Attorney: Allocation of council seats for women unconstitutional

Case hearing of the High Court over the allocation of seats in councils for women on August 25, 2020.

Jumhooree Party (JP) Youth leader Moosa Anwar has said that the allocation of 33 percent of seats from local councils for women violates the Constitutional rights while speaking in today’s court hearing regarding the matter.

Moosa Anwar had lodged a case against the allocation of seats for women under the now enacted amendment to the Decentralization Act. He argued that the amendment was unconstitutional because the amendment allocated the seats for women. The case requests the court to nullify the amendment. 

He noted five rights granted by the Constitution in today’s hearing of the case. They included the right to vote, right to contest in elections, right to participate in the administration through elected representatives in an independent manner, right to employment, and the guarantee of fundamental rights for both women and men.

Moosa said that the allocation of seats for women violated the right to contest elections, and the right to participate in the administration by representatives elected by the citizens. The freedom of right to elect a male official to the post or vote for a male was violated by the amendment and the right to contest for the seats by men was also violated by the amendment.

These violations or obstructions were not permitted under several articles of the constitution, said the attorney in today’s hearing. Laws that contradict the Constitution cannot be enacted and Anwar also argued that the idea behind the Constitution was to provide equal opportunities for both men and women as elected subjects.

He argued that the political parties of the country could nominate women for the posts rather than allocating through law and noted that this was how it was done in countries such as the UK. He noted that while the amendment was enacted to allow more opportunities for women, it should not violate the rights of men. 

Due to a constraint of time for the hearing, the hearing was concluded without Anwar concluding his statements.

A panel of five judges are presiding over the case which was first lodged with the Supreme Court. The top court rejected the case after stating that it should be taken up in the High Court.