President of the Elections Commission (EC) Ahmed Shareef has stated that the Supreme Court interfered with the commission's responsibilities.
Speaking at the parliament committee on Independent Institutions, Shareef said some guidelines and orders issued by the Supreme Court included orders to carry out acts already mandated on the Elections Commission by the constitution. Shareef described the court's actions as encroaching on the Election Commission's mandate.
Speaking on the recent parliamentary election, Shareef revealed that the Supreme Court dictated the time to carry out certain election-related actions, and said that actions that were already within EC's mandate during past elections were included in Supreme Court guidelines.
"Deciding a time to carry out certain election-related activities is within the mandate of the Elections Commission as stated in the Elections Commission Act. Due to the Supreme Court having already decided the time, we had to work our employees overtime to try and meet the new timeline", said Shareef.
"I don't believe we can challenge Supreme Court decisions. However, Supreme Court has to accept that they have to consider the responsibilities within our mandate", he added.
A guideline was issued by the Supreme Court for the 2013 presidential election. When asked if the Elections Commission had sought to eliminate parts of the guideline, Shareef said although some parts of the guideline are now incorporated into the law, the Commission has requested the Supreme Court twice to advise on how to proceed on matters that have not yet been included in the constitution.
Shareef further expressed concern on some points included in the Supreme Court guidelines and orders, recalling that the commission faced difficulty due to the court issuing different rulings at different times over the issue of the 12 parliamentarians who lost their seats and were later reinstated during the 18th parliament.
"In the case of the 12 members, EC made the decision to hold bi-elections for the constituencies in question. We informed as such to the Supreme Court, however, the court responded that a decision has not been reached on the matter, and therefore, until a decision is reached, our letter will not be accepted. This is the level we worked at", said Shareef.