SC counsel being sought over AG's written response to no-confidence motion

Attorney General Ibrahim Riffath has submitted a written response to the opposition's no-confidence motion against him.

On May 16, AG Riffath received a 14-day notice to address the no-confidence motion filed against him. The Parliament's General Committee granted him thirty minutes to present his defense- ten minutes at the start of the debate, ten minutes mid-debate, and ten minutes at the end of the debate.

While the 14-day notice period has now expired, the AG opted to respond to the motion in writing instead of appearing before the Parliament.

At Wednesday's Parliament sitting, Speaker Mohamed Nasheed said the General Committee had decided that the AG would be present at the sitting. However, as Riffath had decided to exercise his right to respond in writing, an administrative issue could potentially arise due to the development, said Nasheed.

Nasheed noted 44 votes are required to pass the no-confidence motion against Riffath.

As different opinions emerged among MPS regarding the acceptance of Riffath's written response, with pro-government MPs seeing no issue with it while other MPs argued he should be physically present, Nasheed called for a recess to discuss the matter with political parties.

Resuming the sitting following the discussions, Nasheed said the discussions had yielded no decisions. According to Nasheed, the PPM, PNC, and MNP interpret the Constitution as granting the Attorney General and ministers the right to respond with written or documentary evidence at the Parliament. However, these parties do not believe that the Constitution allows ministers to avoid being held accountable in Parliament for a no-confidence motion.

"In these kinds of matters, I have to seek advice. [In light of] the way the Constitution was interpreted or drafted - I prefer the Supreme Court to decide on such legal matters," he said.

President Nasheed emphasized that he cannot pursue procedures to remove a minister in violation of the Constitution.