Upholding Justice: Judge S. Gill

“The Journey of an immigrant to the Judicial Bench”

Sikhism’s foundational tenets revolve around the core values of justice, equality, and righteousness. The Sikh teachings emphasize a judicial system that transcends biases or discriminatory practices. It advocates for a society where individuals uphold equality, honesty, and integrity in every facet of life, especially within the realms of judiciary and justice. The ideal judge is expected to embody impartiality, remaining free from personal or societal prejudices.

At the heart of Sikhism lies the pivotal concept of “Dharam Raj,” symbolizing the divine judge who presides over the evaluation of individuals based on their deeds and intentions. This belief is deeply rooted in the idea of accountability, where every action carries consequences. Sikh teachings do not conceive Dharam Raj as a separate deity but rather as a manifestation of universal justice and righteousness. Upon death, the soul undergoes a judgment process, with Dharam Raj assessing one’s lifetime actions and intentions.

This divine judgment is perceived as fair and unbiased, devoid of any partiality, and guided solely by the principles of righteousness embedded in Sikh teachings. Every soul is held responsible for its actions, and repercussions are meted out accordingly. Sikhism emphasizes leading a life of virtue and righteousness as the basis for judgment by Dharam Raj. This concept serves as a constant reminder for adherents to embrace the values of Sikhism, promoting justice, equality, compassion, and selfless service.

Dharam Raj stands as a cornerstone in Sikh beliefs, representing the faith’s commitment to divine justice and the individual’s accountability for their actions. It functions as a guiding light for Sikhs, encouraging them to live righteously and seek spiritual evolution.

Judge Gill’s narrative resonates deeply with these foundational principles of Sikhism. Her journey, beginning as a young interpreter navigating complexities at an early age and persisting through a 14-year legal battle to seek justice for her brother, embodies the spirit of resilience and determination. Her dedication to the legal profession stems from a passion to assist those facing similar struggles, reflecting her commitment to justice, untainted by any prior legal background.

Her alignment with Sikh values propelled her through academia, becoming the first in her family to pursue a law degree. Her subsequent roles as a legal advisor and, presently, her tenure in the Justice System, including the Social Entitlement Chamber (SEC), exemplify her unwavering dedication to ensuring fair and equitable treatment for vulnerable appellants.

Judge Gill’s journey not only echoes the principles of Sikhism but also exemplifies the transformative power of aligning personal values with professional endeavours, fostering an environment of justice, inclusivity, and equality.

After becoming the trailblazer in her family to pursue higher education, Judge Gill embarked on an illustrious academic journey, attaining a law degree followed by completing the Legal Practice Course. Her passion for the legal realm led her into the role of a legal advisor, a profession she wholeheartedly embraced for over two decades. Her dedication stemmed not only from her professional duties but from the profound impact she witnessed, observing the everyday struggles of individuals seeking justice before the court.

Judge Gill’s commitment extended beyond her advisory role as she ardently upheld the Rule of Law at grassroots levels. Her understanding of the law’s profound influence on individuals guided her path to assume quasi-judicial positions, such as the Criminal Case Review Commissioner and chair of the Police Misconduct panel for the Metropolitan Police. These roles primed her for her current position within the Social Entitlement Chamber (SEC), a platform where she assists vulnerable appellants navigating benefit entitlement issues, ensuring fair presentations of evidence. Notably, she proudly emphasises the humane approach she brings into her courtroom proceedings, a testament to her commitment to justice infused with compassion.

When questioned about the influence of Sikhi on her judicial path, Judge Gill eloquently expressed that the core principles of Sikhism—equality for all and fairness—were the driving forces behind her journey. This resonates deeply with her role at the SEC, where her primary aim is to assist vulnerable appellants, echoing Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s profound words on equality dating back to the 15th century.

In drawing parallels between Sikhism and the justice system, Judge Gill highlighted the resonance between the Sikh Mool Mantra and the judicial oath “without fear or favour, affection, or ill will, both emphasising fearlessness and impartiality, mirroring the Sikh tenet of “Nirbhaou Nirvair,” signifying fearlessness and absence of hate.

Judge Gill’s admiration for the tale of Bhai Kanhaiya Ji at Anandpur Sahib in 1704 epitomizes her reverence for Sikh Sakhi (Story of the Gurus). Bhai Kanhaiya Ji’s unwavering service to both Sikh and Mughal soldiers, devoid of any distinctions based on religion or caste, deeply influenced her understanding of the divine within each individual, resonating with Sikhism’s core principle of serving humanity without bias.


Her recounting of Sikh history, from Guru Nanak Dev Ji to Guru Gobind Singh Ji, underlines the Sikh commitment to equality across religious, gender, and caste divides. These teachings, rooted in the belief of oneness and kindness, epitomise Guru Nanak’s vision of a unified humanity.

Judge Gill’s journey embodies not only the spirit of perseverance but also mirrors the alignment of her professional path with the profound principles of Sikhism, promoting justice, equality, and unity within the legal framework.

Judge Gill’s conviction in Sikh teachings echoes Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s timeless assertion that we are all part of the same human race. To her, discrimination arises from superficial constructs like colour or ethnicity, aspects that obscure our shared humanity. In her judicial role, Judge Gill is committed to ensuring that justice is accessible to everyone, irrespective of their beliefs, religion, sexual orientation, or financial status. Her mission centres on empowering witnesses and defendants who are often silenced, giving them a voice to fully articulate their evidence and stories. This resonates deeply with the principles of equality enshrined within Sikhi that she actively embodies in her daily life.

As a presiding authority in the SEC, Judge Gill orchestrates environments empowering vulnerable appellants to find equitable ground. Her responsibility does not end with overseeing proceedings; she meticulously crafts a level playing field by making necessary accommodations for appellants. Her Sikh teachings, particularly the virtues of humility and patience, form the bedrock of her approach. Understanding the diverse perspectives and patiently navigating through varied understandings of appellants, she maintains an open mind, gently guiding them in expressing their narratives.

Sikhi’s profound influence on Judge Gill’s career trajectory is undeniable. Her journey, marked by perseverance and dedication, stands as a testament to the values she holds dear. Her ascent through the ranks hasn’t been devoid of challenges, yet her determination remains unyielding. She sees herself as a beacon of inspiration for aspiring legal professionals, especially those aiming to occupy esteemed positions in the judiciary.