High Court Overturns Ruling Against PSM in MVR 78 Million Case, Orders Retrial

The High Court has quashed a previous verdict that ordered state broadcaster Public Service Media (PSM) to pay MVR 78 million to Business Image Group (BIG). The court also directed that the case be retried, including a thorough assessment of PSM’s role.


The dispute stems from a 2016 Civil Court judgment against the now-defunct Maldives National Broadcasting Corporation (MNBC). The court had ordered MNBC to pay MVR 78 million to BIG in relation to a 2010 agreement. This ruling was issued without MNBC’s participation.

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PSM subsequently settled MVR 30 million of MNBC’s debt but appealed the case to the High Court in 2021. The appeal was filed after the usual appeals deadline had passed.

In a majority decision, the High Court bench determined that the Civil Court case should be reopened with PSM’s inclusion. This is due to the transfer of MNBC’s assets and liabilities to PSM. However, the High Court clarified that it cannot rule on the payment amount or other issues related to the agreement at this stage.

The previous judgment has been nullified, necessitating a retrial. Justices Huzaifa Mohamed and Hassan Shafeeu supported the decision.

Dissenting Opinion

Justice Mohamed Niyaz offered a dissenting opinion, asserting that PSM should not be liable for the debt. He reasoned that BIG’s agreement was not transferred to MBC (which succeeded MNBC) and subsequently to PSM. Niyaz argued that the debt payment responsibility remained with MNBC while it was being dissolved. He further stated that PSM should not be obligated to pay and should recover the funds it had previously paid.

The complex legal battle highlights the intricacies of liabilities and responsibilities in situations where state-owned entities undergo structural changes. The outcome of the retrial will have significant implications for PSM and potentially set a precedent for similar cases in the future.

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