The Parliament has approved to appoint former High Court judge Dr. Azmiralda Zahir and former Civil Court judge Aisha Sujun as Supreme Court justices.
The parliament made the historical decision to appoint two women to the Maldives top court for the first time, with 62 out of 64 members present voting in favor of the move. While one member voted against the motion, one member abstained from voting.
The President nominated Azmiralda and Sujun for Supreme Court appointment after the parliament recently passed an amendment to increase the Supreme Court bench from five to seven judges.
While four High Court judges also applied for the vacant positions, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) recommended the President to appoint his nominations after interviewing the applicants. The President then forwarded his recommendations to the parliament for approval.
However, there is some controversy regarding appointing female judges from a religious perspective, due to which disagreements regarding the issue were prompted. Some religious scholars issued fatwas stating that it is impermissible to appoint female judges, and called on the president to withdraw his recommendation.
Dr Azmiralda was the only female judge at the High Court before she resigned from the post in 2016. While Sujun resigned from the Civil Court in 2014, she was one of the first two women appointed as judges in the Maldives. Sujun recently ran for a seat on the Bar council and got elected successfully.