Attorney General, Dr Ahmed Ali Sawad, has told Minivan News that a Supreme Court verdict overruling “contradicting” court orders issued by island courts over the relocation of some Atoll Council offices did not mean that the issue was as yet resolved.
”It [the Supreme Court decision] is a different ruling because two courts of the same level have issued two different court orders on the same issue,” said Dr Sawad. ”The real issue over the legality of the relocations still needs to be addressed within the Thulusdhoo Island Court and Shaviyani Funadhoo Island court.”
The Supreme Court of the Maldives has recently invalidated court warrants issued by the Kaafu Atoll Maafushi Island Court and Shaviyani Atoll Milandhoo Island Court that were deemed to have contradicted earlier rulings by local magistrates over the location of council offices.
This court actions occurred this week as the government come into conflict with members of Shaviyani Atoll and Kaafu Atoll councils over the decision to move their administrative offices to different locations. The government has claimed that the decisions were not within the legal powers of councilors.
The Atoll Councilors of Shaviyani Atoll moved from their Administrative Office in Milandhoo to a building in Funadhoo, which was formerly used as Atoll Office of Shaviyani Atoll. Kaafu Atoll Councilors moved from an assigned Atoll Office in Maafushi to a building in Thulusdhoo, which was also formerly used as the Atoll Office of Kaafu Atoll.
The government opposed these actions, sending police to the islands over concerns that the buildings were its own assets and needed protection.
The case was then brought in front of Funadhoo Magistrates Court, which ruled that the Administrative Office should be located in Funadhoo. This occurred two days before the Milandhoo Magistrate ruled that Administrative Office shall be in Milandhoo.
Likewise in Thulusdhoo, the island court of Thulusdhoo ruled that the Administrative Office shall be in Thulusdhoo, before the Maafushi Island Court ruled in favor of retaining the Administrative Office in Maafushi.
The Supreme Court said that after one court has ruled on a case, another legal institution of the same level had no authority to overturn that ruling. This made the later rulings invalid according to the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, the High Court also concluded that there was no capacity for an appeal requested by the Attorney General to rule that the court order of Thulusdhoo Court.
The High Court said that there was no reason to believe that the actions of Thulushoo Court were against the law or correct procedures.
Recently Shaviyani Atoll Council’s Vice President Mohamed Arif has said the best way to solve the issue was by handing over the case to a higher court of law, ”as it is a legal issue.”
The Home Minister also told media this week that the government would let the country’s higher-level courts decide the matter.