President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih sought parliamentary approval on Monday to appoint former attorney general Husnu Suood and former justice Muthasim Adnan to the Supreme Court.
Muthasim, who was controversially removed from the bench in December 2014, was nominated as chief justice. A prominent lawyer, Suood also presently chairs the presidential commission on unresolved murders and enforced disappearances.
The president also nominated former deputy prosecutor general Hussain Shameem to the vacant post of Prosecutor General.
At Monday’s sitting of parliament, all three nominees were sent for evaluation by the judiciary committee. The confirmation votes are expected to take place this week after parliament delayed breaking for recess to next Saturday.
Suood and Muthasim’s nominations were made after seeking the advice of the Judicial Service Commission, which highly recommended the pair. The president also sought the JSC’s advice on nominating High Court Judge Abdul Rauf Ibrahim to the apex court. But the watchdog deferred making a recommendation after three complaints were submitted against the judge on Sunday.
Rauf, who represents the High Court on the JSC – a 10-member oversight body with representatives from the executive, legislature and judiciary – resigned from the commission last week after the president sought to nominate him to the Supreme Court.
Three vacancies opened up after parliament sacked chief justice Dr Ahmed Abdulla Didi and justice Adam Mohamed Abdulla. Justice Abdulla Areef retired citing health reasons and Justice Abdul Ghanee Mohamed is facing an impeachment vote.
Ghanee’s dismissal would complete 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.