Parliamentarians air grievances against Supreme Court

Feydhoo MP Mohamed Nihad speaks during the parliamentary debate on June 18, 2019. (Photo/People's Majlis)

Several parliamentarians criticized the Supreme Court and urged justices to adhere to due process of law during the debate on a report compiled by the Judicial Committee of the Parliament this Tuesday.

The report is based on information collected by the committee after questioning members of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

During the debate on the report, several parliamentarians – both pro-government and opposition – criticized the Supreme Court.

Judicial Committee’s report accuses the Supreme Court of interfering with and obstructing JSC’s work. It also says that the JSC, over the past few years, had been negligent of its duties, and that the Maldives would have a better justice system if JSC had fulfilled its responsibility.

In conclusion, the Judicial Committee appealed to the Parliament to ascertain the legality of JSC’s decision to suspend Supreme Court Justice Abdulla Didi, and urge Supreme Court not to interfere in the work of other State institutions.

Speaking during the debate, South Galolhu MP Mikhail Ahmed Naseem said that the decision by the entity which JSC’s penalty is directed at, penalizing JSC in response, undermined the independence and autonomy of the commission.

He said that it is the Parliament which can hold the JSC accountable, and not the Supreme Court.

South Galolhu MP Mikhail Ahmed Naseem. (Photo/People's Majlis)

“The rulings issued by the Supreme Court of Maldives in challenge to JSC and in challenge to decisions by the Parliament, say they are above the Constitution. That they are above the people of Maldives. They need to be humbled, Honorable Speaker. The Supreme Court needs to cut down to the size as defined by the Constitution,” said Mikhail.

Ungoofaaru MP Mohamed Waheed (Wadde) spoke in support of the observations made by the Judicial Committee in its report, and accused Supreme Court of judicial overreach.

Wadde said that the Supreme Court was headed towards the sin of Shirk the way it was consolidating all the powers of the State.

“Honorable Speaker, they are collecting and consolidating powers as if they have no fear of God. Honorable Speaker. Oneness and all-powerful are attributes exclusive to God alone. The courthouse of this country has been grabbing and grabbing at powers and is headed towards the sin of Shirk,” said Wadde.

Mahibadhoo MP Ahmed Toriq, though he criticized the new members of the JSC, said that the judiciary needed to be reformed. He said that he too, contested some of the rulings and orders issued by the Supreme Court.

“I believe the judiciary needs to be reformed. Not every ruling issued by the courthouse, though I may have been a government parliamentarian at the time, has been to my liking,” said Toriq.

Feydhoo MP Mohamed Nihad, who also criticized the Supreme Court, said he even questioned the oath he took as a parliamentarian, which was administered by the Chief Justice.

He said that the appointment of the current Chief Justice was questionable.

“Honorable Speaker, it has reached to the level I even doubt the oath I have taken,” said Nihad.

Hanimaadhoo MP Abdul Gafoor Moosa expressed concern alleging the Supreme Court was interfering in laws passed by the Parliament and the work of independent institutions.

He also noted that the courts, after the new administration assumed power, overturned sentences issued against politicians over the past couple of years. He hinted that judges may have overturned the sentences to gain political favors.

West Henveyru MP Hassan Latheef said that the determination that the Supreme Court must have the last say has been twisted and misrepresented for personal gain.

“It does not mean that they have the last say in every issue in this world,” said Hassan Latheef.

Some of the parliamentarians who criticized the Supreme Court during the 18th Parliament were questioned by the court. Several of the current parliamentarians, too, have been questioned and held in contempt by the Supreme Court in the past.