JSC President Justice Adam Mohamed Abdulla resigns

Judicial Service Commission (JSC) President Justice Adam Mohamed Abdulla has resigned from the commission (January 18).

A JSC press statement released today explained that the Supreme Court justice had submitted his letter of resignation, saying that Adam Mohamed had requested to be excused, citing personal circumstances.

He has been a member of the JSC since 2010, when he joined as a High Court judge.

The resignation comes less than a month after the JSC found Adam Mohamed’s fellow judges on the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz and Justice Muthasim Adnan, unfit to continue to serve on the bench, in a ruling made available to neither the public nor MPs.

The secrecy of the decision did not prevent the Majlis voting to remove the pair three days later, in a move described as having “severely jeopardised” the country’s judicial independence by Commonwealth groups.

The Civil Court and several prominent lawyers also condemned the JSC’s recommendation to remove the judges, saying that the People’s Majlis had “forced” the JSC to deem Faiz and Adnan unfit for the bench without due process, through an “unconstitutional” amendment to the Judicature Act.

United Nations Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and lawyers Gabriela Knaul also expressed serious concern over the removal of the judges saying that the decision will “have a chilling effect on the work of the judiciary at all levels”.

In a 2013 report, Knaul observed that the JSC had a “complicated” relationship with the judiciary due to competing claims with the Prosecutor General’s Office over jurisdiction regarding complaints against judges.

Knaul noted that political polarisation in the country had meant that the “commission has allegedly been subjected to all sorts of external influence and has consequently been unable to function properly”.

Adam Mohamed himself faced a number of challenges from within the commission during his tenure as president, with commission member Shuaib Abdul Rahman filing no-confidence motions against him in 2013.

Rahman accused Mohamed of failing to back the JSC’s investigation of Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed’s sex-tape scandal, and of abusing his power to release press statements on behalf of the commission.

Related to this story

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Removal of Supreme Court judges will have “chilling effect” on work of judiciary: UN special rapporteur

A justice system in crisis: UN Special Rapporteur’s report

JSC rejects no-confidence motion against Chair Adam Mohamed