Former Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz and former Justice Muthasim Adnan, dismissed due to the reduction of the Supreme Court bench to five judges, are to receive extensive privileges according to a new regulation compiled by the Supreme Court.
The regulations on the privileges of judges who retire with honor awards the two judges financial benefits, security officers, a car and a driver, medical insurance in the Maldives, SAARC, and ASEAN countries, and VIP services at state offices.
The financial benefits are dependent on the length of their service to the state.
They are to receive half of their salary for a period of service of 20 years, two-thirds for a service period between 20 and 25 years, and three-quarters for over 25 years of service.
The state is to bear expenses for the driver and fuel for the car.
Faiz and Muthasim are to be addressed with the title of ‘Justice Retired’. They will be given the title at a special ceremony, the regulations said.
Faiz and Muthasim’s sudden dismissal in December garnered international condemnation, with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers saying their removal would have “a chilling effect on the work of the judiciary at all levels”.
The People’s Majlis removed the two judges after revising the Judicature Act to reduce the seven-member Supreme Court bench to five.
The watchdog Judicial Services Commission (JSC) promptly selected Faiz and Adnan for dismissal, though the reasons for their selection were not shared with MPs who subsequently voted to dismiss both on December 14.
Critics have said the removal contravened Article 154 of the Maldives Constitution that says a judge can only be removed if the JSC finds them guilty of gross misconduct or incompetence.
The rapporteur has called for a reconsideration of the pair’s removal, noting that it had been characterised by a “lack of transparency and due process”.
“The fact that the grounds for removal were not publicized is particularly unacceptable,” added Knaul in a December 22 statement.
Commonwealth organisations said the move had “severely jeopardised” the independence of the judiciary, while the International Commission of Jurists said the “astonishingly arbitrary” decision had “effectively decapitated the country’s judiciary”.
The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) had challenged the legality of the JSC’s recommendation to dismiss the judges at the Civil Court, but the Supreme Court took control of the case.
Three lawyers also mounted a challenge to the Judicature Act revisions at the High Court, but the registrar threw the case out claiming the the original jurisdiction lay with the apex court.
The lawyers have re-submitted the case at the High Court, arguing the Supreme Court bench had a conflict of interest in the case.
The MDP meanwhile expelled MP Reeko Moosa Manik from the party and ordered five MPs to apologise for their absence from the vote on the judges’ dismissal. The party had issued a three-line whip.
Moosa has since said he refused to support Faiz after the chief justice had caused significant harm to the party in recent years, not least for his swearing in of Dr Mohamed Waheed as president following the controversial resignation of Mohamed Nasheed in February 2012.
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