Parliament on Wednesday voted to remove Justice Abdul Ghanee Mohamed from the Supreme Court bench as recommended by the judicial watchdog.
The Judicial Service Commission recommended Ghanee’s impeachment to parliament in late November after an investigation committee concluded violations of the code of conduct. Ghanee, who was promoted from the High Court in June 2018, was also suspended for 60 days.
According to the constitution, a judge can be removed if the JSC finds that he is grossly incompetent or guilty of gross misconduct. A resolution submitted to the effect must be approved by a two-thirds majority of MPs present and voting.
Ghanee’s impeachment was approved with 64 votes in favour and two against.
The cases of ethical misconduct against Ghanee involved the Supreme Court halting the JSC’s suspension of Justice Abdulla Didi with a stay order on June 13, the apex court’s role in stripping a dozen lawmakers of their seats and deprived 60,000 constituents of representation for more than a year, and the creation of a Judicial Council after an entity of the same name created by the Judicature Act was abolished in March 2011 when the Supreme Court struck down sections of the new law.
Ghanee’s dismissal completes an overhaul of the Supreme Court with the removal of all five justices on the bench when the new administration took office in November last year.
Judicial reform was a key pledge of both President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and his Maldivian Democratic Party’s campaign for April’s parliamentary elections. With its landslide victory, the MDP secured well above the two-thirds majority needed to remove judges and went on to sack former justice Abdulla Didi in late August.
After legal changes were approved to increase the Supreme Court bench from five to seven justices, parliament in early September confirmed the president’s nominations of former judges Dr Azmiralda Zahir and Aisha Shujune Mohamed as the first female justices of the Supreme Court. Former drug court judge Mahaz Ali Zahir was appointed to replace Abdulla Didi in late October.
On Monday, the president nominated former attorney general Husnu Suood and former justice Muthasim Adnan to the Supreme Court bench. The latter was nominated as the chief justice.