Six MPs lose parliamentary privileges following expulsion

The four 'expelled' MPs: (from left) MP Ameeth, MP Waheed, MP Saud and MP Abdul Latheef

The four ‘expelled’ MPs: (from left) MP Ameeth, MP Waheed, MP Saud and MP Abdul Latheef

Parliament’s secretary general has announced that the six expelled parliamentarians have lost all the benefits and immunity granted to them by the Parliament Privileges Act.

Parliament’s Secretary General Ahmed Mohamed forwarded a memo to all the departments of the parliament on Saturday declaring that Dhidhoo MP Abdul Latheef, Villingili MP Saud Hussain, Madduvari MP Mohamed Ameeth, Dhangethi MP Ilham Ahmed, Machangoalhi-South MP Abdulla Sinan and Thulusdhoo MP Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim have been cut off from their parliamentary privileges.

The reason cited for the cut-off, according to the secretary general’s memo, is the Elections Commission (EC) announcing by-elections for their constituencies.

While the EC have officially announced that most of the said MPs have lost their seats following their defection from their elected parties, the commission has not officially announced whether Dhangethi MP Ilham or Machangoalhi-South MP Sinan have lost their seats.

MP Ilham has since filed an official complaint to the parliament appealing the secretary-general’s decision as he had not been informed of his expulsion.

In his letter he asked the parliament to clarify whether he is still a member of the parliament, and to specify the clause in the Constitution under which he has lost his seat. He also asked to show any subpoenas the parliament may have received, ordering his removal.

Four MPs are already challenging their disqualification from the parliament, and the cases are currently ongoing at the Supreme Court.

The members lost their seats after the Supreme Court issued a ruling on July 13 which stated that any parliamentarian that resigns or is expelled from the political party they were registered to at the time of election or shifts to another party, will lose their seat in the parliament.

The apex court had clarified its ruling two days later on July 16 and held that the ruling could not be applied retroactively.

Following the court’s ruling, the Elections Commission (EC) had announced that four defecting members from the ruling party had lost their seats and announced that by-elections will be held for the respective constituencies.

If there are any doubts about the legitimacy of an MP’s seat in the parliament, the Constitution states that only the Supreme Court holds the authority to make a final decision regarding the validity of their seats.

Therefore, some legal experts have claimed that the parliament cannot take any action against the MPs until the Supreme Court has issued its final verdict regarding the seats of the six MPs in the parliament.

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