Maldives
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Features of Constitution1

Is there a constitution? Yes
Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion? No

Constitution2

Constitution Year 2008
Last Amended not amended
Source The President's Office: Republic of Maldives
Translation Source is an English translation
Current as of May 11, 2011

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)2

Article 2: Republic of the Maldives

The Maldives is a sovereign, independent, democratic Republic based on the principles of Islam, and is a unitary State, to be known as the Republic of the Maldives. Any reference to �the Maldives� is a reference to the Republic of the Maldives.


Article 9: Citizens

(a) The following persons are citizens of the Maldives:
i. citizens of the Maldives at the commencement of this Constitution;
ii. children born to a citizen of the Maldives; and
iii. foreigners who, in accordance with the law, become citizens of the Maldives.
(b) No citizen of the Maldives may be deprived of citizenship.
(c) Any person who wishes to relinquish his citizenship may do so in accordance with law.
(d) Despite the provisions of article (a) a non-Muslim may not become a citizen of the Maldives.


Article 10: State Religion

(a) The religion of the State of the Maldives is Islam. Islam shall be the one of the basis (sic) of all the laws of the Maldives.
(b) No law contrary to any tenet of Islam shall be enacted in the Maldives.


Article 16: Guarantee of Rights

(a) This Constitution guarantees to all persons, in a manner that is not contrary to any tenet of Islam, the rights and freedoms contained within this Chapter, subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by a law enacted by the People�s Majlis in a manner that is not contrary to this Constitution. Any such law enacted by the People�s Majlis can limit the rights and freedoms to any extent only if demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.
(b) The limitation of a right or freedom specified in this Chapter by a law enacted by the People�s Majlis as provided for in this Constitution, and in order to protect and maintain the tenets of Islam, shall not be contrary to article (a).
(c) In deciding whether a right or freedom in this Chapter, has been limited in accordance with article (a) and (b), a court must be fully cognizant of and make reference to all the facts, including:
�vi. the extent to which the right or freedom must be limited in order to protect the tenets of Islam, where the right or freedom has been limited pursuant to article (b).


Article 19: Freedom from Restraint

A citizen is free to engage in any conduct or activity that is not expressly prohibited by Islamic Shari�ah or by law. No control or restraint may be exercised against any person unless it is expressly authorized by law.


Article 27: Freedom of Expression

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought and the freedom to communicate opinions and expression in a manner that is not contrary to any tenet of Islam.


Article 36: Right to Education

�(c) Education shall strive to inculcate obedience to Islam, instill love for Islam, foster respect for human rights, and promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all people.


Article 59: Retrospective Legislation

(a) No person shall be found guilty of any act or omission which did not constitute an offence under Islamic Shari�ah or law at the time committed. Nor shall a more severe penalty be imposed than the one applicable at the time the offence was committed. If the punishment for an offence has been reduced between the time of commission and the time of sentencing, the accused is entitled to the benefit of the lesser punishment.
(b) This Article shall not prejudice the trial and punishment of any person for any act which was criminal according to international law.


Article 67: Responsibilities and Duties

The exercise and enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms is inseparable from the performance of responsibilities and duties, and it is the responsibility of every citizen:
(a) to respect and protect the rights and freedoms of others;
(b) to foster tolerance, mutual respect, and friendship among all people and groups;
(c) to contribute to the well-being and advancement of the community;
(d) to promote the sovereignty, unity, security, integrity and dignity of the Maldives;
(e) to respect the Constitution and the rule of law;
(f) to promote democratic values and practices in a manner that is not inconsistent with any tenet of Islam;
(g) to preserve and protect the State religion of Islam, culture, language and heritage of the country;
(h) to preserve and protect the natural environment, biodiversity, resources and beauty of the country and to abstain from all forms of pollution and ecological degradation;
(i) to respect the national flag, state emblem and the national anthem.
Every person in the Maldives must also respect these duties.


Article 70: Legislative Authority

(a) The legislative authority of the Maldives shall be vested in the People�s Majlis.
�(c) The People�s Majlis shall not pass any law that contravenes any tenet of Islam.


Article 73: Qualifications of Members

(a) A person elected to be a member of the People�s Majlis shall be so qualified if he:
i. is a citizen of the Maldives;
ii. is not a citizen of a foreign country;
iii. is a Muslim and a follower of a Sunni school of Islam;
iv. has attained the age of eighteen years; and
v. is of sound mind.


Article 109: Qualifications for Election as President

A person elected as President shall have the following qualifications:
(a) be a Maldivian citizen born to parents who are Maldivian citizens, and who is not also a citizen of a foreign country;
(b) be a Muslim and a follower of a Sunni school of Islam;
(c) be at least thirty-five years of age;
(d) be of sound mind;
(e) not have an undischarged decreed debt;
(f) not have been convicted of a criminal offense and sentenced to a term of more than twelve months, unless a period of three years has elapsed since his release, or pardon for the offense for which he was sentenced; and
(g) despite the provisions of article (f), not have been convicted of an offense for which a hadd is prescribed in Islam or of fraud, deception or criminal breach of trust.


Article 130: Qualification of Ministers

(a) A person shall be qualified to be a member of the Cabinet if he:
i. is a citizen of the Maldives;
ii. is not a citizen of a foreign country;
iii. is a Muslim and a follower of a Sunni school of Islam;
iv. has attained the age of twenty-five years;
v. is of sound mind.


Article 142: Compliance with Law

The Judges are independent, and subject only to the Constitution and the law. When deciding matters on which the Constitution or the law is silent, Judges must consider Islamic Shari�ah. In the performance of their judicial functions, Judges must apply the Constitution and the law impartially and without fear, favor or prejudice.


Article 149: Qualifications of Judges

(a) A person appointed as a Judge in accordance with law, must possess the educational qualifications, experience and recognized competence necessary to discharge the duties and responsibilities of a Judge, and must be of high moral character.
(b) In addition to the qualifications specified in article (a), a Judge shall possess the following qualifications:
i. be a Muslim and a follower of a Sunni school of Islam;
ii. be twenty-five years of age;
iii. has not been convicted of an offense for which a hadd is prescribed in Islam, criminal breach of trust, or bribery;
iv. be of sound mind.
(c) A person appointed to be a Judge of the Supreme Court, shall be at least thirty years of age; possess at least seven years experience as a Judge or practicing lawyer or both as a Judge and a practicing lawyer, and must be educated in Islamic Shari�ah or law.
(d) The People�s Majlis shall pass a statute relating to Judges.


Article 274: Definitions

(a) In this Constitution, unless the context otherwise requires, the following words and phrases shall have the following meanings:
��tenet of Islam� means, the Holy Qur�an and those principles of Shari�ah whose provenance is not in dispute from among those found in the Sunna of the Noble Prophet, and those principles derived from these two foundations;
�Islamic Shari�ah� means, the Holy Qur�an and the ways preferred by the learned people within the community and followers of the Sunnah in relation to criminal, civil, personal and other matters found in the Sunna;


Schedule 1: Oaths of Office

1. Oath of Office of President

I, �(name of person)�, do swear in the name of Almighty Allah that I will respect the religion of Islam, that I will uphold the Constitution of the Republic of Maldives and the fundamental rights of the Maldivian citizens, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Republic of Maldives, and will discharge the duties and responsibilities of the office of President honestly and faithfully in accordance with the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Maldives.


2. Oath of Office of Vice President

I, �(name of person)�, do swear in the name of Almighty Allah that I will respect the religion of Islam, that I will uphold the Constitution of the Republic of Maldives and the fundamental rights of the Maldivian citizens, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Republic of Maldives, and will discharge the duties and responsibilities of the office of Vice President honestly and faithfully in accordance with the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Maldives.


3. Oath of Office of Members of the Cabinet

I, �(name of person)�, do swear in the name of Almighty Allah that I will respect the religion of Islam, that I will uphold the Constitution of the Republic of Maldives and the fundamental rights of the Maldivian citizens, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Republic of Maldives, and will discharge the duties and responsibilities entrusted to me by the President and my duties and responsibilities as Cabinet Minister/ Attorney General honestly and faithfully in accordance with the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Maldives.


4. Oath of Office of Members of the People�s Majlis

I, �(name of person)�, do swear in the name of Almighty Allah that I will respect the religion of Islam, that I will uphold the Constitution of the Republic of Maldives and the fundamental rights of the Maldivian citizens, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Republic of Maldives, and will discharge my duties and responsibilities as a member of the People�s Majlis honestly and faithfully in accordance with the Constitution and the laws of the Republic of Maldives.


5. Oath of Office of Chief Justice and Judges

I, �(name of person)�, do swear in the name of Almighty Allah that I will respect the religion of Islam, that I will uphold the Constitution and the laws of the Republic of Maldives, that I will uphold the fundamental rights of the Maldivian citizens and will discharge the duties and responsibilities of Chief Justice/Judge honestly and faithfully in accordance with the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Maldives.


6. Oath of Office of Members of Independent Commissions and Independent Offices

I, �(name of person)�, do swear in the name of Almighty Allah that I will respect the religion of Islam, that I will uphold the Constitution of the Republic of Maldives, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Maldives, that I will uphold the fundamental rights of the Maldivian citizens and will discharge the duties and responsibilities of Auditor General/Prosecutor General/membership of the Elections Commission/membership of the Judicial Service Commission/membership of the Human Rights Commission/membership of the Civil Service Commission/membership of the Anti-Corruption Commission honestly and faithfully in accordance with the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Maldives.

Sources

1.  Data under the "Features of Constitution" heading are drawn from coding of the U.S. State Department's 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports conducted by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the International Religious Freedom reports. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

2.  The constitutional excerpts shown above are reproduced from the websites given in the "Source" field; the links to these websites were active as of May 2011. Where the constitutional text shown on these websites was provided in a language other than English, this text was translated to English by ARDA staff with assistance from web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish. Constitutional text was converted to American English where applicable. Constitutional clauses were judged to contain religious content based largely on the standards used in the construction of the Religion and State Constitutions Dataset collected by Jonathan Fox. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to highlight religious content in articles that also contain content that does not pertain to matters of religion. The data on this page were correct to the best of the knowledge of the ARDA as of the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at arda@pop.psu.edu if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.