JSC decision to dismiss judges wrong: Judiciary Committee

The Parliament's Judiciary Committee has said the Judicial Service Commission (JSC)'s decision to dismiss High Court Justice Abdul Rauf Ibrahim and Justice Abdullah Hameed from their post wrongfully.

The Judiciary Committee reached the decision unanimously.

In April, JSC sought parliament approval to dismiss the two judges. A letter sent to the PParliamentsigned by JSC President and Thulhaadhoo MP Hisaan Hussain requesting to dismiss the two judges said two judges had bought flats allocated by the government to judges at special prices in violation of Article 152 of the Constitution. After reviewing a complaint submitted at the JSC, which claimed that the judges had ruled in a certain manner in return for the deal, the commission found that the flats were issued to the judges in violation of the Constitution. JSC noted that the apartments were directly granted by the government as an allowance to the judges without any role of the Parliament.

The letter further said the Parliament has a policy in place to arrange housing and accommodation for judges. However, certain High Court judges have been given flats with special financial concessions, and outside the standard rules followed by the state in providing such housing, the letter said.

JSC further said Judges Abdul Rauf Ibrahim and Abdulla Hameed accepted the flats offered to them unconstitutionally. It is also contrary to the Judiciary Act and Article 3.1 of the Code of Conduct for Judges, which states that the honesty, sincerity, and fidelity of judges shall not be questioned by the public. It also proves that the act is contrary to Article 3.2 of the Code of Conduct for Judges, which states that the ethical standard of judges should be kept at a high level so that the public can have confidence in the honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness of the judiciary.

Therefore, the JSC had concluded that the judges must be dismissed and requested the PParliamentto decide on the matter.

The matter was referred to the Judiciary Committee, which ruled that the JSC's decision was wrong. The committee said the matter must be re-investigated. The motion was moved by Kendhoo MP Ali Hussain, supported by Fonadhoo MP Moosa Siraj, and approved by the committee. The committee mainly noted that the issue was not investigated adequately and that they were not given the opportunity to respond to the case.

This is the first time since the government came to power that a JSC decision has been reversed in such a manner. Over the past four years, the dismissal of all Supreme Court judges at one point, and many judges of the High Court and Criminal Court have been sent to the Parliament for dismissal. Each time, the judges were dismissed with the approval of the Parliament.