Chandigarh: Amritdhati and Dumalawear Bibi Palbinder Kaur Shergill appointed the first sikh woman judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, a state in Canada.
She was on holiday in Italy when she got a call from the Canadian Ministry of Justice regarding her appointment as a judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, a state where Punjabis have a substantial presence.
The appointment was made with immediate effect as Justice Shergill replaces Justice EA Arnold-Bailey, who retired on May 31.
Regarded as a leading human rights advocate, she has been representing the World Sikh Organisation and other organisations without charging any fee.
Justice Shergill came to limelight about 15 years ago when she defended Gurbaj Singh Multani’s religious right to wear a kirpan in school. A Quebec school had prohibited Gurbaj from wearing the kirpan after it fell while playing in 2001. She contested this case right up to the Supreme Court of Canada and got the school order struck down. She also successfully argued in favour of a Jewish tenant who was stopped by the owner from worshipping.
Palbinder Kaur’s father Gian Singh Sandhu, a businessman of significant standing, and mother, a homemaker, in Surrey, near Vancouver, said Palbinder Kaur excelled in debating in school and that made her opt for the legal profession.
She lives in Surrey with her husband, daughter and twin sons. Shergill volunteers as a high school debate coach, plays the tabla and harmonium, and is kicking her way towards a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.