CHAPTER VI. THE JUDICIARY
- The judicial power is vested in the Supreme Court, the High Court, and such Trial Courts as established by law.
- The Supreme Court shall be the highest authority for the administration of justice in the Maldives. The Chief Justice shall be the highest authority on the Supreme Court. All matters adjudicated before the Supreme Court shall be decided upon by a majority of the judges sitting together in session.
- No officials performing public functions, or any other persons, shall interfere with and influence the functions of the courts.
- Persons or bodies performing public functions, through legislative and other measures, must assist and protect the courts to ensure the independence, eminence, dignity, impartiality, accessibility and effectiveness of the courts.
142. Compliance with law
The Judges are independent, and subject only to the Constitution and the law. When deciding matters on which the Constitution or the law is silent, Judges must consider Islamic Shari’ah. In the performance of their judicial functions, Judges must apply the Constitution and the law impartially and without fear, favour or prejudice.
143. Jurisdiction of the courts
- The Supreme Court and the High Court shall have jurisdiction to enquire into and rule on the constitutional validity of any statute or part thereof enacted by the People’s Majlis.
- In any matter before them, all courts have jurisdiction to determine matters concerning the interpretation and application of any provision of the Constitution, and this shall not be deemed contrary to article (a).
- Every court has jurisdiction to overturn the decision of a lower court.
- Lower courts shall follow the decisions of a higher court.
144. Powers in constitutional matters
When deciding a constitutional matter within its jurisdiction, a court:
- may declare that any statute, regulation or part thereof, order, decision or action of any person or body performing a public function that is inconsistent with the Constitution is invalid to the extent of the inconsistency; and
- may in connection with a declaration pursuant to article (b) make any order that is just and equitable, including:
- an order providing just compensation for any damage sustained by any person or group of persons due to any statute, regulation or action that is inconsistent with the Constitution; or
- an order suspending the declaration of invalidity (of a statute, regulation or action due to inconsistency with the Constitution) for any period and on any conditions, to allow the competent authority to correct the defect:
- may make an order limiting the retrospective effect of a declaration of invalidity of a statute, regulation or part thereof, order, decision or action of any person or body performing a public function that is inconsistent with the Constitution.
145. Supreme Court
- The Supreme Court shall consist of the Chief Justice and such number of Judges as provided by law. The Supreme Court shall consist of an uneven number of Judges.
- Matters shall be disposed of in the Supreme Court by an uneven number of Judges sitting together in session.
- The Supreme Court shall be the final authority on the interpretation of the Constitution, the law, or any other matter dealt with by a court of law.
146. High Court
- The High Court shall consist of such number of Judges as provided by law.
- Matters shall be disposed of in the High Court by an uneven number of Judges sitting together in session.
147. Appointment of the Chief Justice
There shall be a Chief Justice of the Maldives. The President as the Head of State shall appoint the Chief Justice, after consulting the Judicial Service Commission and confirmation of the appointee by a majority of the members of the People’s Majlis present and voting.
148. Appointment of Judges
- The President as the Head of State shall appoint the Judges of the Supreme Court, after consulting the Judicial Service Commission and confirmation of the appointees by a majority of the members of the People’s Majlis present and voting.
- All other Judges shall be appointed by the Judicial Service Commission, to be established in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
- Judges shall be appointed without term, but shall retire at the age of seventy years.
- Notwithstanding article (c), for a period of fifteen years from the commencement of the Constitution, Judges may be appointed for a fixed term of not more than five years, as specified in the terms of their appointment.
149. Qualifications of Judges
- A person appointed as a Judge in accordance with law, must possess the educational qualifications, experience and recognized competence necessary to discharge the duties and responsibilities of a Judge, and must be of high moral character.
- In addition to the qualifications specified in article (a), a Judge shall possess the following qualifications:-
- be a Muslim and a follower of a Sunni school of Islam;
- be twenty-five years of age;
- has not been convicted of an offence for which a hadd is prescribed in Islam, criminal breach of trust, or bribery;
- be of sound mind.
- A person appointed to be a Judge of the Supreme Court, shall be at least thirty years of age; possess at least seven years experience as a Judge or practicing lawyer or both as a Judge and a practicing lawyer, and must be educated in Islamic Shari’ah or law.
- The People’s Majlis shall pass a statute relating to Judges.
150. Oath of office of Judges
Every Judge shall take and subscribe the oath of office of Judges set out in Schedule 1 of this Constitution before assuming office.
151. Full time performance
Every Judge shall devote his full time to the performance of the responsibilities of a Judge. A Judge shall perform other work only in accordance with and as specified by the statute relating to Judges.
152. Salary and allowances
Judges shall be paid such salary and allowances in keeping with the stature of their office as determined by the People’s Majlis.
153. Declaration of assets
Every Judge shall annually submit to the Judicial Service Commission a statement of all property and monies owned by him, business interests and all assets and liabilities.
154. Tenure and removal
- A Judge shall not be removed from office during good behavior and compliance with judicial ethics.
- A Judge may be removed from office only if the Judicial Service Commission finds that the person is grossly incompetent, or that the Judge is guilty of gross misconduct, and submits to the People’s Majlis a resolution supporting the removal of the Judge, which is passed by a two-thirds majority of the members of the People’s Majlis present and voting.
155. Power to determine the jurisdiction of courts and to enact administrative laws relating to the courts
The People’s Majlis shall have authority to pass laws concerning the administration of the courts, the trial and appellate jurisdiction of the courts and trial procedures.
156. Administration of the courts
The courts have the inherent power to protect and regulate their own process, in accordance with law and the interests of justice.