Maldives top court annuls anti-defection ruling

Maldives top court late Thursday annulled its anti-defection ruling and ordered the country's electoral watchdog to re-instate the dozen lawmakers disqualified over the ruling.

The embattled government in a bid to counter an internal revolt after as many as a dozen lawmakers backed an opposition led move to unseat the parliament speaker Abdulla Maseeh in June last year.

Ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) had engineered the constitutional dispute case asking the Supreme Court to disqualify MPs who defect or violate party whip-lines and or are formally removed from their respective party.

The three judge bench hearing the case unanimously ruled in favour of the government. The court had also ordered relevant institutions to bring into effect an anti-defection law.

However, the Supreme Court said the anti-defection ruling was issued as a temporary solution to the constitutional dispute case filed by the state but insisted that the relevant authorities have failed to bring to effect an anti-defection law specified in the ruling.

The court had ordered the electoral watchdog to re-instate the lawmakers to the parliament with immediate effect.