Hithadhoo magistrate suspended for year-long delay in verdict

Rafeeuddin Ahmed, Magistrate at Hithadhoo Magistrate Court.

Rafeeudddin Ahmed, a magistrate at the S. Hithadhoo Court, has been slapped with a seven-day suspension by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) for over a year-long delay in issuing a verdict in a case.

The latest punishment comes less than a month after the same magistrate was reprimanded for a delay in sentencing in another case.

In a statement on Thursday, JSC said an inquiry found Rafeeuddin went one year, five months and 19 days before holding the sentencing hearing in a case at the Hithadhoo Magistrate Court.

The commission said that the sentencing hearing, scheduled after the long delay, had to be cancelled because the defendant had been out of the city at the time.

The Prosecutor General’s Office later withdrew the charges in the case.

The commission found Rafeeuddin failed to issue the verdict due to negligence.

He has been slapped with a seven-day suspension as punishment.

Under Article 151 (e) of the Criminal Procedure Code, judges are required to hold hearings to issue the verdict within 30 days after hearings concluded.

Rafeeuddin had also been investigated for misconduct last year, after the Hithadhoo Magistrate Court released a suspect who had been ordered to jail pending the outcome of his trial by the High Court. He was investigated for both the release of the suspect, and a subsequent press statement defending the decision.