Supreme Court has original jurisdiction to adjudicate on constitutional matters with the following characteristics pursuant to section 11 of Judicature Act 2010:
• The matter may create a constitutional void or the matter may lead to the constitutional system to be out of order.
• Matter between two institutions or two powers of the state regarding the interpretation of the Constitution.
• Matters relating to public interest of the nation.
Pursuant to section 143 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court shall have the jurisdiction to enquire into and rule on the constitutional validity of any statute or part thereof enacted by the Parliament.
Appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court
• The Supreme Court has jurisdiction to hear appeals from any decision or order or ruling of the High Court on grounds of the decision violating the constitution, a law or a regulation made pursuant to section 12 of the Judicature Act 2010.
• A matter adjudicated by the High Court and appealed to the Supreme Court must be submitted within 60 (sixty) days from the date of the High Court decision. The 60 (sixty) days will be counted excluding the public holidays between the date of the decision and the deadline for submission.
• With regard to matters that have not been submitted within the duration specified above due to circumstances beyond their power, should the Supreme Court deem the reason for failure of submission as reasonable, the Supreme Court has the discretion to grant leave in the matter after the expiration of the duration specified.
• Proving a matter within the specific time period due to circumstances beyond control, lies on the party submitting the application to the Supreme Court.
Under Article 95 of the Constitution, the Parliament may by resolution refer to the Supreme Court for hearing and consideration, important questions of law, concerning any matter including the interpretation of the Constitution and the constitutional validity of any law. Such matters shall be heard by a minimum of 5 members of the bench of Supreme Court within a reasonable period of time.
Pursuant to Article 141(b), 143(c) and (d) and Article 145(c), to speed up the process with regard to complaints about ongoing matters, the Supreme Court has a supervisory jurisdiction to take actions in such matters in order to ensure the administration of justice in the Maldives. Under supervisory jurisdiction, if an issue arises regarding the procedural matters of a lower court, the higher courts have the authority to take the following actions.
:: To clarify the information regarding a case or procedure, the higher courts can direct a lower court to send the records of such matters to the higher court.
:: Higher courts could give advice regarding such procedural matters to the lower courts.
:: If an action is to be taken in the aforementioned matters, the court may issue the following orders to lower courts;
• Certiorari Order can be issued to the lower court, tribunal or public authority to send the records in a given case for review.
• In matters of unlawful detention sought by the prisoner or another person coming to prisoner’s aid, the court would summon the prisoner and the custodian before the court, and the custodian should present proof of authority, allowing the court to determine whether the custodian has lawful authority to detain the person. If the custodian does not have the authority to detain the prisoner then they may be released from custody under a writ of Habeas Corpus.
• A Mandamus order can be issued to a lower court or a civil servant, or a public authority or its employee to do specific act which that body is obliged under law to do or refrain from doing such an act.
• If the case in question does not fall under the lower court’s jurisdiction, or if a lower court goes beyond their jurisdiction in an ongoing case, a writ of prohibition may be issued to the lower court ordering the court not to proceed with the case.