President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom on Thursday appointed Dr. Ahmed Abdulla Didi as the new Chief Justice, along with two judges formerly of the High Court to the Supreme Court bench.
The new appointments of Dr. Ahmed Abdulla Didi as Chief Justice, and Abdulla Didi and Abdul Ghani Mohamed as top court judges were approved by the parliament late Wednesday, after a unanimous vote by 36 lawmakers of the ruling coalition.
The three justices received the letter of appointment by President Yameen at the oath-taking ceremony held at the President’s Office. Ahmed Abdulla Didi is the second chief justice appointed during the current administration.
According to the Constitution, new justices to the Supreme Court must be passed by the parliament, from amongst candidates nominated by the president based on Judicial Service Commission (JSC)'s recommendations. The commission had vouched for Dr. Ahmed Abdulla Didi, Abdulla Didi and Abdul Ghani Mohamed, and President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom had submitted their names to the parliament earlier this week.
Dr. Ahmed Abdulla Didi was one of the justices appointed to the judges bench when the permanent Supreme Court was first established in 2010. He is also the only judge currently in Maldives with a PhD in the field. Meanwhile, Abdulla Didi had served at the Criminal Court before he was appointed to the High Court in 2015, while Abdul Ghani Mohamed had been serving as a High Court judge since 2004.
Dr. Didi is the third chief justice to be appointed since the permanent Supreme Court's establishment in 2010. The first chief justice, Ahmed Faiz Hussain, was removed from post in 2014 after the number of justices on the top court's bench was decreased following an amendment to the Judicature Act.
Dr. Didi's predecessor, Abdulla Saeed, along with former Supreme Court judge, Ali Hameed, were stripped of their posts last week, when they were found guilty of undue influence on the judiciary after the appeal process was exhausted. A recent amendment to the Judicature Act states that any judge convicted of a criminal offence, would automatically lose their post should their conviction be upheld by an appellate court. Previously the Act stipulated a vote by the parliament to remove a judge from post.