Deputy PG seeks Supreme Court assistance in Criminal Court dispute

Deputy Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem has written to the Supreme Court regarding a decision made by the Criminal Court to halt all pending cases until a new prosecutor general is appointed.

Shameem said that the letter was sent last week but that the Supreme Court had not responded to it.

“It was a complaint letter we sent because the Supreme Court had previously ordered the Criminal Court to continue its functions as normal,’’ he said. “But the Criminal Court had not implemented the order, and is refusing to accept new cases.’’

According to Shameem, the Criminal Court’s decision was appealed at the High Court but the court’s registrar decided not to accept the appeal, asking the High Court’s Judges panel to review the decision.

Shameem reported that, thus far, no progress had been made on the issue.

He said that there were more than 150 cases pending in the Prosecutor General’s Office which are to be sent to the Criminal Court, some of the cases concerning people held in pre-trial detention until their case is concluded.

Shameem said that he was expecting a response from the Supreme Court before this week ends.

“If they do not respond by then, then we will have to look for other ways to solve this issue,” he added.

On November 25, former Prosecutor General (PG) Ahmed Muiz submitted his resignation, shortly before parliament was set to debate a no-confidence motion against him.

On January 8, the Criminal Court decided not to accept any cases submitted by the PG’s Office and to halt all existing cases because the position of PG has been vacant for over 30 days

At the time, Shameem said that the laws did not prohibit the Deputy PG from taking over the responsibilities of the PG in a case where a new person is not appointed within 30 days.

He also expressed concern that there were people held in pre-trial detention who are to be kept there until their trials were concluded.

“So what do they do now, it would not be fair to keep them in there until the parliament comes back to work from recess after three months and appoint a new PG,’’ Shameem said.

On December 10, President Abdulla Yameen proposed his nephew Maumoon Hameed for the post of Prosecutor General and submitted the name to the parliament for the MPs to approve.

The issue was sent to parliament’s independent commissions committee and the committee decided to seek public opinion before sending his name to the parliament floor for voting.

However, the parliament is now on recess and will not re-commence work until March.

On January 9, the Supreme Court had ordered the Criminal Court to continue pending trials in the court.

The Supreme Court said it had told the Criminal Court that the criminal justice system must proceed in order to maintain constitutional rule.