SC and courts to be restricted from operating suo motu

A meeting of the Judiciary Committee. (Photo/Parliament)

The Parliament’s Judiciary Committee has decided to recommend to the relevant institutions to amend the law so that the Supreme Court or any other court in the country cannot operate on its initiative or suo motu (government or court acting on its initiative).

The issue was raised in a resolution submitted to the Parliament by Hinnavaru MP Jeehan Mahmood. The resolution stated that the Supreme Court had acted in an ultra vires manner when it initiated a case against the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) in 2015.

MP Jeehan who was a member of the HRCM in 2015, stated that the resolution was submitted because the Supreme Court had exercised a power it was not granted under the constitution and had invalidated the power vested in the HRCM.

The Supreme Court had issued a guideline of operation to the HRCM in the case of 2015.

The Judiciary Committee publicized a report on the matter which was raised in the 19th Parliament and stated that the Supreme Court had acted against the constitution when it operated suo motu and was utilizing a power that was not vested in the Supreme Court by the constitution.

The report stated to amend the law so that it would clearly state that the Supreme Court or any other court did not have the power to operate suo motu or on its own initiative. The report also stated that the Supreme Court had obtained the power of operating on its initiative in violation of the constitution and was issuing rulings that were against the constitution.

The Judiciary Committee also ordered that the law be amended as soon as possible so that such actions of power grab vested in independent institutions by the Supreme Court were not repeated and to remove the constraints placed on the HRCM by the Supreme Court guidelines issued in 2015.

HRCM members were ordered by the Supreme Court in 2015, not to repeat any actions that might influence the judiciary and might misinform on the authority of the Supreme Court. The ruling had faced a lot of criticism by a large number of the public even then.