The parliament on Wednesday passed the amendment bill to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) Act, thus dismissing the current post-holders of Chief Judicial Administrator and Chancellor of the Judicial Academy.
The Judiciary Committee of the parliament made several amendments to the bill, submitted by Fonadhoo MP Moosa Siraj on behalf of the government, before forwarding it to the parliament floor for debate. The bill was passed unanimously by the 63 lawmakers present at the sitting.
According to the Judiciary Committee's report, jurisdiction over Department of Judicial Administration (DJA) will be transferred from the Supreme Court to JSC. With the passing of the bill, the existing DJA will be abolished and a new one formed under JSC, thus terminating the position of the current Chief Judicial Administrator, Dr Abdulla Nazeer. The bill grants JSC the authority to appoint and dismiss the head of DJA.
As per the report, the administrative staff, mandate, resources and facilities, and civil and financial responsibilities of the Judicial Academy will also be transferred to the DJA. The new amendment to the JSC Act further appoints the Chief Judicial Administrator as head of the Judicial Academy.
The report noted that these developments stipulated the appointment of a new chancellor to the Judicial Academy. The position to date was held by Ahmed Maajid.
Other amendments made to the bill by the committee include lowering the minimum age of applicants vying for JSC membership from 40 to 30 years. The existing Act puts the minimum age at 25 years.
The bill also initially prohibited lawyers who attain JSC membership from advocating in courts. The committee amended the bill to stipulate that any lawyers applying for membership must hold a license to advocate in the Supreme Court of Maldives.