Manama: Saudi Arabia could soon appoint women as judges if a recommendation by Shura Council members successfully goes through the process.
The 150-member council is currently in summer recess, but will in four weeks look into the recommendation “to empower competent Saudi women who are legally and religiously qualified to hold judging positions”, Saudi daily Okaz reported on Monday.
The recommendation, presented by Members Faysal Al Fadhel, Lateefa Al Shaalan and Atta Al Subaiti within the Islamic Affairs and Judicial Committee, calls upon the justice ministry to help with the appointment of women as judges.
The rationale for their recommendation included the availability of legally competent Saudi women with full merit for judicial functions, a shortage of judges and vacant judicial positions, the members said.
Not appointing women in the judiciary is incompatible with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 which calls for empowering women and investing in their potential and aptitudes, they added.
Women have been recently allowed to work as investigators at the Public Prosecution Office, they added.
The recommendation included scholarly references arguing that there were no religious texts that barred women from becoming judges as well as references to other Arab and Islamic countries that had appointed women as judges.
Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Sudan had women judges since the 1960s while Jordan appointed its first woman judge in 1996, Egypt in 2003 and Bahrain in 2006, they said.
The Saudi judiciary system does not specify gender in the requirements to be appointed judge.
The Shura Council comprises 30 women.