Hearings in impeachment rule amendment case to begin on Feb 25

Supreme Court. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

The Supreme Court is scheduled to begin hearings on February 25, in the petition filed by the Attorney General’s Office contesting an amendment to the Parliament’s standing orders, which lowered the votes required to impeach the president and vice president.

The Attorney General’s Office contested the amendment with the Supreme Court on January 28, which issued an injunction on February 8, to suspend the amendment until it makes a final ruling.

A spokesperson from the Attorney General’s Office told Sun that the first hearing in the case is scheduled to begin at 10:45 am on February 25.

Seven lawmakers resigned from the Parliament in November, to assume top positions in President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s administration.

Taking advantage of the situation, the main opposition MDP – which holds a majority in the Parliament – amended the Parliament’s standing orders so that vacated seats aren’t counted, when determining the total number of MPs.

As per the amendment, the Parliament would require 54 votes to reach the two-thirds majority required to impeach President Muizzu, instead of the previous 58.

The MDP and Democrats have 56 MPs between them; giving the opposition power to impeach the president.

However, the Parliament has decided it will not follow the top court’s order.

On Sunday, the legislative body passed a motion to reject the injunction, and to continue to follow the amendment.

Ahead of the vote, Speaker Mohamed Aslam, who served as the main opposition MDP’s top lawmaker before he was elected as Speaker, said that the constitution is clear, that the power to dictate the functioning of the legislative assembly lies with the Parliament.

Aslam said that he therefore does not believe that any other institute or power of the state, including the Supreme Court, has the authority to dictate how the Parliament is run.

The MDP has warned it plans on filing a motion to impeach President Muizzu before the current term ends, in May.