Personal issues creating JSC tension as Majlis committee unprepared to deal with “out of control” judicial watchdog

Tension continues to surround the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) as the chair and a fellow commission member accuse one other of code of conduct violations, while members of Parliament’s Independent Institutions Committee is have alleged it is unprepared to deal with the situation.

“The JSC is out of control right now, we must do something. The JSC president is ‘out of the circle’,” Parliament Independent Institutions Committee Member and MDP MP Ahmed Sameer told Minivan News today (August 29).

Last week, the JSC Chair and Supreme Court Justice Adam Mohamed was set to face a no-confidence vote introduced by fellow commission member Shuaib Abdul Rahman. Rahman claimed the JSC Chair had been abusing his powers by exerting undue influence on the commission’s decisions and that the entire JSC was in a state of limbo.

However, Adam Mohamed refused to table the no-confidence motion against himself, claiming that it would be in violation of the Maldives’constitution and the JSC Act.

In reaction to Mohamed’s refusal to table the motion, Rahmaan submitted a case against the chair to parliament’s Independent Institutions Committee, as well as to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

This prompted the JSC Chair to file his own cases with the parliamentary committee and the ACC, requesting they penalise Rahman for breaching the JSC’s code of conduct. Mohamed claims that an internal JSC motion cannot be referred to any outside parties.

While Sameer today acknowledged that “there are a lot of issues arising from the JSC”, he explained that the parliamentary committee was not yet able to address them.

“The committee has not formed officially yet. We have to select a chair and deputy chair, then official work can begin,” said Sameer.

He anticipated that the parliamentary committee members will “hopefully” be chosen by next Monday or sometime later in the week.

Once the Independent Institutions Committee is officially formed, they will then hold an emergency meeting to address the urgent JSC issues, noted Sameer.

Meanwhile, though the JSC claims to be functioning as normal, the tension between Mohamed and Rahman is said to be palpable.

“From the standpoint of the Commission, this is a personal issue between President and Shuaib [Abdul Rahman], it is not something related to the JSC,” JSC Secretary General Aboobakuru Mohamed told Minivan News today.

“As staff of the Commission, we are not taking sides.”

He explained that “the JSC Chair is circulating press releases on behalf of himself, not the commission”, and that both Mohamed and Rahman are referring to the same articles in the JSC code of conduct.

“We had a JSC committee session yesterday and things were as normal, there were no personal grudges [affecting work] during the session,” said Aboobakuru Mohamed.

“It is definitely not affecting work. [However] the atmosphere yesterday was tense, we definitely feel the tension there,” he added.