Azim: MDP has no intention of reforming JSC; one main reason behind leaving

Parliament's Minority Leader and Central Henveiru MP Ali Azim. (Photo/People's Majlis)

Parliament’s Minority Leader, Central Henveiru MP, claiming ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has no intention of reforming the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), has cited this as the reason why many members of the party had defected and formed The Democrats.

Members of MDP and Democrats, during the debate on the bill to change the composition of JSC presented by parliament’s majority leader, North Hithadhoo MP Mohamed Aslam at the tenth sitting of the third session held Wednesday morning, went into a major quarrel.

During the debate, MP Azim underscored reforming the judiciary had been one of the main pledges pressed by MDP during the campaign for 2018’s presidential election. Citing the MDP’s administration to reform the judiciary despite multiple attempts, the minority said it had been one of the reasons why many MDP members defected the party.

“We were forced to defect because this administration has no intention of reforming anything of importance to the whole nation,” he said.

Azim said that none of the three powers of the state should be included in JSC, if desired to ensure an independent judiciary.

“If there is the intention to reform JSC, none of the three powers will be included (in the commission) by the end of the committee stage,” he added.

JSC is currently composed of a representative of the general public, a representative of the Parliament, the president of the Civil Service Commission, the Attorney General, an attorney appointed by the President, a judge from the lower courts, a judge from the High Court, and a justice from the Supreme Court.

The government submitted the bill to change the composition of JSC on June 19th.

Emphasizing on this date, MP Azim claimed the bill was proposed with the confidence of winning the presidential election outright to remain in power. The minority leader, citing the ruling party’s failure in this regard, appealed to sincerely work towards reforming the judiciary.

“If MDP is willing to undertake this work sincerely this time, I believe an outstanding composition will be decided to reform the judiciary,” he said.

He proposed composing JSC by including a group of honorably retired judges and representatives from the public well-versed in the sector in order to reform the judiciary. MP Azim stressed this was the practice followed in major foreign nations.

Changing the composition of JSC is an electoral pledge of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. 

However, it is members of The Democrats who had most advocated for the matter at Wednesday sitting.