to the court issuing the injunction at the October 22 hearing.

The High Court noted that continuing without “determining the legitimacy of the necessary procedural processes” and “ensuring the rights of the defendant” could cause irreparable injury to the claimant.

Moreover, if there was “a delay” in ruling on the request for an injunction, “the court believes that the purpose of the ruling [on the appeal] might not be achieved”.


Parliament returns from recess, passes Judicature Act

Parliament returned for its final session of the year today after a month-long recess and passed the Judicature Bill in a bipartisan vote, a crucial piece of legislation for judicial reform.

The last sitting of parliament on August 30 was called off after MPs clashed over amendments proposed to the bill by the opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) to both prevent the courts from conducting trials related to the activities of the former government and block retrials of controversial cases.

Parliamentary Group Leader of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) “Reeko” Moosa Manik told Minivan News at the time that MDP MPs protested because the DRP was attempting to “take the judiciary in their fist”.

However, in contrast to the acrimonious sitting of the last session, voting on amendments passed smoothly.

The Judicature Act was passed today with 50 votes in favour, four against and six abstentions.

As stipulated by chapter six of the constitution, the Act specifies the hierarchy and jurisdiction of the courts as well as standardized procedures for administration.

Once ratified, the Act will also create a Judicial Council to formulate regulations and procedures for trials.

The bill was proposed by the government in March this year.

Free whip

Baarah MP Mohamed Shifaz, spokesperson for the MDP parliamentary group, told Minivan News today that he voted against the bill because he was “not satisfied” with some provisions.

Following extensive discussions, the two parties came to an agreement on the bill during the last session, Shifaz explained, but the DRP proposed “a lot of amendments at the last minute.”

Speaking to Minivan News at the time, DRP MP Dr Abdulla Mausoom, accused the MDP of scuttling the last sitting on August 30 when “it was not going the way MDP MPs wanted.”

“We have the right to propose amendments; all the things they are saying are excuses,’’ said Mausoom. “MDP MPs just do not like following the due procedure of the parliament.’’

Mausoom defended the amendments as intended to “broaden the bill and to frame it in such a way that the courts can perform their work best.”

The bill was voted through with all the amendments proposed by the main opposition and only one amendment proposed by an MDP MP.

On the final vote, Shifaz said that the MDP MPs were given a free whip “to vote with their conscience” as the matter was of national interest.

Among several issues with the final bill, Shifaz said that he objected to “a big gap” between courts in the capital Male’ and the atolls as islanders would have to come to Male’ for civil cases involving an amount in excess of Rf100,000 (US$7,782).

Moreover, he added, the Act would give excessive powers to the Judicial Services Commission, such as control of the Department of Judicial Administration, which would be renamed if the bill is ratified.

Point of order

Today’s sitting became heated during the preliminary debate on a bill on jails and parole proposed by the government when DRP MPs raised consecutive points of order to object to President Mohamed Nasheed’s refusal to ratify the amendments to the Public Finance Act more than a month after parliament voted to override a presidential veto.

According to article 91(b): “Any bill returned to the People’s Majlis for reconsideration shall be assented to by the president and published in the government gazette if the bill, after reconsideration, is passed without any amendments, by a majority of the total membership of the People’s Majlis.”

The objections of the DRP MPs were echoed by Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) MP Riyaz Rasheed and independents Ibrahim Muttalib and Ahmed Amir.

The MPs argued that passing any further legislation was “pointless” until the president ratified the amendments to the Public Finance Act, claiming that continuing sittings in the meantime was a serious procedural issue.

As the sitting grew heated, Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim threatened to invoke his authority under the rules of procedure to call out the name of DRP Deputy Leader Ali Waheed and force him out of the chamber.

Addressing the points of order, Deputy Speaker Nazim said that the matter was “a constitutional issue” as article 91(b) did not specify the period in which the president had to ratify bills passed by parliament for a second time.

The minority opposition People’s Alliance MP suggested that a dispute between the executive and the legislature could only be resolved through the courts.

“I don’t believe that with the issue you are raising we could make any progress without passing through the stages of the legal process,” he said.