The Supreme Court on Sunday threw out the case seeking to annul the Presidential Decree declaring the ongoing state of emergency in the Maldives.
President Abdulla Yameen had declared a 15-day state of emergency on February 5 in the wake of a shock ruling by the Supreme Court to free nine high profile political prisoners. The case to annul the decree was filed at the top court by Yumna Maumoon, the daughter of arrested former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
In the court’s ruling to reject the case, it stated that there were no constitutional grounds to deem the presidential decree was in violation of Articles 253 and 254 of the Maldivian Constitution.
The court highlighted that the decree stated that the National Security Committee had raised concerns of possible threat to the country’s security, and advised the president to take immediate action by declaring a state of emergency. The verdict noted that as Article 253 accords the president authority to announce a state of emergency “in the event of natural disaster, dangerous epidemic disease, war, threat to national security, or threatened foreign aggression”, the decree was in line with the Constitution.
The Supreme Court further referred to Article 254, which states that the declaration of an emergency includes measures to deal with the emergency, such as “the temporary suspension of the operation of laws and infringement of certain fundamental rights and freedoms” granted by the Constitution. Stating that the measures specified in the article were not “restrictive”, the verdict said that the president is thus accorded the power to take whatever action necessary to protect and secure the functioning of the nation.
With the declaration of emergency, President Yameen has suspended several Articles of the Constitution, including some basic rights, the Criminal Procedure Code and the Judicature Act.
A crackdown followed the declaration, which saw the arrests of former President Maumoon, the Supreme Court’s Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Judge Ali Hameed, along with a number of others. They are accused of giving and taking bribes to stage a coup via the authority of the top court.