By Landing Ceesay
The veil case, which was before Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the High Court of the Gambia, suffered another setback when the court adjourned the case to November 1, 2023, for continuation.
The case was scheduled to continue today after it was adjourned because of a motion filed by Counsel Borry S. Touray to amend the originating summons filed by the applicants.
In today’s hearing, Borry S. Touray, counsel for the plaintiff, informed the court that he had served the amended version of the originating summons on the counsel for the defendants.
However, Rachel Y. Mendy, counsel for ST. Therese’s Upper Basic School (2nd respondent) and ST. Peters Senior Secondary School (5th respondent) said she needed more time to respond to the amended summons.
Mendy told the court that she had been served with the summons on Friday at noon and that she was within the required time to reply. The counsel for the other respondents agreed with Mendy’s submission.
Counsel A. Mendy, representing Grace Bilingual School, informed the court that he had filed an affidavit in opposition to the originating summons and served all other counsel in the case.
Counsel Borry S. Touray, representing the plaintiffs, said that he had not been served with the affidavit. Mendy promised to serve him with a copy.
Counsel Borry S. Touray expressed regret to the court for the late filing of the amended version of the originating summons, as all the service fees had been paid.
Justice Jaiteh then asked the respondents whether they would oppose the motion. All the counsel representing the respondents indicated that they would be opposing the motion.
Justice Jaiteh informed the court that, since the respondents would be opposing the amended version of the originating summons, he would adjourn the case for the respondents to file their affidavit in opposition.
“Due to the late filing of the motion and while the defendants are within the 48-hour requirement,” the case is hereby adjourned to November 1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th, 22nd, and 23rd,” Justice Jaiteh adjourned.
In May 2023, students, a civil society organization, and other groups filed a civil suit against five schools, the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE), and the Attorney General.
The suit alleges that the schools forced students to remove their veils, causing them emotional distress and embarrassment. The schools named in the suit are Gambia Senior Secondary School, Reverend JC Faye Memorial School, St. Therese’s Upper Basic School, St. Peter’s Senior Secondary School, and Grace Bilingual School.