The Supreme Court gave a ruling today in the Case of the Century. They ruled, but did not decide. The plaintiffs pleaded the Court for a ruling that the Parliament had violated the Constitution and that the Parliament would stand dissolved on the first of March. Surprisingly, the Supreme Court was silent on both counts in its “verdict”. I had always thought that people went to Court for a remedy regarding a grievance. The Supreme Court certainly gave none in this instance. I am a bit baffled that “eminent lawyers” are claiming that the Supreme Court decision was in favour of the plaintiffs. Must be because I am not a lawyer. I suppose only lawyers are expected to understand Court decisions, and an interpretation has to be made on how the Court interpreted the Law. A bit convoluted, all this legal stuff, I conclude.
In the most convoluted decision to ever come out of a Maldivian Court, what was apparent is this: The Supreme Court is of the opinion that they are the Supreme body in the country, and they do not recognize Parliamentary immunity.
This is exactly what I have been fearful of (Refer my Post entitled “The Power Pendulum”). I have seen this coming from a distance.
The Court referred to “inherent jurisdiction of the Supreme Court” when the Constitution quite clearly states only four instances of original jurisdiction for the Supreme Court, and everything else is referred to jurisdiction as defined by the Law (of which there is nothing yet), or original jurisdiction of a case on appeal against a High Court decision. How can there be “inherent jurisdiction and powers of a court” in constitutional supremacy?
This case has opened a door for a tug of war, the ultimate result of which can only be a Judiciary whose powers will be curtailed. They have committed what would be considered sacrilege in most democracies.
The flexing of their muscles is further evident in a statement issued by the Supreme Court which warns that anyone commenting on a Supreme Court decision will be punished. Where in the world did they gain the power to limit the right of speech through a press release? Does the copy of the Constitution they refer to come minus article 16 and article 19? They have ventured again into the exclusive powers of the Parliament : the power to make law and define punishable offences.
This is my worst nightmare coming true. After ruling against Parliamentary immunity, they are shamelessly moving onto curtailing fundamental rights and freedoms and liberties of the people. Well, the “eminent lawyers” may sit and watch in awe and reverence at the power of the Supreme Court. They may very conveniently disregard the issue when the Supreme Court shifts immunity from Parliament to the Supreme Court. But I shan’t. The Supreme Court can put me in jail if they like. But even they will not strip me of my right and freedom to express myself. I purchased that right with my own sweat and blood from a tyrant who ruled this country for 30 years.
Yes, the Pendulum is Swinging. It hasn’t stopped yet. Right now, it is on the verge of going out of tolerance range.