The Supreme Court concluded hearings on Tuesday regarding a constitutional petition by the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), which aims to resolve a legislative deadlock over a no-confidence motion against Speaker Mohamed Nasheed.

Arguments unfolded over two days, engaging the state, the MDP, and intervening parties – Nasheed’s Democrats and the coalition of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and the People’s National Congress (PNC).

The core of the second day’s arguments revolved around the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction to adjudicate matters concerning the legislative assembly. The Democrats asserted that a court ruling necessitating amendments to parliamentary rules would violate the principle of separation of powers.

The state, along with the MDP and PPM-PNC, contested this view. The PPM-PNC’s lawyer, a former Attorney General, stressed the importance of judicial oversight over state administrative functions, supporting the view that the Maldivian constitution permits such scrutiny.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Fathimath Niusha, the Parliament’s Secretary-General, offered four potential legislative resolutions to the stalemate:

  1. The General Committee’s authority to propose amendments to the regulations independently.
  2. The option for any member to table a resolution to amend the regulations.
  3. The introduction of an amendment as a motion within parliamentary procedures.
  4. The possibility for Parliament to devise a solution, given the absence of guidance in the current regulations for such situations.

Niusha also noted that despite the deadlock and the cancellation of sittings due to Deputy Speaker Eva Abdulla’s illness, routine parliamentary sessions could proceed without disruption. The Democrats emphasised that the matter could be settled internally by Parliament, negating the need for court intervention and averting any constitutional crisis that would warrant halting ordinary proceedings.

Contrastingly, the MDP, supported by the Attorney General’s Office and PPM-PNC, emphasised the need for the Supreme Court to provide a timely resolution, particularly in light of the presidential inauguration scheduled for 17 November.

Upon the conclusion of the hearings, Justice Mahaz Ali Zahir committed to expediting a verdict, signalling that the next assembly would most likely deliver the court’s decision unless additional information is required.