Supreme Court rejects case on State of Emergency

February 18, 2018

The Supreme Court today dismissed the case regarding the validity of the Presidential Decree implementing a State of Emergency in the Maldives. The Supreme Court noted that there were no grounds to presume that the Presidential Decree issued on 5 February 2018 was in contravention to the Constitution of the Maldives.

The Claimant argued that the Article 253 of the Constitution, listing the conditions under which a State of Emergency can be declared, was not accurately invoked by the Presidential Decree. Nonetheless, the declaration did directly cite the reason for a State of Emergency being a “threat to national security.” The Claimant went on to argue that Article 254, regarding the content of the declaration, was also not followed; namely that the measures being implemented to address the emergency went beyond what is permissible in the Constitution. However, the Claimant’s argument relied on a unique interpretation of Article 254, that goes beyond the common understanding of this Article and was therefore rejected by the Court.

The Supreme Court went on to explain its reasoning for why that particular interpretation was inconsistent with its understanding of the Constitution, and stated that the Presidential Decree itself could not be deemed unconstitutional on either of the grounds presented.