Parliament passes to restrict courts of Suo Motto powers

A Parliament session underway. (Photo/Parliament)

Parliament has passed to limit the Supreme Court or any other court of the Maldives from reviewing cases on Suo Motto basis, without the investigation of any other authorities.

The Supreme Court has previously acted on a Suo Motto basis against the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives and issued a guideline for the Commission to follow in 2015.

The issue was raised in the 19th Parliament by former HRCM member and current MP Jeehaan Mahmood who noted that this was an abuse of power by the top court of Maldives that resulted in limiting the power of HRCM, which is an independent institution.

The issue was declared as an unconstitutional act by the Judiciary Committee which investigated the matter and noted that this was not a power granted upon the Supreme Court by the Constitution. The report by the Committee on the matter was passed unanimously by all 68 MPs present.

The report called for amendments to be brought to the law to prevent such abuses of power by the Supreme Court which results in the power grab of independent institutions. The report also called to bring changes so that the HRCM is not constrained by the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court in 2015.

The Supreme Court issued guidelines dictated the HRCM to not repeat any acts that might result in the misinterpretation of the Supreme Court’s powers and jurisdiction as well as of the Judiciary. The guideline, criticized by the public even then also ordered the HRCM to obey the constitution and laws of the country.