High Court Judge Abbas Shareef, citing health concerns, has said he will retire on October 1.
“I am retiring because my doctors have advised me to stop working in such a stressful and busy environment,” Shareef told The Maldives Independent.
The watchdog Judicial Services Commission (JSC) has accepted Shareef’s retirement.
Declining to comment on the nature of his health issues, Shareef said: “I will rest for a while, and then probably begin a private practice.”
The JSC in a statement today said Shareef had submitted medical documents that reveal serious issues that may hinder him from carrying out his responsibilities.
“In accordance with the ‘Regulation governing the retirement of judges on their request after 55 years of age and the retirement of judges on their request due to health issues before 55 years of age’, the commission has decided to retire High Court Judge Abbas Shareef from October 1, 2015 onwards,” the JSC said.
Shareef was appointed to the High Court bench in March 2011.
He had previously served as the presidential appointee to JSC, and worked as a director general at the President’s Office during former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s tenure. He also served on the appeals committee of the Football Association of Maldives.
Shareef was among the three judges appointed to the southern branch of the High Court. The transfer follows amendments to the Judicature Act in December which states that the nine member appellate court bench was to be divided into three-member branches.
The opposition has described the judges’ transfer to the regional branches as a demotion, and said the amendment allows the Supreme Court to transfer judges it is not happy with to the regional branches.
The regional branches can only hear appeals, while matters concerning the constitution and elections are to be heard at the Malé branch.
In June, two vacant positions on the High Court bench were filled by Abdulla Didi and Sujau Usman – two of the three judges who had presided over former president Mohamed Nasheed’s trial at the Criminal Court.
The vacancies were caused by the appellate court’s Chief Judge Ahmed Shareef demotion in August last year and Judge Yoosuf Hussian’s retirement in February this year, also due to health concerns.