The state attorneys claimed that the parliamentary motion submitted to nullify the limitations imposed on the right to protest voids litigation and requested the High Court to throw out the case submitted to nullify the article which limits freedom of assembly.
The article added to the 2013 Freedom of Peaceful Assembly Act in 2016 stated that to assemble and protest in any areas of Male’City, the protestors must have a written permit, with the exception of Carnival Grounds.
The case to nullify the amendment was submitted as a constitutional convention issue, appealed to the high court by the founders of Dhiyares News, Ahmed Azaan Marzooq, Ahmed Ibrahim and Shifzan Ahmed.
Lawyers representing the Attorney General’s Office argued, yesterday, at court that while the parliamentary motion to nullify the amendments was in progress at congresslevel, the need for the court to hear the case is nulled.
In response to the state attorney, the apaellents’ lawyer, Mohamed Shaffan noted that the bill was submitted to parliament three years ago. Moreover, he added that the Minister of Home Affairs Imran Abdulla stated at a parliament committee that there was no need to recall the amendment.
Furthermore, Shaffan stated that when the 19th Parliament Committee for Foreign Relations approved to amend the limitations bill, the parliament had rejected it. Therefore, Shaffan concluded that accepting that the court cannot hear a case in correlation with a parliamentary motion may strip the people of their constitutional rights.
Yesterday’s hearing was concluded with the premise of scheduling a hearing on a later date to answer judges’ questions.
The nullification of this amended article was a presidential vow of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. While the government has not submitted to the parliament to annul the article, pro-government politicians advocate everyone has the right to protest without having to amend the law.