Supreme Court to deliver judgment in parliament case this evening

Parliament Speaker, former President Mohamed Nasheed presides over a parliamentary sitting. (Photo/People's Majlis)

Supreme Court has scheduled the judgment in the case filed by MDP over the deadlock in the parliament after the party filed a second no-confidence motion against Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed for 4:00pm Thursday evening.

The hearings in the case began Monday and concluded on Tuesday.

MDP, who filed the case, is asking Supreme Court to establish leeway for the no-confidence motion to proceed even if it is achieved by a member other than the Deputy Speaker presiding over the sitting as Article 205 of the parliament’s regulation does not stipulate the course of action if the deputy speaker is unavailable to preside over a no-confidence motion against the speaker. 

They said the Supreme Court should advise on the way forward to save the parliament from falling into a deadlock. that the Supreme Court lacks jurisdiction to amend the parliament's regulations in the current dispute over the speaker’s no-confidence motion, and in otherwise circumstances. 

Their reasoning is that the Democrats believe that the Supreme Court adding anything to the parliament's regulations is changing them, which they said was unconstitutional and the Supreme Court does not have that power. 

However, MDP says the judgment will not add a new article to the regulations. 

The Democrats, Nasheed’s party which intervened in the case, argued

Former Attorney General Azima Shukoor, who was the lawyer for intervening PPM-PNC in the case, said the issue at hand was a matter of interpretation of the constitution and the regulations of the parliament. 

Representing the state on the case, Attorney General's Office Counsel Fathimath Haleem said that the case was constitutional as it involved differences of opinion in the interpretation of the rules. MDP seconded this argument. 

Secretary General of the Parliament, Fathimath Niusha, then explained four ways in which the Parliament Secretariate could proceed with the matter. They are:

  • Under Article 108 (B) of the parliament's regulations, the General Committee of the Parliament shall, on its own initiative, can decide on an amendment to the regulations and submit it to the parliament floor. 
  • An ordinary member moving a resolution to amend the regulations of the parliament under Article 167 of the regulations
  • Moving an amendment to regulations as a motion under article 249 (B) of the parliament's regulation 
  • The parliament coming to a decision for this particular circumstance as Article 205 of the regulation does not detail how to proceed. 

Nasheed’s motion was initially scheduled for last week’s last Sunday. However, the sitting was cancelled subsequent to Eva, Nasheed’s cousin and fellow Democrats member, calling in sick.

The no-confidence motion was on the agenda for all days except Tuesday of last week; none of which panned out as Eva had called in sick for all of them.

The sitting on the no-confidence motion was scheduled for a fifth time on Sunday morning. However, Eva recused from presiding over the sitting in light of the Supreme Court case last week, and also called in sick on Sunday.

Parliament Secretariate subsequently announced they will not be slating sittings on Nasheed’s motion pending the outcome of the Supreme Court case. 

MDP submitted the no-confidence motion with the signatures of 49 MPs last month, marking it the second time this year. Votes of 43 MPs are required to pass a no-confidence motion against the speaker of the parliament. MDP, which holds supermajority, has 56 MPs in the parliament.