India has offered to train Maldivian judges and law officials following a request made by Maldives Supreme Court Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz Hussain in this regard.
The Chief Justice arrived here on Sunday for a four-day trip and attended a dinner hosted for him by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid. On Monday, he will take part in a round-table discussion along with Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, other Supreme Court Justices, Law Minister Kapil Sibal as well as Khurshid.
He is the latest visitor from Maldives, preceded by former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Maldives chief election commissioner. Khurshid told the visitor that India will be happy to assist Maldives by way of training and formulation of rules and regulations in that country.
He pointed out that India could help in “strengthening” the proposed Maldivian judicial training academy at Vilingili and also suggested linkages with the National Judicial Academy in Bhopal. Khurshid said that India is “positive” that September presidential elections in Maldives would be “free, fair and peaceful and importantly would be inclusive and credible”. The term inclusive is, of course, a reminder that India would prefer no hurdles in the way of former president Mohamed Nasheed from participating in the September 7 polls as a presidential candidate.
Nasheed is facing criminal charges in a special magistrate court over the arrest of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed during his tenure. If found guilty, he could be barred from contesting the polls. Recently, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Gabriela Knaul, in her final report to the UNHRC, had expressed concern over the fairness of the proceedings of the court set up to try Nasheed, as well as its constitutionality.
Khurshid praised Maldives for undertaking reforms necessary for the independent functioning of the judiciary. He also felt that Maldives had upheld the freedom of speech and expression of people and the media “which are important pillars of democracy”.