The High Court has ruled that the Supreme Court does not have the authority to create or dissolve individual agencies. This ruling came as a result of a case involving the dismissal of two employees from the Supreme Court’s Administration Department who were transferred to the Judicial Training Center under the Supreme Court. The Employment Tribunal had previously ruled that the two employees were dismissed properly.
The High Court, however, found that the creation and dissolution of agencies can only be done by law, which is the responsibility of the legislature. The court noted that Maldives has a system of three distinctive branches: the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary, which are independent but interdependent on each other. The court further stated that the three branches are not separate “governments,” and that creating separate agencies would undermine the character of the “unitary” state described in the Constitution.
The Supreme Court had abolished the Judicial Training Center and established a new agency called the Judicial Academy without proper legal authority. The Attorney General, who represented the state in the case, did not respond to this. The judgment stated that the Attorney General should give an appropriate response in the interest of the whole society.
The Attorney General’s Office argued that the Judicial Academy is a separate agency from the Department of Judicial Administration (DJA). However, the Supreme Court had issued orders twice placing the DJA under its jurisdiction, and the Judicial Academy was established under a ruling of the Supreme Court. Both agencies are under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and are accountable to it. Therefore, the state had not shown sufficient reason to dismiss the former employees without transferring them to the newly established Judicial Academy.
The High Court ruled that the employees were dismissed without establishing procedural fairness and that they should be reinstated and paid their salaries due to date. The case was presided over by Justice Mohammed Niaz (chair), and Justice Shujau Usman and Justice Shuaib Hussain Zakaria.