22 cases lodged with High Court amid lockdown

High Court. (File Photo/Sun)

Maldives’ High Court, on Thursday, announced that 22 cases had been lodged with the court through its virtual platform amid the closure of government offices and the lockdown on the capital to curb the spread of the new coronavirus in the country.

17 of the 22 cases have been accepted into the court.

The High Court, in its statement, said that the court, during the state of public health emergency in effect in the country, heard a remand petition via video conference by summoning suspects to the court’s southern branch, during which it issued seven MoniCon (Monitor and Control) orders.

High Court, following the closure of government offices to curb the spread of the coronavirus, had drafted guidelines to ensure the continuity of the justice system.

According to the guidelines, the court, during the period of government closure, will continue to hear petitions over detention, temporary orders, appeal petitions which involve motions for a stay on enforcement of sentences, petitions where hearings have been concluded, and petitions involving domestic violence and the rights of children.

Hearings may be held if the judges overseeing a case are in unanimous agreement that the case in question, based on its nature and surrounding circumstances, requires to be fast tracked.

Cases which are scheduled at the court will be held via video conference barring no legal restrictions and the availability of such facilities.

Where video conference facilities are unavailable, people must be allowed to enter and exit the courthouse in compliance Health Protection Agency (HPA)’s instructions on public health safety measures.

The High Court said it was engaged in discussions with Maldives Police Service and Maldives Correctional Service regarding resolving the issues it has experienced in holding virtual hearings.