President Ratifies Judges Act
President Yameen Abdul Gayoom has ratified the Fifth Amendment to the Judges Act (Act no. 13/2010). The bill was passed by the Parliament on Tuesday, 13 March 2018, at the eighth sitting of the First Session of the Parliament.
The Amendments were made to Articles 15, 23, and 27 of the Act. In this regard, a provision was added to number 4 of subsection (b) of Article 15. Further, two additional provisions were made to Article 23 and another provision was added to Article 27 subsection (j).
Upon ratification of this Act, the following will come into effect:
• A person who has been convicted of a criminal offense shall not be appointed as a Judge
• If a criminal charge has been made against a sitting Judge, the Judicial Service Commission shall place the Judge under a suspension without pay, until a final decision has been made by the final Court of Appeal
• The appeal period for appealing a decision made by a lower court at the High Court will be 10 days and the High Court has a period of 30 days to deliver a verdict.
• The appeal period for appealing a decision made by the High Court regarding a criminal charge made against a Judge will be 10 days and the Supreme Court has a period of 30 days to deliver a verdict.
• If the Supreme Court decides to convict the Judge on criminal charges, the Judge shall be automatically removed from his position.
With this Amendment brought to the Judges Act, although the Judges remain under suspension for the entire period starting from when a criminal charge is made against them until a final decision is made by the Supreme Court or all avenues for appeal have been exhausted, once a conviction is upheld by the Supreme Court, the Judge shall be removed from their position.
Upon ratification, the Act was published in the Government Gazette today.