In his weekly radio address, President Mohamed Nasheed has said the second amendment bill to the Civil Service Act, which was passed on 22 June, unduly constrains the role of the President in making senior appointments for administration of the Executive branch.

On Thursday, the President returned the bill to the Parliament for reconsideration of articles 13 and 17

Article 13 of the Civil Service Act states that the President, on recommendation of the parliament, shall appoint members to the commission by nominating people selected from among applicants.

However, the amendment mandates the Majlis to receive applications for Civil Service Commission (CSC) membership and endorse candidates after a committee review.

Article 17 of the Act gives the President the authority to appoint the Commissioner and Vice Commissioner with the advice of the Majlis, while the amendment gives that authority to the Majlis.

Discussing the reasons for vetoing the bill, he said:

“Seeking members to independent institutions and determining their qualifications and competence must be done by the Executive. The role of the Parliament must be to oversee how the process takes place, to ensure accountability, and to accept or reject the names submitted to the Parliament.”

He continued, Article 180 (b) and articles elsewhere in the Constitution and conventions, clearly showed it was President’s prerogative to seek nominations to the CSC and submit nominations to the Parliament.

Article 180 (b) states “the President shall appoint to the Civil Service Commission those persons approved by a majority of the members of the People’s Majlis present and voting, from the names submitted to the People’s Majlis as provided for in the statute governing the Civil Service Commission”.

He emphasised the phrase “from the names submitted to the People’s Majlis” clearly showed making nominations to the Civil Service Commission was not the prerogative of the People’s Majlis.

Special Needs Act

The President also discussed the significance of the amended special needs bill which he signed into law Thursday.

He noted that the new legislation protected fundamental rights of people with special needs, and discussed some of those rights, including the right to property, access to goods, facilities and services, employment, and education.

According to the Act, a council to protect the rights of people with disabilities must be established within 30 days of enactment. The key objective of the Council would be to monitor the implementation of policies regarding people with disabilities.

The Act also outlines principles and procedures in providing protection and financial assistance to people with special needs.

The bill was first passed by the People’s Majlis on 21 December 2009.

However, President Nasheed returned the bill to the People’s Majlis for reconsideration, stating that the bill contained articles that contradicted international standards and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Political situation

In his weekly radio address, the President also spoke on the efforts in bringing an amicable resolution to the current political crisis.

Speaking on Sri Lankan President’s visit to the Maldives, the President said that the Sri Lanka President held talks with key stakeholders, including delegates from political parties, Speaker of the People’s Majlis, Chief Justice, and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

He said the government and the opposition agreed, in the presence of President Rajapaksa, to constitute a committee of six members of the Majlis, comprising three members from the government and three from the opposition to carry forward a dialogue addressing such pressing issues as the smooth functioning of the legislative process.

“I therefore hope this committee will soon be formed and speedily do the work,” he said