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Rastafarian students win case against Acheimota SHS; School Ordered to Admit Rasta Students

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The Human Rights Division of the Accra High Court has ordered Achimota Senior High School to admit the Rastafarian students, Tyron Iras Marhguy and Oheneba Nkrabea, who were denied admission by the school because of their dreadlocks.

In a ruling Monday afternoon, the Human Rights Court One, presided over by Justice Gifty Adjei Addo, held that failure to admit the two students because of their dreadlocks, which is a manifestation of their religious right is a violation of their human rights, right to education and dignity.

The court, in separate judgments ordered Achimota School to admit the students to continue their education.

Ahead of the judgement, the court clerk instructed journalists to leave the courtroom with the exception of only parties to the case.

The court premises, was fully packed with Rastafarians who are sympathisers to Marhguy.

Suit

Marhguy, filed the suit through his father at the Human Right Division of the Accra High Court on March 31 this year to seek the enforcement and declaration of his right to education.

The suit has the board of governors of the Achimota School and the Attorney-General as first and second respondents respectively.

The Attorney General had argued previously in court that the applicant had no cause of action because nothing within the scope of his right to education and religion had been infringed upon.

Counsel for the Board of Governors of the Achimota School, Mr Kwesi Fynn also argued that the curtailment of the right of the Rastafarian students through the school’s rules was provided under Article 14 clause one of the constitution of Ghana.

However, counsel for Marhguy, Mr James Gawuga Nkrumah, insisted that the right of his client had been infringed.

Admission

The issue of refusal of admission to master Tyron Iras Marhguy by the headmistress of the school became the talk of the town months ago, with the Ghana Education Service, civil society organisations, NGOs and individuals offering divergent opinions about the matter.

The applicant, through the civil action was asking the court to declare that the failure and or refusal of the school to admit or enrol 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).

Master Marhguy wanted the court to declare that the failure and or refusal of the school to admit or enrol 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),m 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 same.

He further urged the court for an order directed at the school to immediately admit or enrol the applicant to continue with his education unhindered.

Compensation

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.

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