Legal Politics

Top Court dismisses state-initiated challenge to Political Parties Act

The Supreme Court of the Maldives PHOTO/MIHAARU

The Supreme Court of the Maldives PHOTO/MIHAARU

Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a case filed by the state to annual a clause in the Political Parties Act that would allow an expelled parliamentarian to preserve his seat despite the member no longer representing the party.

The state had announced its intent to file the case to annul Section (16) (2) of the Political Parties Act at the anti-defection hearing of Villingili MP Saud Hussain, early in August.

At the initial hearing, the state had claimed that the clause contradicts apex court’s earlier ruling which stated that any parliamentarian that crosses the floor or is expelled from the political party they were registered to at the time of election, or shift to another party, will lose their seat in the parliament.

However, the top court did not comply with the state’s request then; it maintained that no changes would be brought to a specific section of the Act.

The Supreme Court has since issued its verdict on MP Saud, and the three other parliamentarians who were contesting their disqualification from the parliament.

In an indistinct verdict issued on Sunday, the court had stated that there is “nothing more to decide” regarding the four parliamentarians who were contesting their disqualification.

The four parliamentarians whose seats were challenged are: Villingili MP Saud Hussain, Dhidhoo MP Abdul Latheef Mohamed, Madduvvari MP Mohamed Ameeth and Thulusdhoo MP Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim.

However, the court had not explicitly stated that the members had been disqualified; it simply referred to its earlier verdict and stated that it maintained its previous decision regarding anti-defection.

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The unseated MPs lawyers, therefore, maintains that as long as no changes are brought to the Political Parties Act, the four members cannot be disqualified.

The Political Parties Act Section 16 (2) allows parliamentarians who have been expelled from their respective political parties due to a disciplinary issue, to appeal the party’s decision. The section further specifies that even though a sitting MP is expelled from the political party, they will still maintain their seat in the parliament.

“As long as the court does not annul this section of the Political Parties Act, it’s a law we have to enforce. So we don’t believe that the Elections Commission (EC) can decide that the four MPs have been disqualified from the parliament,” member of the expelled MP’s lawyers’ team, Hisaan Hussain said.

Following the apex court’s ruling, the EC has announced parliamentary by-elections for the disputed constituencies.

Full details are available from the link below:

Source URL: Mihaaru-News

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