The Attorney General's Office has decided to appeal the judgement from High Court that they cannot overturn ICOM decisions. AG Office has stated that this ruling brings a defective loophole to the right to appeal any case.
HC made this judgement in a case regarding an RTI submitted to release information on the previous auditor for MWSE, M. Mukurimagu/Noovilaage Moosa Naseem.
The judgement by High Court today states that this case is not one that High Court has jurisdiction to overturn and that this was brought in to debate during both parties at trial.
The judgement further states that the jurisdiction of High Court is decided in the Courts Act of Maldives and that the Right to Information Act is not stated under the Courts Act precisely which in this case is taken as a necessity, henceforth it is not upon High Court to appeal this decision.
The 4 jurisdictions of High Court under the Court act is specified in the judgement and briefly introduced and detailed. The question of whether or not the Right to Information Act’s section 64 sub-section (a) fits in to any of these jurisdictions was debated. Under this section there are no provisional rights bestowed to High Court specifically to appeal ICOM rulings and that the rights provided by the section is a doorway for civilian complaints regarding rulings.
The jurisdiction provided to High Court is only to appeal rulings from courts and tribunals and since ICOM does not qualify as a court, the question of whether ICOM is a tribunal was also brought in to debate. The Court Act states the definition of a tribunal as available in the Constitution of Maldives. ICOM decisions are titled as ‘Decisions by the Information Commissioner’ which puts in to persopective that ICOM decisions are neither from an authority nor a tribunal.
Had the wording been different and it specified that the ruling was from the Information Commissioner’s Office and not a decision by the Information Commissioner himself, High Court would have legal grounds to appeal this case and it would fit in to their jurisdiction, the judgement further continues. Due to a wording discretion, High Court currently does not possess the legal authority to appeal ICOM proceedings.
The judgement further explains that despite there being no specific boundaries to appealing ICOM decisions, if there is a specific act in a constitution that contextually translates to something specific that it would not be wise to add or negate from the layman’s meanings of the Act. The judgement goes on to state that it would be out of the bounds of law to presume that the Information Commissioner is an authority and to appeal the case as such from High Court.
Attorney General Ibrahim Riffath announced that he would be appealing this judgement via a Tweet some time today. His tweet stated that this ruling goes against the constitutional right to appeal.
He quoted upon the currently ongoing cases regarding ICOM and the stated that he would be appealing this judgement in reference to the Constitution’s Section 56, Section 133 (d) and (e).
While High Court has ruled that they have no jurisdiction over ICOM proceedings, Dhiyares News has submitted numerous RTI requests under the Right to Information Act and appealed through High Court, including the decision by the Information Commissioner to not reveal the amount of Indian military personnel currently stationed in Maldives.