Parliament has unanimously voted to back a corruption probe by the Judicial Service Commission, despite apparent efforts by the Supreme Court to hamper the process.
The judicial watchdog is probing allegations against Supreme Court Justice Abdulla Didi, who stands accused of taking a million dollar bribe to send former president and parliamentary Speaker Mohamed Nasheed to jail in 2015.
All 64 MPs present endorsed the finding of the report from the judicial oversight committee, which backed the JSC and declared the apex court’s intervention unlawful and unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court has issued three rulings in an attempt to stop the JSC from conducting a probe into misconduct by Didi. The latest, issued just after the parliamentary vote, declared that the JSC cannot take action against a judge based on a decision or verdict that was delivered by that judge.
The latest ruling comes as the JSC confirmed it had received complaints against three other Supreme Court justices. The JSC has yet to officially comment on the nature of the complaints.
During the parliamentary debate, several MPs condemned efforts by the Supreme Court to obstruct JSC proceedings and reaffirmed their pledge to clean up the judiciary.
“The Supreme Court’s challenge [of] the decisions of the JSC and this parliament tells us that they [feel they] are above the constitution, that they are above the people,” MP Mickail Naseem said.
“They need to be brought down, Honorable Speaker. We need to bring the Maldives Supreme Court down to the level stipulated in the constitution.”
Meanwhile, MP Hassan Latheef said the Supreme Court had purposefully misinterpreted the constitutional stipulation that the top court would be the final legal authority.
“This does not mean they have the authority to have the final word on all matters in the world. We are talking about a Supreme Court that has purposefully misinterpreted this constitutional point to wreak havoc on the constitutional system,” Latheef said.
In a statement on Monday, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih signalled his support for the JSC and reassured the public of his commitment to judicial reform.