Pres seeks JSC counsel on appointing Mu'thasim as Chief Justice

President Ibrahim Solih has requested counsel from the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) on appointing former Supreme Court Justice Mu'thashim Adnan as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

President Solih nominated Mu'thasim for the post by the power vested in him as President of Maldives. The post recently became vacant when former Chief Justice Dr. Ahmed Abdulla Didi was dismissed by the parliament.

Mu'thasim was among the first justices appointed to the Supreme Court. However, the 18th Parliament amended the Judges Act to decrease the number of justices in the Supreme Court from seven to five. Mu'thasim, and then Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz lost their positions due to the amendment.

If Mu'thasim is appointed as the Chief Justice, he will become the only justice remaining at the court from among the first judges appointed to the court.

The remaining justices all eventually lost their positions, with Judge Abdulla Saeed and Judge Ali Hameed being charged with criminal offences after a controverial court order was issued by the Supreme Court on February 1, 2018 ordering the release of then opposition political detainees.

Former Chief Justice Dr. Ahmed Abdulla Didi who became Chief Justice after Faiz was dismissed, and Judge Adam Mohamed were both recently dismissed over unlawful rulings passed by the Supreme Court, and Judge Abdulla Areef resigned amid investigation into the same matter.

The President sent the names of former Attorney General Husnu-al-Suood and High Court Judge Abdul Rauf Ibrahim seeking counsel on them replacing Judge Adam Mohamed and Judge Abdulla Areef.

Husnu-al-Suood is currently the President of the Presidential Commission Investigating Murders and Enforced Disappearances founded by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. Rauf sits on JSC as a High Court judge and was involved in investigating the dismissed Supreme Court justices.

JSC will interview the applicants for the posts as well as the President's nominations before making a recommendation to the President. The President will then consider JSC's recommendation and forward a name for parliament deliberation. The appointment can only be made if the parliament approves the recommendation.

JSC had previously recommended nominations submitted by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and it has been approved by the Parliament. The three judges who remain on the Supreme Court bench were nominated by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. They are Judge Dr. Azmiralda Zahir, Judge Aisha Sujun and Judge Mahaaz Ali.