President of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has attempted to remove the parliament’s representative – Bileiydhoo MP Ahmed Hamza – from the commission.
In a letter sent separately to MP Hamza and the President Abdulla Yameen, Supreme Court Judge Adam Mohamed stated that Hamza is no longer a member of JSC as he is running for parliament.
Commenting on the attempt to remove him, Hamza said that the decision was unlawful and unwarranted.
“For one thing, I believe it is an incorrect interpretation [of the JSC Act]. And the president of the commission cannot make such a decision sending a letter by himself,” Hamza said.
Article 10 of the JSC Act states that the post of a commission member shall be deemed vacant if a member is “contesting for a political
position elected under the constitution or a law”.
However, Article 14 (a) of the Act states that certain appointments to the commission, including the representative appointed by the parliament, can only be removed from office by the appointer – in this case, the People’s Majlis.
Stating that Article 10 of the act is not a general statement, he said that if the JSC president’s interpretation is to be followed, the Majlis speaker’s seat would also be vacant.
“There seems to be a contradiction, I believe parliament members or the speaker running for the parliament shall be an exception [under article 10]. Otherwise it creates a legal vacuum,” he said.
Following his decision to remove the MP, Judge Adam Mohamed today asked for the removal of Hamza from a JSC meeting. When Hamza refused to leave, the JSC member representing the public -Sheikh Shuaib Abdul Rahman – proposed a motion requesting that no meetings be held until the matter had been settled. The motion was passed and the commission is expected to meet within the week.
Rahman has also criticised the JSC president’s decision:
“It is not his [Adam Mohamed’s] mandate, and it goes against article 20 [of the JSC Act]. He may have discussed it with certain members on the phone, but it should be decided by the commission.”
Accusing Judge Adam of trying to control all affairs of the commission, Rahman said that the judge “withholds any agenda item he wants, and prioritises and postpone cases at whim” – an accusation frequently made by former presidential appointment to commission Aishath Velezinee.
Rahman said that Judge Adam had sped up some cases and held back others without any regard to the urgency or importance of the matter in question.
The public’s member on the commission unsuccessfully attempted to file a no-confidence motion against Adam last August, later alleging that the commission’s president had refused to table the issue during meetings.
Rahman has accused Judge Adam of being responsible for the judicial watchdog‘s “state of limbo”, accusing him of failing to back the JSC’s investigation of Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed’s sex-tape scandal, and abusing power to release press statements on behalf of the commission.
MP Hamza today said that Judge Adam had not taken such an action in previous cases where questions had arisen regarding the validity of JSC membership.
“Even in Gasim Ibrahim’s case [when he ran for President while still as parliament’s representative at JSC], he did not act like this. Gasim stepped down by himself,” said Hamza.
Hamza was appointed to the commission in October, being approved after the narrow rejection of Jumhooree Party MP Ilham Ahmed.