The Board of Governor’s of the Achimota Senior High School and the Attorney General’s Department have appealed against the admission of the two rasta students.
They filed the appeal today to challenge the Human Rights High Court’s order.
The court had ordered the school to admit the two students who were previously denied admission because of their dreadlocks.
In its appeal, the Achimota School said among other things that the court erred by saying the rules of the Achimota School with regard to ensuring uniformity in appearance is unlawful and interferes with the manifestation of one’s religious rights.
As reported by African Entertainment in June 2021, the Achimota School board had indicated that it will file an appeal against the order by the Accra High Court for the school to admit two rastafarian students.
It made its intention known in a statement, a day after the ruling.
What did the court say?
In what can best be described as a landmark ruling, the Achimota School was directed to admit the two rastafarian students.
The Accra High Court in its ruling on Monday, May 31, 2021, ordered the School to admit Tyrone Marhguy, a dreadlock wearing student.
The Court further ordered the Achimota School to also admit Oheneba Nkrabea, another Rastafarian student into the school.
The two students went to court after the school denied them admission on March 19, 2021 because of their dreadlocks.
In its ruling, the Court presided over by Justice Gifty Adjei Addo observed that the respondents did not dispute the fact that the rules of the school were made by the Board of Governors of the school but the implementation of these rules must be in conformity with the rules of the Ghana Education Service and the 1992 Constitution.
She quizzed: what had the wearing of dreadlocks, which was the manifestation of one’s religious rights, got to do with upholding discipline in the school?
“To maintain that a person must cut his or her dreadlocks, which is the manifestation of his or her religion, before being admitted into the school, sins against the 1992 Constitution,” according to the judge.
The judge explained that she rejected the argument of the respondents that upholding the beliefs of the applicant would discriminate against other students who abide by the rules of the school.
According to her, the fundamental human rights were not absolute and could be limited by statutes and policies but “this must be juxtaposed with the public interest as in this current case and what reasonable justification has been put before this court in the implementation of the school rules to convince the court to rule in favour of the respondents?”
She indicated that the ultimate aim of the rule was to enhance discipline and academic excellence but what would be the effect on the school community if the applicant was allowed to keep his dreadlocks?
“How keeping low hair enhances hygiene in the school has not been impressed on this Court and how the applicant keeping his dreadlocks will affect his health and the health of other students has also not been impressed on the court,” she added.
She further ruled that the ultimate aim of the rules of the School was omnibus and “I am unable to see the disadvantage to the School community in allowing the applicant to keep his dreadlocks.”
According to her, ordering the applicant to cut his dreadlocks which was the manifestation of his religion which was Rastafarianism and his culture discriminates against his fundamental human rights and this would not be countenanced by this Court.
The failure and refusal by the School to admit the applicant because of his dreadlocks which was the manifestation of his religion was a violation of his fundamental human right and also violates his right to education.
She added the order directed at the applicants to step aside during the registration exercise because of their dreadlocks was breach of their dignity and no rightful basis had been provided by the school to interfere with the religious rights of the applicant.
The School was ordered to admit the applicant to continue their education in the School and the order directing the applicant to cut their dreadlocks which was a manifestation of their religious right was set aside.
No order was made for any compensation due to the future relationship between the applicant and the school.
Master Marhguy sought the Court to declare that the failure and or refusal of the school to admit or enroll the applicant on the basis of his Rastafarian religious inclination, beliefs and culture characterised by his keeping of Rasta is a violation of his fundamental human rights and freedoms guaranteed under the 1992 Constitution, particularly Articles 12(1); 23; 21(1) (b) (c); 26(1)); and 17(2) and (3).
The Applicant wanted the Court to declare that the failure and or refusal of the school to admit or enroll him on the basis of his Rastafarian religious inclination, beliefs and culture characterised by his keeping of Rasta is a violation of his right to education guaranteed under Articles 25(1)(b), and 28(4) the 1992 Constitution.
He prayed the Court for a declaration that the order directed at him by the representative of Achimota School to step aside during the registration process on the basis of his religious belief characterised by the keeping of Rasta is a violation of his right to dignity guaranteed under Articles 15(1) and 35(4), (5) of the 1992 Constitution.
A declaration that there is no lawful basis for the school to interfere with the applicant’s right to education based on his Rasta through which he manifests or expresses his constitutionally guaranteed right to religion and to practice and manifest the same.
He also urged the court for an order directed at the school to immediately admit or enroll the applicant to continue with his education unhindered.
The applicant asked the court for an order directed at the respondents to jointly and severally compensate the applicant for the inconvenience, embarrassment, waste of time, and violation of his fundamental human rights and freedoms.
The post Achimota School, Attorney General Appeal Against Admission of Rastafarians appeared first on African Entertainment.
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