Pres ratifies three bills into the law

The President on Tuesday ratified three bills passed by the Maldives parliament.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ratified the COVID-19 Special Measures Bill 2020, a legislation which was earlier passed by the People’s Majlis during the 33rd sitting of its second session this year, on 6 September 2020.

The Act’s provisions set in place special guidelines to help the country’s recovery and resilience efforts relevant to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It adds safeguards against the disease’s impacts by facilitating assistance to families struggling to access basic necessities, and by ensuring temporary shelter to those in need, among other precautionary measures to prevent homelessness.

In a similar vein, the Act sets guidelines on special leave policies for employees unable to perform their routine work-responsibilities due to COVID-19. Barring extraordinary circumstances, it prevents alterations being made to an employees’ status in response to the disease. The Act also includes mechanisms to ensure that the State can continue to provide all of its functions without interruption, despite the pandemic. Once it becomes law, the Act’s provisions will become effective 60 days following the expiry of the current state of public health emergency enacted in response to COVID-19, or 60 days following the expiry of any state of emergency declared in relation to COVID-19.

The President also ratified the third amendment to the Criminal Procedure Act. The legislation had been earlier passed by the People’s Majlis at the 33rd sitting of its second session this year, on September 6 2020. The main purpose of the legislation is to address obstacles that prevent the effective enforcement of the Criminal Procedure Act. It does this by adding additional enforcement mechanisms to the main Act. Further, under the amendment, important new provisions are added to the Act. This includes delineating rape and sexual abuse of children as serious criminal offences.

Amendment to the Special Act to Ensure Enforcement of the Decentralization Act of Maldives was also ratified by the President on Tuesday. The amendment was passed by Parliament at the 33rd sitting of their second session this year, on 6 September 2020. The amendment adds three new provisions following section 7 of the Act. These provide guidelines describing the manner in which the President and Vice-President of the Local Government Authority (LGA) should be elected. Under the amendment, the President of the LGA will be answerable to the Parliament, on LGA-related matters.