Statement on Passing of the Bill on the Amendment tothe Judicature Act
The Commonwealth LawyersAssociation (CLA), the Commonwealth Legal Education Association (CLEA) and theCommonwealth Magistrates’ and Judges’ Association (CMJA) are concerned about thepassing of the Bill on the Amendment to the Judicature Act which reduced thenumber of Supreme Court Judges from 7 to 5. We are also extremely concerned that the Judicial Services Commission,as a consequence, recommended theremoval of Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz, Justice Muthasim Adnan to the Presidentwhich is contrary to Article 154 of the Maldives Constitution which statesthat:
“154 (b) A Judge may be removed from officeonly if the Judicial Service Commissionfinds that the person is grossly incompetent, or that the Judge is guilty ofgross misconduct, and submits to the People’s Majlis a resolution supportingthe removal of the Judge, which is passed by a two-thirds majority of themembers of the People’s Majlis present and voting.”
In passing this Act and thesubsequent hasty removal of two senior judges, The Commonwealth (Latimer House) Principles on the Accountability of and the Relationshipbetween the Three Branches of Government (2003), have beenignored and that as a result the judiciary and the Rule of Law has beenseverely damaged. The Principles statethat “Judges should be subject tosuspension or removal only for reasons of incapacity or misbehaviour thatclearly renders them unfit to discharge their duties”
It further states that: “Inaddition to providing the proper procedures for the removal of judges ongrounds of incapacity or misbehaviour that are required to support theprinciple of independence of the judiciary, any disciplinary procedures shouldbe fairly and objectively administered. Disciplinary proceedings which mightlead to the removal of a judicial officer should include appropriate safeguardsto ensure fairness”.
Due to the haste in which thislaw was passed and the subsequent immediate removal of Chie Justice Faiz andJustice Adnan, such procedures have not been followed.
The Associations urge theGovernment and Parliament of the Maldives to respect the independence of the judiciaryand in particular to comply with its constitutional safeguards and theCommonwealth Latimer House Principles and international standards.
Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA)
Commonwealth Legal Education Association(CLEA)
Commonwealth Magistrates’ and Judges’Association (CMJA)
15 December 2014
NOTE TO EDITORS:
TheCommonwealth Lawyers Association isan international non-profit organisation which exists to promote and maintainthe rule of law throughout the Commonwealth by ensuring that an independent andefficient legal profession, with the highest standards of ethics and integrity,serves the people of the Commonwealth. www.commonwealthlawyers.com
The Commonwealth Legal Education Associationis an international non-profit organisation which fosters and promotes high standards of legaleducation in the Commonwealth. Founded in 1971, it is a Commonwealth-wide bodywith regional Chapters and Committees in South Asia, Southern Africa, WestAfrica, the Caribbean and the UK.www.clea-web.com
The Commonwealth Magistrates’ and Judges’ Association is a not forprofit organisation, registered in the UK, whose aims are to promote judicialindependence, advance education in the law, the administration of justice thetreatment of offenders and the prevention of crime in the Commonwealth. It bringstogether judicial officers of all ranks from all parts of Commonwealth andprovides a forum for the promotion of the highest judicial standards at alllevels. www.cmja.org