The Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), has charged public and private institutions in the country to revise their regulations and conditions of service so as to eliminate provisions that violate human rights.
Failure to do that, the Commission says it will not hesitate to take action against such organisations.
According to the Commissioner, Joseph Whittal, this has become necessary since most of the provisions contained in the various regulations of institutions, especially in the public sector, have become outdated, and not in tandem with human right protection regulations.
In an interview with ADR Daily in Accra, Mr. Whittal noted that most of the conditions of service and regulations were inherited from the colonial past and have outlived their usefulness.
Following the recent landmark case in which an Accra High Court upheld a suit by CHRAJ for the Ghana National Fire Service to reinstate two Firewomen who were dismissed for getting pregnant in the first three years of their employment as against the Service regulations, there are revelations of similar provisions in other public and private organisations.
In view of that, he Mr Whittal believes all such organisations must do the needful by reviewing their regulations and conditions of service.
He said the Commission would not hesitate to apply Section 7 of the CHRAJ Act 1993, Act 456, to seek remedy in court to invalidate regulations, condition or practices are inconsistent with the relevant Acts and the Constitution.
Section 7 (d) (iv) of the CHRAJ Act 1993, (Act 456), mandates the Commission “to restrain the enforcement of such legislation or regulation by challenging its validity if the offending action or conduct is sought to be justified by subordinate legislation or regulation which is unreasonable or otherwise ultra vires.”
Touching on the High Court ruling that invalidates Regulation 33 (6) of the GNFS Conditions of Service, which prohibits Fire Service women from getting pregnant within the first three years of their employment, Mr Whittal described the ruling as a landmark victory for the Commission and human right practice in the country.
“The judgment is not inter-party system. It’s not only for the two fire service ladies but it is a landmark ruling because it is the first time a judicial pronouncement on Article 17 tired to Article 12 is being made. Article 1(12) is for the judiciary, legislature, executive and all organs of the government, private sector or all other persons, who shall all respect the fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution. So chapter five is applicable to all to the extent that if there is a pronouncement on pregnancy in one institution, it affects all,” he stated.
Benjamin Nana Appiah/ www.adrdaily.com