The parliament sitting held on Wednesday, like last week, concluded within a span of only a few minutes.
The agenda for Wednesday included introductions to two bills proposed to the parliament floor, Fonadhoo MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla’s amendment to the law on adjudicators and MP Ahmed Nihan’s proposal of a law on anti-defection.
MP Abdul Raheem’s proposal seeks to amend Article 15 (b) of the Judges Act, on the qualifying characteristics of an adjudicator, to add an additional sub-clause.
The characteristics a sitting judge at a local court must have, as specified by law, as of now:
- To be Muslim, and of Sunni following
- To be at least 25 years of age
- To have never been found guilty of fraud, bribery, or Hadud offense
- To be sane of mind
This proposal coincides with the government’s arrest of two Supreme Court justices, who have been accused of accepting bribes in a ‘conspiracy to overthrow the government’.
Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Justice Ali Hameed were arrested following President Abdulla Yameen’s declaration of a state of emergency, in response to a unanimous Supreme Court ruling.
President Yameen denounced the Supreme Court ruling on February 1st, to release unfairly imprisoned detainees and reinstate parliamentarians, as a judicial coup.
After their arrest on February 5th, the three remaining Supreme Court justices repealed the order to release said detainees, who were deemed to have been victims of unjust judicial process.
MP Nihan’s proposal seeks to disqualify parliamentarians who floor-cross and sites an earlier Supreme Court ruling on a case filed by the government.
The ruling on the Attorney General’s case, while states that parliamentarians who switch allegiances to political parties other than the one they were elected through will lose their seats, states that the parliament must first pass a law on the matter.
However, the Elections Commission had used the authority of the ruling to unseat 12 lawmakers, whom the apex court reinstated in their ruling last month.
The parliament secretariat has said that they will be included in upcoming parliament sittings.
Wednesday's sitting ended after introductions to said proposals were heard. Conventionally such proposals are followed with a vote on whether to deliberate on the them before sending them for review at relevant committees.