19 February 2018

People’s Majlis met today, Monday, on an “extraordinary session” to approve and extend the emergency provisions issued by the Abdullah Yameen administration by another 15 days. Armed security forces surrounded the house of parliament. The opposition members boycotted the sitting. The parliamentary session was held with 39 government-aligned members. The opposition members protested outside the parliament.

On Sunday evening, the Supreme Court passed an order to delay the enforcement of its February 1 ruling on reinstating 12 previously disqualified MPs. The Supreme Court had disqualified them in July 2017 based on a petition by the government after they defected to the opposition. If the 12 MPs are allowed to vote, the opposition will get 44 votes while the ruling party will get only  40 votes.

The opposition members contended that Monday’s vote was taken in contravention of the law. Article 87 (b) of the Constitution states that voting on any matter requiring compliance by citizens can only be undertaken when more than half of the total membership of the parliament is present at the sitting at which the matter is voted upon. Meedhoo MP Rozaina Adam Tweeted: “to pass the state of emergency declaration from the parliament there should be 43 members participating in the vote as per constitution. There are only 39 members in the chamber. A vote taken without 43 MPs present would be invalid.”

The parliament secretariat had notified the 12 reinstated members of the extraordinary sitting being held Monday. But after the apex court’s ruling, the secretariat revoked these members’ invitation for Monday’s sitting.

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement that the manner in which the Emergency was extended by the Majlis was in “contravention” of the country’s Constitution and was a “matter of concern.” The Hindu reported.