The Supreme Court on Thursday issued a definitive ruling on the constitutional petition concerning the no-confidence motion against Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed, brought forth by the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

The bench, presided over by Justice Mahaz Ali Zahir and including Justices Dr Azmiralda Zahir, Husnu Suoodh, Ali Rasheed, and Dr Mohamed Ibrahim, resolved that the Parliamentary Secretariat had misinterpreted the Standing Orders of the 19th Parliament, in limiting the presiding authority to Deputy Speaker Eva Abdulla. The Secretariat’s interpretation had effectively stalled the Parliament by placing the no-confidence motion against Speaker Nasheed on the agenda, despite the Deputy Speaker’s absence due to illness.

The MDP had approached the court following several unsuccessful attempts to hold a parliamentary sitting to debate the no-confidence motion against Speaker Nasheed. They argued that the Secretariat’s stance was erroneous, claiming that in the event of both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker being unable to preside, an alternative arrangement involving the appointment of five most senior members, as per parliamentary regulations, could be instituted to avoid a legal vacuum.

Upholding this argument, the Supreme Court’s verdict emphasised that the regulations did not bar these five MPs from presiding in such situations, thus facilitating the continuation of parliamentary business.

Addressing the MDP’s appeal for an order that no other parliamentary work should proceed without resolving the no-confidence motion, the court decisively rejected this position. Instead, it ruled that the Parliament must carry out all constitutionally mandated duties, regardless of any pending motions of no confidence.

The court underscored the imperative of proceeding with essential state functions, including the Presidential Inauguration of President-elect Dr Mohamed Muizzu and the approval of his cabinet. The verdict reinforced that Parliament does not have the discretion to defer such constitutionally required actions.

The Democrats, along with the PNC and PPM coalition, had intervened in the case, which has now seen a pivotal resolution ensuring that the legislative arm remains functional and accountable to its constitutional obligations, despite internal disputes and procedural challenges.