AGO submits bills to exclude politicians from JSC

Attorney General Ibrahim Riffath. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

The Attorney General’s Office has submitted bills to the Parliament to change the composition of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to exclude political appointees from the commission.

Attorney General Ibrahim Riffath announced in a tweet that the AGO submitted two bills to the Parliament on Monday to affect the changes; a bill to amend the Constitution and a bill to amend the Judicial Service Commission Act.

The bills are designed to limit the members of JSC to seven, and exclude the president’s representative, the speaker of Parliament, and the president of the Civil Service Commission from JSC.

“We submitted these bills to stop the other powers of the state from influencing the judiciary, and based on discussions with the judiciary, other stakeholders, legal experts, civil society organizations and the general public to find the best way to make this change,” said Riffath.

Riffath said that judicial reform was one of the administrations’ biggest pledges in the area of social justice.

He said the administration began implementing judicial reforms in 2019, and has submitted nine bills to make the necessary changes since then.

“With these two bills, this work is now complete,” he said.

The delay in changing the composition of the JSC has been repeatedly criticized by the opposition, which has repeatedly submitted their own bills to make the necessary changes. However, the bills were rejected by the Parliament, in which the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) holds supermajority.

The JSC is currently composed of a representative of the general public, a representative of the Parliament, the president of the Civil Service Commission, the Attorney General, an attorney appointed by the President, a judge from the lower courts, a judge from the High Court, and a justice from the Supreme Court.