The Supreme Court has legitimised parliament’s approval of President Abdulla Yameen’s state of emergency with less than half of lawmakers present for the vote.
The apex court ruled Monday the constitutional quorum of 43 MPs for voting on “any matter requiring compliance by citizens” was inapplicable as a state of emergency declaration was not among such matters listed in the parliament’s rules.
The state of emergency was approved by 38 MPs from the ruling party hours before it was due to expire last Tuesday. Opposition MPs boycotted the sitting and the prosecutor general informed police the vote was unconstitutional.
Parliament also extended the state of emergency by 30 days and passed a resolution to seek Supreme Court advice on the legality of the vote.
President Yameen declared the state of emergency after the Supreme Court unanimously ordered the release of nine prisoners and the reinstatement of 12 opposition MPs, citing the need to arrest Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Justice Ali Hameed to investigate a coup plot.
The three remaining justices have since overturned the release orders and delayed the reinstatement of the lawmakers who had been stripped of their seats.