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Supreme Court unveils judicial reform roadmap

The 20-point roadmap calls for legal changes to ensure independence and improve oversight.



The Supreme Court has unveiled a five-year roadmap for judicial reform with proposals to ensure the independence of judges and improve oversight mechanisms. 

Launched by Chief Justice Dr Ahmed Abdulla Didi at a function Wednesday night, the 20-point roadmap calls for amendments to laws relating to the judiciary, upholding educational and ethical standards, and changing the composition of the Judicial Service Commission, a 10-member watchdog body with representation from all three branches of the state.

“My wish and hope is to see the successful implementation of the judicial reform roadmap and the judicial action reform plan,” the chief justice said.

The roadmap comes after the Maldivian Democratic Party secured a super-majority of parliament with judicial reform as a key pledge of its campaign for the April 6 elections.

Ahead of the polls, Chief Justice Didi criticised the MDP’s plans to curtail the powers of the Supreme Court.

Questions have meanwhile been raised over the Supreme Court’s mandate and legal authority to propose and enact reforms.

“The roadmap by the Supreme Court has no legal basis or weight. The actions by judiciary tonight explains how confused they really are,” Mahfooz Saeed, a prominent lawyer, told the Maldives Independent.

The apex court has also been under fire for summoning lawyers who criticise the judiciary in the press and social media.

Earlier this week, MDP MP Imthiyaz Fahmy was summoned over a tweet calling for an overhaul of the Supreme Court’s bench.

Since its inception in 2008, the top court has annulled an election, unseated lawmakers, and initiated “suo moto” proceedings to dismiss members of independent commissions.

Lawyers who criticise the judiciary are suspended and barred from appearing in courts.

Pursuing judicial reform was also a key campaign pledge of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, with politicisation, inadequate qualification of judges, and lack of conformity to international fair trial standards among longstanding concerns.