The Supreme Court has suspended Jumhooree Party MP Ali Hussain for criticising its decision to overrule the electoral body’s reinstatement of a dozen unseated lawmakers.
The MP for Kendhoo was previously summoned for questioning over remarks made on VTV, which was deemed a violation of the regulation governing the conduct of licensed lawyers.
The Supreme Court bench decided to bar him from advocating in any Maldivian court or tribunal for five months, the Department of Judicial Administration announced Monday.
The EC reversed its decision to disqualify the 12 MPs for crossing the floor. But hours after the decision was announced, the Supreme Court declared the EC does not have authority to make decisions on their status until the court issued rulings.
The court was hearing cases filed by the lawmakers contesting their removal.
On VTV, Ali Hussain argued there was no longer any dispute for the court to settle when both sides agreed the seats were not vacated.
As the constitution says the Supreme Court must settle disputes concerning “the removal, or vacating of seats, of a member of the People’s Majlis,” the 12 remained lawmakers until the court says otherwise, he insisted.
Days later, the Supreme Court reinstated four out of the 12 lawmakers.
The constitution also requires by-elections within two months to fill vacant seats. But 60,000 constituents of the unseated lawmakers were deprived of representation in parliament for more than a year as the court stalled their cases.
Hearings began in August last year.
The 12 MPs tried to attend sittings but soldiers and police officers barred their entry to the parliament house.
Ali Hussain is the third prominent lawyer suspended by the Supreme Court over the past two months.
Earlier this month, former attorney general Husnu Suood was suspended over a tweet in which he declared the Supreme Court’s ruling to extend the presidential term in November 2013 was unconstitutional.
Last month, Hussain Shameem, a former deputy prosecutor general, was suspended for the third time over a tweet.