The High Court on Thursday decided not to hear an appeal filed by a presidential hopeful to challenge the Elections Commission’s rejection of his candidacy.
The court’s registrar informed Hussain Naseer that his case could not be accepted as an election-related complaint in line with electoral laws. The registrar’s decision could be appealed within seven days.
Citing inauthentic and incomplete information in his forms, the EC rejected the little-known businessman’s candidacy last Friday, which was the deadline for filing applications to contest in the September 23 election.
Naseer asked the High Court to order the electoral body to allow him to resubmit the candidacy papers after remedying the problems.
Hours after the registrar’s decision, the Department of Judicial Administration – which functions under the Supreme Court’s supervision – temporarily suspended the law license of Naseer’s proposed running mate.
Sheikh Nasrullah Mustafa was barred from representing clients in Maldivian courts or tribunals until his ongoing criminal prosecutions are concluded, the DJA announced.
The preacher was previously arrested over an alleged scam that saw four people sent to Mecca without arrangements in place for their pilgrimage. He is also on trial in a separate case relating to pornographic material.
He denies all charges.
Nasrullah is a registered member of the Maldives Development Alliance, a coalition partner of the ruling party.
At a press briefing after the EC’s rejection of Naseer’s candidacy, Nasrullah was asked if their intention was to delay the polls with the legal challenge. He said he did not believe the case could warrant a postponement.
He also denied a hidden agenda behind the candidacy when reporters observed that the pair was previously unknown in Maldivian politics.
Alleging undue influence over the five-member commission, Nasrulla said the EC refused to allow resubmission of the candidacy papers before the deadline of 4 pm on August 10. The EC also refused to return the MVR100,000 (US$6,500) deposit fee and the set of forms from 1,500 supporters, he said.