T&T fe­male cops win the right to wear hi­jab on duty

Stabroek News - - REGIONAL NEWS -

(Trinidad Ex­press) The court has ruled in favour of a hi­jab-wear­ing po­lice of­fi­cer, declar­ing that her right to free­dom of con­science and re­li­gious be­lief and ob­ser­vance has been in­fringed by the de­nial of the re­quest to wear a hi­jab and/or the pro­hi­bi­tion against wear­ing a hi­jab to­gether with her uni­form whilst on duty as an of­fi­cer.

Yes­ter­day, Jus­tice Mar­garet Mo­hammed, de­liv­ered judge­ment, de­clared that the Po­lice Ser­vice Reg­u­la­tions, 2007 was un­con­sti­tu­tional, in­valid, null and void to the ex­tent that it makes no pro­vi­sion for the wear­ing of the hi­jab.

The judge or­dered that dam­ages to be as­sessed, and that the de­fen­dant pay the Spe­cial Re­serve Po­lice of­fi­cer Sharon Roop’s le­gal costs.

Roop had brought le­gal ac­tion against the Of­fice of the At­tor­ney Gen­eral, con­tend­ing that her con­sti­tu­tional right of free­dom of con­science, re­li­gious be­lief and ob­ser­vance had been breached since she is not per­mit­ted to wear the hi­jab with her uni­form whilst at work.

Some­time in 2015 she wrote to the Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice re­quest­ing per­mis­sion to wear the hi­jab with her uni­form whilst on duty since it was part of her re­li­gious ob­ser­va­tion as a Mus­lim woman. In that same Me­moran­dum she noted that she was not the only in­di­vid­ual who was seek­ing per­mis­sion for the abil­ity to ob­serve her faith whilst ex­e­cut­ing her pro­fes­sional du­ties. She also enclosed a num­ber of pictorial de­pic­tions of the man­ner in which the hi­jab could be worn with her uni­form and pro­vided re­search ma­te­rial on the wear­ing of the hi­jab by Mus­lim women in law en­force­ment in sev­eral non-Mus­lim coun­tries.

The Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice did not re­spond to her Me­moran­dum. More than two and a half years af­ter not re­ceiv­ing a re­sponse to that Me­moran­dum, the Claimant sought le­gal ad­vice.

A pre-ac­tion let­ter dated 9th July 2017 was sent by the Claimant’s at­tor­ney at law to the Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice, the Min­is­ter of Na­tional Se­cu­rity and the So­lic­i­tor Gen­eral, the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the At­tor­ney Gen­eral, in whose name pro­ceed­ings against the State are to be brought. The pre-ac­tion cor­re­spon­dence high­lighted the par­tic­u­lar sec­tion of the Po­lice Ser­vice Reg­u­la­tions 2007 (“the Reg­u­la­tions”), which pre­vents the Claimant from wear­ing the hi­jab, and called upon the Com­mis­sioner and/or Min­is­ter to take the nec­es­sary steps to amend the Reg­u­la­tions.

On 22nd June 2017, State Coun­sel re­sponded on be­half of the Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary of the Min­istry of Na­tional Se­cu­rity, in­di­cat­ing that the mat­ter had been “for­mally redi­rected to the Trinidad and Tobago Po­lice Ser­vice, who has purview over mat­ters of this na­ture”.

By way of let­ter dated 31st July 2017, a Le­gal Of­fi­cer of the TTPS, Ag In­spec­tor Kazim Ali, re­sponded to the pre-ac­tion let­ter in the fol­low­ing terms:

“Be in­formed the Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice has given care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion to your client’s re­quest, how­ever, I regret to in­form you that the law has not changed, the dress or­der for fe­male of­fi­cers (sec­ond divi­sion) is out­lined un­der Reg­u­la­tion 121 and Sched­ule D of the Po­lice Ser­vice Act Chap­ter 15:01.

There­fore, un­til there is a change in the leg­is­la­tion, the Trinidad and Tobago Po­lice Ser­vice can­not ac­cede to your re­quest”.

As a re­sult, Roop took le­gal ac­tion through her at­tor­neys Anand Ram­lo­gan SC, Ger­ald Ramdeen, and Chelsea Ste­wart in­structed by Robert Ab­doolMitchell.

The State was de­fended by Tinuke Gib­bons-Glenn, Ste­fan Jaikaran and Candice Alexan­der in­structed by Svet­lana Dass.

Source: Face­book

Sharon Roop:

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Guyana

© PressReader. All rights reserved.