CHANDIGARH: Palbinder Kaur Shergill is the first turbaned (amritdhari) Sikh woman to be appointed judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in New Westminster.
Jody Wilson-Raybould, minister of justice and attorney general of Canada, announced the appointment on Friday under the new judicial application process announced on October 20, 2016. The appointment was made with immediate effect as Justice Shergill replaces Justice EA Arnold-Bailey, who retired on May 31.
A human rights advocate, Justice Shergill represented the interests of the Canadian Sikh community in several cases heard by the Supreme Court of Canada, including the one dealing with the right of Sikh students to wear the kirpan (ceremonial dagger) in schools.
Welcoming the decision, World Sikh Organisation president Mukhbir Singh said, “The appointment of Justice Shergill is another milestone for the Sikh community in Canada. It is a matter of great pride that today we have the first turbaned Sikh appointed to the judiciary in Canada.”
She was born at Rurka Kalan in Jalandhar district and married into a family from Jagatpur village in neighbouring Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar (Nawanshahr). She immigrated to Canada with her family at the age of four. She grew up in Williams Lake, BC, and received her law degree from the University of Saskatchewan.
Justice Shergill was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2012 and is a recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for Community Service.
SBS NAGAR : With national television (TV) channels flashing the news of Palbinder Kaur Shergill, 48, becoming the first turbaned (amritdhari) Sikh woman judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in New Westminster, Canada, local residents and scribes have started making a beeline for the native Jagatpur village of Palbinder Kaur here.
“My brother Amritpal Singh Shergill, 52, called me up in the morning to share this proud moment with me. The situation is like a fair in my house since morning. As our relatives and villagers are coming to greet us after they got to know that my
bhabi (sister-in-law) Palbinder has become a judge in Canada,” Gurpreet Pal Singh, brother-inlaw of Shergill, said. He said that they have a joint family and the family stays in the house whenever they visit the village. She had visited the village in February last year with the family.
“Shergill has brought laurels to the village. I hope her elevation as a Canadian judge will help strengthen Punjabis, especially Sikhs, on foreign shores,” Gurpreet, a farmer, said.
The family distributed sweets to celebrate her feat. “We will organise an ‘akhand path’ in village gurdwaras on Sunday to thank ‘Waheguru’ for fulfilling her dream and making the family proud,” said her aunt Joginder Kaur, 62.
A human rights advocate, Palbinder, was born at Rurka Kalan in Jalandhar district and was married in a family of Jagatpur village in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar (Nawanshahr).
She immigrated to Canada with her family at the age of four and grew up in Williams Lake, BC, and did her law degree from the University of Saskatchewan.
Her husband Amritpal went to Canada 40 years ago.