Legal Politics

Hearings concluded in case over Ilhaam’s parliamentary seat

Supreme Court has concluded the hearings in the constitutional case filed by Dhangethi MP Ilhaam Ahmed over his parliamentary seat.

Ilhaam filed the petition accusing the Elections Commission of barring him from entering the parliament for sittings claiming he was disqualified from his parliamentary seat. He has asked the court to determine he hasn’t lost his seat at the parliament.

During the legal proceedings into the case, Ilhaam’s attorney, Nadheem Ibrahim said that Ilhaam sent the letter to his former party, Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), requesting his removal from the party on July 9, 2017, and his letter to EC requesting the same on July 10, 2018.

He argued that the Anti-Defection Act took effect on July 13, 2017, after Ilhaam wrote his letters to PPM and EC.

EC had recently revised its earlier decision to disqualify 12 lawmakers for floor crossing and announced that the 12 lawmakers will retain their parliamentary seats. But the Supreme Court had issued a ruling, ordering EC not to make any decisions regarding the 12 lawmakers as the cases are in the middle of legal proceedings at the court.

During this Tuesday’s hearing, EC reiterated its claim that Ilhaam has been disqualified from this seat, arguing that the EC determined the day a member leaves a political party to be the day the member’s name is officially removed from the party register. And that PPM informed EC of penalties against Ilhaam and his removal from the party register on July 20 – after the Anti-Defection Act took effect.

Following EC’s argument, Chief Justice Dr Ahmed Abdulla Didi questioned whether a person is not considered a member of a political party from the moment the person submits a written request asking that he/she be removed from the party. He asked for further legal clarification in the matter.

In response, EC’s attorney said the regulation formed under the Political Parties Act states a person is no longer a member of the party the moment he/she requests his removal from the party. But that EC followed the Political Parties Regulation which was to remove persons from a political party only after the party fails to grant their request for removal from the party within 14 days.

Concluding the hearing, Chief Justice Dr Ahmed Abdulla Didi said that if there aren’t any further clarifications, the court will next hold a hearing to issue its verdict.

Supreme Court has already reinstated four of the 12 disqualified lawmakers to their parliamentary seats. They are:

  • Vilingili MP Saud Hussain
  • Maduvvari MP Mohamed Ameeth
  • Dhidhdhoo MP Abdul Latheef Mohamed
  • Thulusdhoo MP Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim (Wadde)

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