The Supreme Court of the Maldives has accepted a case regarding the proposed reduction of the salaries of the President and Vice President by the Parliament.
The move was proposed by the Parliament as a cost-cutting measure due to the economic impact of COVID-19 in the country. Parliament had also proposed reducing the salaries of independent institutions in addition to the heads of the executive branch of the state.
On May 21, the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee approved a report to reduce the salaries of public officials who earn more than MVR 20,000 if the salaries are decided by the Parliament. The move was a bid to reduce expenditure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Committee report also called to reduce the salaries of the President and Vice President by 35 percent. This means that MVR 35,000 and MVR 26,250 would be slashed from the salaries of the President and Vice President respectively.
However, legal experts in the country have said that such a move by the Parliament can only be valid if the law regarding the salaries of the President and Vice President itself is amended.
The Act related to the salaries of the President and his deputy, passed in 2009 stipulates that the salary of the President is MVR 100,000 while the Vice President’s salary is MVR 75,000.
Legal experts have maintained that said that due to the fact that the salary of the President and Vice-president is clearly stipulated in the law, reducing the figures can only be done by amending the act.
Former Civil Court judge Ahmed Haleem submitted a constitutional case to the Supreme Court regarding the matter. The case requests the Supreme Court to rule the move by the Parliament as invalid and against the law.
Supreme Court informed Haleem that the matter was accepted by the top court today.
The chair of the Committee that passed the report MP for Kinbidhoo Mohamed Nashiz, speaking with Sun had stated that there were no legal infringements resulting from the move. The report was approved under the authority of the Committee granted by the Constitution, said Nashiz.
Article 118 of the Constitution states that the President’s salary and remunerations, as well as the salary and remunerations of the Vice President, are to be decided by the Parliament. The Parliament would do so by passing an act for the purpose.
The act regarding the salary of the President also states that the Parliament could review the figures every three years, based on the price of services and goods in the country. However, the law has remained unchanged since it was passed 11 years ago.