Supreme Court won’t hear appeal from Quebec judge over hijab disciplinary probe


OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada says it won’t hear the case of a Quebec judge who tried to oblige a woman to remove her hijab in court and was subsequently reported to the provincial judicial council.

Quebec court Judge Eliana Marengo had sought to challenge the legitimacy of the probe by the body that oversees the conduct of provincially appointed judges. She said the council’s inquiry breached the principle of judicial independence.

The high court announced today it would not hear her appeal. As is customary, it did not give reasons why.

Marengo had sought to have the council’s investigation stopped, but her applications for judicial review before Quebec Superior Court — and an appeal of that decision at the Quebec Court of Appeal — were rejected.

The incident stems from a 2015 courtroom incident involving Rania El-Alloul, a Montreal woman who was told by Marengo to remove her hijab if she wanted a case involving her impounded car to proceed. El-Alloul refused, and her case was adjourned.

The judge’s comments triggered numerous complaints to the judicial council, which decided 28 of them were founded. It formed a committee to investigate Marengo’s conduct in June 2016.

In October, Quebec’s Court of Appeal ruled in a separate case that obliging El-Alloul to remove her Muslim head scarf was a violation of her fundamental rights.

The Canadian Press