The High Court has ruled against a legal challenge concerning the validity of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s executive order that banned the opposition’s ‘India Out’ movement. The ruling said the order cannot be revoked on the grounds that it is not a constitutional convention.

The executive order issued last year prohibited the use of the slogan “India Out” in the opposition’s campaign against Indian military presence. Following the order, police confiscated all campaign paraphernalia.

The opposition challenged the order in the High Court, arguing that it violated constitutional convention. They also filed an additional appeal to revoke a 1968 law that prohibited discourse threatening national harmony.

The court determined that the term ‘constitutional convention’ could only be applied to laws formulated under the constitution or to regulations derived from such laws. Since the executive order was issued in accordance with the constitution, the court ruled that it neither possessed the authority of a constitutional law nor carried the weight of a regulation under a constitutional law. As a result, the court ruled that the order could not be classified as a constitutional convention.

Additionally, the court found that the 1968 law was in contradiction with the current constitution, thereby revoking it. The ruling noted that although the state had also acknowledged the law’s inconsistency with the constitution, 15 years have elapsed since the constitution was enacted; therefore, the court declared the law void.

Four of the five judges on the bench ruled in favour of declaring the 1968 law void, with one judge dissenting.