Update on the Current Situation in the Maldives (26/02/2018): Supreme Court Order Number: 2018/SC-SJ/01

1. Supreme Court Order number: 2018/SC-SC/01, of 1st of February 2018, theSupreme Court of the Maldives ordered the following to be executed:

1.1. The ruling of the Supreme Court, Number 2017/SC-C/17 with respect to floor-crossing, is nullified effective from the date of 01 February 2018,

1.2. Article 157 (b) of the Constitution which stipulates the responsibilities and powers of the Commission, articulating that the Commission has jurisdiction over the Judges of the courts shall not apply to the Chief Justice and the Judges of the Supreme Court, and that the Judicial Services Commission has neither power nor jurisdiction to schedule or investigate complaints relating to the Chief Justice and Judges of the Supreme Court, suspending Article 157 (b) of the Constitution.

1.3. No Judge or Chief Judge shall be appointed to a court of the Maldives without a written approval of the Supreme Court, suspending Article 159 (a) of the Constitution.

1.4. To conduct the first sitting of the first session of the People’s Majlis for the year 2018, with the MPs whose seats have been ruled to have been vacated by the Elections Commission.

1.5. To immediately release of 1-Mohamed Nasheed of G. Kenereege’, 2-Mohamed Nazim of M. Seenukarankaage’, 3-Imran Abdulla of Mal’haaru, Meemu Kolhufushi, 4-Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Gafoor of H. Saamaraa, 5-Muhuthaz Muhsin of Raiymasge’ Gaafu Alifu Maamendhoo, 6-Gasim Ibrahim of M. Maafannu Villa, 7-Ahmed Faris Maumoon of Ma. Kin’bigasdhoshuge’, 8-Ahmed Nihan of Venus Gaafu Alifu Maamendhoo, 9-Hamid Ismail of M. Shuraa Manzil for the provision of investigations and prosecutions in accordance with the Constitution and the laws.

2. On 6th February 2018, after an appeal by the Head of State, Supreme Court made another Order upon review of the matter as per subsection (d) of Article 67 and Article 154 of the Constitution, Section 20 (c) of Act no. 22/2010 (Judicature Act of Maldives) and Section 31 (e) of Act no. 13/2010 (Judges Act) as amended by Act no. 01/2011 (Second Amendment to Act.No 13/2010 (Judges Act)); declaring point 2 and point 5 of Supreme Court’s order (points 1.2 and 1.5 of this paper) to be quashed:

– Article 67 (d) of the constitution states that:

“The exercise and enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms is inseparable from the performance of responsibilities and duties, and it is the responsibility of every citizen: (d) to promote the sovereignty, unity, security and dignity of the Maldives.”

– Article 154 of the constitution states that:

(a) “A judge shall not be removed from office during good behavior and compliance with judicial ethics.”

(b) “A judge may be removed from office only if the judicial Service Commission finds that the person is grossly incompetent, or that the Judge is guilty of gross misconduct, and submits to the people’s Majlis a resolution supporting the removal of the judge, which is passed by a two thirds majority of the members of the People’s Majlis present and voting.”

Section 20 (c) of Act no. 22/2010 (Judicature Act of Maldives) states that:

“Although Section (a) of this Article stipulates thus, this Act does not obstruct Supreme Court’s discretion to overrule a decision of the Supreme Court by a consequent decision, thus the doctrine of Precedent by the Supreme Court with regards to a statutory principle or a statutory point.”

Section 31 (e) of Act no. 13/2010 (Judges Act) as amended by Act no. 01/2011 (Second Amendment to Act.No 13/2010 (Judges Act)) states that:

“The following are the obligations of a judge:

(e) To promote, secure and uphold rule of law, to secure people’s welfare security and independence.”

3. On 18th February 2018, upon review by the Supreme Court of the issues raised by State, and related provisions of the Constitution, applicable legal and constitutional principles and the type of the case, the Elections Commission and the People’s Majlis were notified that point 1 and point 4 (Point 1.1 and 1.4 of this Paper) of the Supreme Court Order will be stayed until final judgment of this case by the Supreme Court pursuant to Article 141, Article 144(b) and Article 145 (c) of the Constitution:

– Article 141, of the Constitution states that,

a. “The judicial power is vested in the Supreme Court, the high court, and such trial courts as established by law.

b. The Supreme Court shall be the highest authority for the administration of justice in the Maldives. The chief justice shall be the highest authority on the Supreme Court. All matters adjudicated before the Supreme Court shall be decided upon by a majority of the judges sitting together in session.

c. No officials performing public functions, or any other persons, shall interfere with and influence the functions of the courts.

d. Persons or bodies performing public functions, through legislative and other measures, must assist and protect the courts to ensure the independence, eminence. Dignity, impartiality, accessibility and effectiveness of the courts. ”

– Article 144(b), of the Constitution states that,

“May in connection with a declaration pursuant to article (b) make any order that is just and equitable, including,

1. An order providing just compensation for any damage sustained by any person or group of persons due to any state, regulation or action that is inconsistent with the Constitution; or

2. An order suspending the declaration of invalidity (of a statute, regulation or action due to inconsistency with the constitution) for any period and on any conditions, to allow the competent authority to correct the defect.”

– Article 145(c), of the Constitution states that,

– “The Supreme Court shall be the final authority on the interpretation of the Constitution, the law, or any other matter dealt with by a court of law.”