Achimota School Board to appeal court ruling
The Governing Board of the Achimota School has directed its lawyers to appeal the ruling of the Human Right Division of the Accra High Court for the School to admit two Rastafarian students.
A letter from the Board signed by the Board Chairman said they had learned of the outcome of the case brought against it by two persons, who had earlier applied to be admitted to the School.
The Board said it disagreed with the ruling of the Court and called for an appeal.
The Human Rights Court Division of the Accra High Court in its ruling ordered Management of Achimota School to admit Master Oheneba Nkrabea and Tyrone Marhguy, the two Rastafarian students initially denied admission into the School.
The Court Presided over by Justice Gifty Adjei Addo said 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 the rules must be in conformity with the rules of the Ghana Education Service and the 1992 Constitution.
“To maintain that a person must cut their dreadlocks, which is the manifestation of their religion before they are admitted into the school, sins against the 1992 Constitution,” the Judge said.
Justice Addo said she rejected the argument of the respondents that upholding the reliefs of the applicant would discriminate against other students, who went by the rules of the School.
She said the fundamental human rights were not absolute and could be limited by statutes and policies but that must be juxtaposed with the public interest as in the current case.
The Judge said the ultimate aim of the rules was to enhance discipline and academic excellence and asked 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 said.
The Court said 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.”
She said ordering the applicant to cut his dreadlocks which was the manifestation of his religion and culture discriminated against his fundamental human rights and that would not be countenanced by the Court.
The Judge said 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 violated his right to education.
She said the order directed the applicants to step aside during the registration exercise because their dreadlocks was a breach of their dignity and no rightful basis was provided by the School to interfere with the religious rights of the applicants.
The School was, therefore, ordered to admit the applicants to continue their education in the School and the order directing the applicants to cut their dreadlocks which was a manifestation of their religious right was set aside.
No order as to any compensation was made due to the future relationship between the applicants and the School.