JSC reform bill to be submitted to Parliament early 2023

Judicial Service Commission (JSC)'s investigative team in charge of investigations into magistrates from G. A. Atoll. (Photo/Judicial Service Commission)

The government will submit 23 bills during the first session of the Parliament this year, which will begin this week, including the bill to revise the composition of Judicial Service Commission (JSC), according to the Attorney General’s Office (AGO).

The 23 bills include six new legislatures. They are:

  • Hajj and Umrah Bill
  • Senior Citizens Bill
  • Foreign Investment Bill
  • Industrial Relation Bill
  • Maldives Media and Broadcasting Regulation Bill
  • Bill on Compensation for Defamation

The rest are amendments to existing laws.

The reform of JSC’s composition had been one of ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s electoral pledges. The party has been criticized for its failure to fulfil the pledge.

Mahibadhoo MP Ahmed Toriq (Tom), a politician from opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), has had amendments he proposed to the constitution in order to reform JSC’s composition rejected twice due to lack of support from MDP – which holds supermajority at the Parliament.

JSC is currently composed of:

  • Parliament speaker
  • A representative from the Parliament
  • A representative of the President
  • A Supreme Court justice
  • A High Court judge
  • A lower court judge
  • A representative of the general public approved by Parliament
  • Civil Service Commission’s President
  • Attorney General
  • A representative of lawyers

The presence of politicians in the JSC often sparks allegations of political influence in decisions.