The Maldives' Supreme Court late Tuesday revoked its order to release nine political dissidents, including self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed.
Amid the ongoing political crisis in the island nation, the Supreme Court on February 1 ordered the immediate release of the nine political leaders and also prohibited the judicial watchdog from probing any case against the top court bench.
The latest development has taken place after President Abdulla Yameen declared a 15-day state of emergency in the country on Monday, giving sweeping powers to security forces in the country, which is reeling under political turmoil under the present dispensation.
Under the emergency state, the constitutional rights have been suspended and this has effectively quashed any moves by the opposition to impeach him while also stripping the Supreme Court of any authority.
In the few hours since the emergency state was declared, police have made a series of high profile arrests including former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, two top court judges, including the chief justice and the chief judicial administrator.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday expressed serious concern about the situation in Maldives and urged the government to uphold the rule of law in the island nation.
Guterres's statement comes after President Abdulla Yameen ordered a state of emergency in the country and gave sweeping powers to the law enforcement agencies and the military.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said, "The Secretary-General urges the Government of the Maldives to uphold the constitution and rule of law, lift the state of emergency as soon as possible, and take all measures to ensure the safety and security of the people in the country, including members of the judiciary."
Earlier in the day, according to media reports, the security forces arrested the top judge after the declaration of the state of emergency.
Former President of Maldives Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed and Judicial administrator Hassan Saeed were arrested by security forces, just hours after President Yameen declared a state of emergency in the country on Monday.
Yameen, who has been defying Supreme Court's orders, directing him to release former president Mohamed Nasheed, and free eight other political opponents from prison, has given sweeping powers to security forces in the country, which is facing widespread protests against the president.
The opposition and general public have been unrelentingly asking President Yameen to step down and allow a new leadership to take charge.
India was disturbed by the declaration of the state of emergency in the Maldives, following Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen's refusal to abide by the Supreme Court's ruling, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Tuesday.
"We are disturbed by the declaration of a State of Emergency in #Maldives following the refusal of the Govt to abide by the unanimous ruling of the full bench of the Supreme Court on 1 Feb, and also by the suspension of Constitutional rights of the people of Maldives," the MEA said in a statement.
"The arrest of the Supreme Court Chief Justice and political figures are also reasons for concern. The government continues to carefully monitor the situation," it added.
Last week, the Maldivian Supreme Court acquitted former Nasheed, former Maldivian Vice President Ahmed Adeeb and ordered the reinstatement of the 12 other parliamentary members.
The Maldives has been in a state of turmoil since 2015 when Nasheed, the first democratically elected president of the country, was arrested on "terrorism" charges, relating to the arrest of a judge during his tenure.
The arrest had led to widespread protests across the country and resulted in the arrest of hundreds of dissidents. The apex court had sentenced Nasheed to 13 years in prison.
In 2016, Nasheed sought political asylum in the United Kingdom (UK) after travelling there on medical leave from prison.
Ten years ago, the Maldives became a multiparty democracy, after three decades of autocratic rule of former strongman and Yameen's half-brother Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.