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General News of Saturday, 5 June 2021


Achimota-Rasta Saga: Attorney General's floodgate argument is flawed - Prof Azar

Professor Kwaku Azar, United States-based Ghanaian renowned legal luminary Professor Kwaku Azar, United States-based Ghanaian renowned legal luminary

•Prof. Azar has downplayed claims that the court ruling will open the floodgate for other lifestyles to be seen in schools

•However, he believes the judgement is a pleasant decision

•He is dissatisfied that the court did not compensation to Rasta boys

A private legal practitioner and professor of accounting, Professor Kwaku Azar has said claims that the court ordering Achimota School to admit Rastafarian students are flawed.

Attorney General and Minister for Justice Godfred Yeboah Dame opined that the High Court which ordered Achimota School to enrol the two Rastafarian students “has far-reaching implications”.

He explained that “the long-standing rules and regulations enforced by [the] schools in the country may have to be reformed; it may open the floodgate to the acceptance of various lifestyles by schools".

However, speaking on Joy News' Newsfile programme, Prof Azar said the flood gate-opening argument advanced is misleading.

" I want to address the issue of opening the floodgate. I mean this is nothing new. It is what I call a staple tool that people who are for the status quo invoke anytime there is a landmark civil ruling. It is just a red herring. We are not the first country that the court has held that p[eole cannot be denied their rights to education based on their religion or grooming".

He added that the cross-section of the public who believe the court ruling has far-reaching implications do not under the judgement.

"The judge is not saying Achimota cannot have rules, in fact, the judge is saying that the school needs rules because Achimota and other public schools need an orderly learning environment so they can make rules. However, the judge is saying that the rules that they make collide with fundamental human rights and when that happens there needs to be a balance".

Prof. Azar also indicated that the school failed to argue on tangential rather than substance.

"Achimota could not give a convincing argument to defend their issue. they kept arguing along the lines of discipline, hygiene. How does the style of your hair bring about indiscipline or affect learning negatively?"

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

The court 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.

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