Malé, Maldives – Attorney Generals Office has appealed the verdict of Maldives High Court declaring that they have no jurisdiction reviewing appeals over the verdicts of the Information Commissioner at Supreme Court of the Maldives.
This comes after AG, Riffath stated on March 25, 2021 that AGO would appeal the High Courts verdict out of general pubic interest and based on Article 56, Section 133 (d) and (e) of the Maldivian Constitution that they had decided to appeal the case at Supreme Court as the ruling hinders the general right given by the Constitution for appealing cases.
The ruling by High Court was made regarding a case filed by MWSC to appeal the Information Commissioner’s decision to release an audit report as requested by a former employee of the company related to his dismissal.
MWSC then filed the case to the High Court to review the decision of the Information Commissioner under the Right to Information Act (RTI Act), Article 64.
According to Article 64 of the RTI Act, the “party unsatisfied with a decision reached [by the Information Commissioner]” can appeal the decision to the High Court within 30 days.
The Maldives High Court then ruled that it has no jurisdiction to review decisions made by the Information Commissioner under the Judicature Act.
The Judicature Act dictates that the High Court can hear cases as an appellant court in cases regarding decisions made by lower courts or tribunals established under the law.
The High Court stated that since the Judicature Act refers to Maldives Constitution with regards to the meaning of tribunal which states “any institution not constituting a court, authorized by law to adjudicate cases where a dispute arises between two or more parties and to which an application is made for adjudication”, the Information Commissioner cannot be considered a tribunal and therefore, the Court does not have jurisdiction over the decisions of the Commissioner.
This decision was unanimously voted by the three presiding judges, Judge Mohamed Faisal, Judge Mohamed Niyaz and Judge Hussain Shaheed. The High Court however noted that the Supreme Court of Maldives has the jurisdiction to hear appeals on verdicts of the High Court.