Manama: Judges in Saudi Arabia who refuse to acknowledge identity cards presented by women could be sacked as part of disciplinary action by the justice ministry.
The warning by the ministry was issued after several women complained that some judges refused to recognize their national ID cards and insisted on the presence of an identifier, a male relative to identify them.
The negative attitude clashes with directives issued last week by the Supreme Judicial Council to all judges and notaries to accept the national ID presented by women as an official identification document without requiring the presence of the “identifier”, local daily Al Watan reported on Monday.
The decision aimed to assist women with the legal process and to ease the backlog of cases involving women who did not bring “identifiers” to the court to identify them.
However, and days after the directives were issued, some judges have reportedly refused to comply with them and insist on the identification of women by male family members.
The ministry said that judges and notaries had no choice but to implement the directives and to accept the ID cards presented by women.
It added that it would take disciplinary action against anyone who failed to comply with the directives and that it would ensure that inspection teams monitored the situation closely.
“Judges must not refuse to implement the directives,” Shaikh Abdul Rahman Al Ojairi, a court of appeals judge in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, said. “Otherwise, they will face disciplinary action. Judges can for instance set up a special section by women and for women where those who cover their faces can lift the veil for identification purposes,” he said, quoted by the daily.
He added that disciplinary action against judges or notaries who refuse to comply with the ID directives could be transfer to another area, warnings or dismissal.