Supreme Court says Musab’s termination wrongful, but denies MVR 1.1m compensation

Then-Islamic Ministry permanent secretary, Musab Abdulla (R). (Photo/Islamic Ministry)

The Supreme Court on Wednesday moved to uphold an early ruling which found Musab Abdulla’s dismissal as the permanent secretary at the Islamic Ministry was wrongful, but denied the MVR 1.1 million he asked as compensation.

Musab was appointed as the Islamic Ministry’s PS on July 25, 2017. But on May 29, 2019, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) placed him under 30-day under suspension following four claims lodged against him with the commission.

But the CSC failed to complete its investigation during the period, and Musab was placed under no-suspension four times after June 27.

Musab was investigated by the CSC over claims he was neglectful in work related to finances and employee payroll, neglectful in fulfilling his duties, that he exerted influence, and that he released a secret state document on the social media platform X.

The CSC found Musab in violation of the Public Finance Regulation, Civil Service Regulation, and the Civil Service Code Conduct, and dismissed him on September 10, 2019.

Musab initially lost a wrongful termination lawsuit. While he lost in Civil Court, he won upon appeal with the High Court, which ruled that while he cannot be restored to his former position as it was already filled by someone else, he was owed MVR 1,187,766.66 as compensation – which included MVR 86,333 in salaries and allowances he had been entitled to during his suspension, and an additional MVR 1.1 million he would have earned from September 10, 2019 to the end of his tenure.

The ruling was appealed by the CSC with the Supreme Court, which issued its ruling on Wednesday.

Justice Aisha Shujoon Mohamed noted that while Musab was dismissed citing the disclosure of a secret document, the CSC failed to establish that the document in question was in fact a secret document.

She said that the High Court was right in determining there was insufficient grounds for his dismissal.

But on the matter of compensation, Shujoon noted that while Musab asked for the salaries he would have earned until the end of his tenure on July 24, 2022 at the High Court, he did not make the demand in his original lawsuit at the Civil Court.

She said that there is a clear precedent on matters related to compensation.

“Given that all these matters must be decided based on evidence submitted in the lower court or tribunal process, I do not believe the compensation Musab Abdulla is entitled to can be determined at this stage,” she said.

Shujoon said that Musab has the right to file a separate lawsuit seeking compensation.

Shujoon’s judgement was backed by the other justices on the bench; Azmiralda Zahir and Mahaz Ali Zahir.

The bench therefore overturned the part regarding the compensation and ruled to uphold the rest of the High Court ruling.

Musab will therefore receive MVR 86,333 as compensation.