JSC condemns police interference

The Judicial Service Commission [JSC] yesterday issued a statement condemning the interference of police in its efforts to reappoint 160 judges before the August 7 deadline.

‘’This action of Maldives Police Services obstructed the duty given to the commission under article 285 of the Constitution, and the act violated article number 13 of the police law,’’ said the JSC’s statement. “Therefore, we strongly condemn the act of police.’’

A statement from the Maldives Police Service (MPS) said the office was closed by police at the request of President Mohamed Nasheed, to prevent “unlawful and unconstitutional work from taking place.”

In an interview with Minivan News, JSC member Aishath Velezinee said the commission was failing in its role as an oversight body and had not examined any of the 71 complaints submitted this year, and was instead protecting the interests of  several individual judges, thus “robbing the nation of an honest judiciary.”

It was in the interest of certain elements in parliament, who were members of the former government, to retain the judiciary appointed by the former administration, she explained.

“What they are doing right now is going to kill the Constitution,” she told Minivan News last week, urging parliament’s Independent Commission Committee (ICC) to issue an injunction against the reappointments while an investigation was conducted.

In its statement yesterday, the Commission claimed that “under article number 285 [b] [d] of the Constitution it is the duty of the commission to reappoint judges within the time of two years. That deadline is August 7.’’

The JSC said it had “included the opinion” of members of the commission who disputed the criteria for reappointing judges – according to Velezinee, many of whom have only primary school levels of education –  “and now we are following a criterion that was approved by nine present members of the commission.”

‘’Under the amended criteria, 160 judges were approved by the members of the commission [who were] present,’’ the statement added.

The JSC has 10 members.

Speaker Abdulla Shahid told MPs today that the Majlis would hold a special sitting on Saturday to settle matters relating to the transition period, on the day of the stipulated deadline.