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Chief Justice refuses JSC-imposed suspension

Mariyam Malsa
15 November 2019, MVT 18:55
Chief Justice Dr Ahmed Abdulla Didi at the lawyers oath-taking ceremony. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/ MIHAARU
Mariyam Malsa
15 November 2019, MVT 18:55

Chief Justice Dr Ahmed Abdulla Didi, on Thursday, announced his refusal to accept the suspension imposed on him by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

After concluding that the Chief Justice and Supreme Court Judge Adam Mohamed Abdulla were guilty of disciplinary issues on Wednesday, JSC imposed a 60-day suspension on both judges in addition to its decision to submit a parliamentary motion for their dismissal.

The Parliament's Judiciary Committee has also approved the judicial watchdog's decision and forwarded the matter to the parliament floor. The parliament is scheduled to take a vote regarding the matter on November 18.

In the statement issued for the information of relevant government institutions and citizens, Chief Justice Abdulla Didi stated that acceptance of JSC's decision would be in contradiction of his oath and constitutional conventions as well as being a disservice to the citizens of Maldives

Furthermore, he asserted that JSC did not have the authority to investigate disciplinary cases against judges concerning verdicts they had issued. The statement described JSC's actions as limiting the power of the constitution and a contravention of the oath taken by the commission's members. He also claimed that the commission's actions were threats against the judges as it had not presented any proof of illegal acts related to verdicts issued by the Supreme Court.

As per the statement, the possibility of dismissing judges based on verdicts they delivered would result in loss of independence for courts following every change of government and create a culture of sacking judges.

The statement also expressed fears that JSC or the parliament's Judiciary Committee would assume the Supreme Court's right to have the final say in matters of the judiciary.

The Chief Justice also claimed that the decision to suspend him and Supreme Court Judge Adam Mohamed Abdulla was reached as a result of illegal procedures and that subsequently, the suspension could not be accepted.

Additionally, Chief Justice Abdulla Didi stated that JSC's designation of Supreme Court (SC) Judge Abdulla Areef with running the apex court was also a violation of the constitution. He highlighted that the Supreme Court was superior to JSC and that the commission could not make such decisions while it did not manage the court.

The Judiciary watchdog is also investigating Supreme Court Judge Abdulla Areef and Judge Abdul Ghanee Mohamed. The parliament recently voted to sack Supreme Court Judge Abdulla Didi following a JSC investigation as well.

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