Maldives passes law to end limbo in high court

The Maldives` parliament passed a crucial bill to appoint a permanent Supreme Court on Tuesday, ending a legal limbo that had threatened to paralyze the country`s judiciary.

Last Updated: Aug 10, 2010, 23:08 PM IST

Colombo: The Maldives` parliament
passed a crucial bill to appoint a permanent Supreme Court
on Tuesday, ending a legal limbo that had threatened to paralyze
the country`s judiciary.

The legislation had been delayed by a power
struggle between the parliament and the Maldives` president, a
spat that showcased the difficult transition to democracy for
the country of 3,50,000 in the Indian Ocean archipelago, best
known as a tourist destination.
The legislation signed later today by President
Mohammed Nasheed is "one of the key pieces of legislation
needed to create a legitimate and fully functioning judiciary
in the country," said a statement from his office.

"This law goes a long way to filling the
constitutional void the country has been in since Sunday" the
president`s press secretary, Mohamed Zuhair, was quoted as
saying in the statement.

The crisis erupted after the parliament failed to
enact legislation to appoint a new Supreme Court.
Attorney-General Husnu Suood also resigned Sunday, claiming
his position was untenable in the "constitutional void"
triggered by parliament`s failure to pass the legislation.

In an attempt to prevent the country from spiraling
into judicial chaos, Nasheed issued a decree Sunday - the day
an interim court was to have been disbanded - allowing the
Supreme Court to continue administrative functions until the
crisis was resolved.

The new bill - titled the Act on Judges - outlines
the powers and responsibilities that judges hold, rules on
judges` ethical standards, rules on the appointment and
dismissal of judges, and judges` salaries and allowances.
Zuhair welcomed the political parties for putting
"aside their differences and passed this crucial law."

However, the parliament has yet to approve the
names of judges.

PTI