DJA cancels suspension of 13 lawyers

Hisaan Hussain (L) and Husnu al-Suood, two of 54 lawyers suspended for submitting an “unlawful” petition to the Supreme Court, speak to the press regarding their suspension and the petition. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/MIHAARU

The Department of Judicial Administration (DJA) on Monday revoked the suspension of 13 lawyers, who were among 54 legal representatives suspended for submitting a petition to the Supreme Court raising concerns about the judiciary and calling to uphold the rule of law.

The lawyers submitted the petition on September 10, following which the DJA suspended them indefinitely, declaring that the lawyers gathered at the Supreme Court unlawfully and that they had obstructed the independence of the whole justice system. Further, it alleged that the lawyers were in violation of the Judicature Act, the lawyers’ pledge, regulations to prevent contempt of court, and the regulations of the Supreme Court.

In a new notice on Monday, DJA stated that it is terminating the suspension of 13 lawyers after completing its investigation into their cases of alleged misconduct. Hence, the said lawyers can resume their duties from Monday onwards.

In its earlier statement regarding the suspension, DJA had warned that the administration will look into the cases of all the lawyers who signed the petition. DJA said that their suspension will be in place indefinitely until the end of the investigations.

Some of the prominent lawyers that were suspended include former Attorney General Husnu al-Suood, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s chairperson Hassan Latheef, MDP’s Secretary General Anas Abdul Sattar, Adhaalath Party’s deputy leader Ali Zahir, Machangolhi North MP Mariya Ahmed Didi, Maafannu North MP Imthiyaz Fahmy, Hisaan Hussain, Nazim Abdul Sattar, Ibrahim Riffath, Mahfooz Saeed and Abdulla Haseen.

Meanwhile, several high profile legal representatives, including the former Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz, have stepped forward with another petition to defend the rights of the suspended lawyers. The petition, filed by 35 advocates, highlighted how due procedure suggests taking action against someone who has been accused of a wrongdoing only after their involvement has been indefinitely proven. Therefore, the new petition stated that it would be in the best interest of the suspended lawyers to let them practise till DJA officially finds them guilty of misconduct.

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