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Maldivian leaders wrangle over Supreme Court

The political crisis in Maldives worsened with Prez Mohammad Nasheed appointing a panel to carry out the day-to-day administrative functions of the SC after the Parl failed to pass a legislation over a new apex court.



Colombo: The political crisis in Maldives
worsened on Sunday with President Mohammad Nasheed appointing a
panel to carry out the day-to-day administrative functions of
the Supreme Court after the Parliament failed to pass a
legislation over a new apex court.

The Majlis (Parliament), in which opposition parties hold
a majority of seats, failed to pass the necessary legislation,
threatening to leave the country without a legitimate Supreme
Court, a statement by the President`s office said.

"The Majlis failed to get its work done on time. This
left the President with two options: allow the country to have
no Supreme Court at all; or issue a decree so at least the
administrative functions of the Supreme Court can continue.
The President chose the latter option," said Press Secretary
Mohamed Zuhair.

Chapter 14 of the Constitution established a number of
temporary, interim institutions, including the creation of an
interim Supreme Court, and stipulated that the People`s Majlis
must pass a necessary act to make the institutions permanent.

The interim period of the Constitution ended on 7 August.
"We hope Majlis members will hurry up and pass the
required legislation so the court can function as envisaged
under the Constitution," Zuhair added.

The Presidential decree appoints four legal practitioners
of high repute to continue the day to day administrative
functions of the Supreme Court.

The four-person interim administrative panel will not
rule on cases or act as de facto judges.

Their powers will be limited to running the overall
administration of the Supreme Court and the Department of
Judicial Administration, which sits under the Supreme Court.

The government has asked the Commonwealth to advise the
interim administrative panel.

"We are waiting on the Majlis to pass an Act that
establishes a permanent Supreme Court. This Act must determine
things such as how many Supreme Court justices will sit on the
bench," Zuhair said.

He noted that on 22nd July, in line with the
Constitution, the President sent his nomination for Chief
Justice of the permanent Supreme Court to parliament, after
consulting with the Judicial Services Commission.

"The Majlis left the confirmation of the Chief Justice
until the very last moment, which was Saturday. On Saturday,
the Majlis Speaker cancelled the parliamentary session. So we
are also waiting on the Majlis to confirm the Chief Justice,"
said Zuhair.

PTI

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