MALE', MALDIVES – The High Court has scheduled a hearing on 6th July at 13:00 hours for the case aiming to nullify the presidential decree banning the 'India Out' movement. The decree has been a point of contention since its inception and is now being legally challenged by the founders of The Maldives Journal (TMJ), Ahmed Azaan Marzooq, Ahmed Ibrahim, and Shifzan Ahmed.
The 'India Out' movement calls for the removal of the Indian military from the Maldives, demanding India to refrain from interfering in the Maldivian domestic affairs. It has been under scrutiny after the presidential decree issued on April 21 declared it a threat to national security.
According to the decree, the National Security Council concluded that the movement could inflict direct harm on foreigners living in the Maldives and locals traveling abroad. However, this notion has not sat well with proponents of the movement, sparking widespread debate and legal challenges.
Critics of the decree argue that the constitution of the Maldives does not permit the president to restrict fundamental freedoms via such decrees, a point likely to be highlighted during the court proceedings.
To date, only one hearing has been held. In this hearing, the state requested to dismiss the case, arguing that the Supreme Court should be the court of first instance.
However, Shaffan Mohamed, the Oxford-educated lawyer representing the plaintiffs, countered this claim by stating that the case was initially filed at the Supreme Court. It was the Supreme Court, in fact, that directed the case to be filed at the High Court.
As the hearing approaches, it becomes apparent that the case represents more than a legal challenge to a single decree. It symbolizes the struggle for upholding fundamental freedoms and ensuring transparent and fair governance in the Maldives.