• Saturday, March 02, 2024


India’s first woman Supreme Court judge dies

She became the first woman judge in the Supreme Court of India in 1989

Justice Fathima Beevi

By: Pramod Thomas

THE first woman judge of the Supreme Court and former governor of Tamil Nadu state, Justice Fathima Beevi, died at a private hospital in Kerala on Thursday (23), official sources said. She was 96.

Justice Beevi was admitted to the private hospital a few days ago due to age-related ailments and breathed her last on Thursday afternoon.

“Her body is being brought back to her residence in Pathanamthitta. Her burial will be held on Friday (24) at the Pathanamthitta Juma Masjid,” the source said.

Justice Beevi, who was born in April 1927 in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district, completed her schooling at the Catholicate High School there and then acquired a BSc degree from University College in Thiruvananthapuram.

Subsequently, she obtained a law degree from Law College in Thiruvananthapuram and enrolled as an advocate in 1950.

She was, thereafter, appointed as Munsiff in the Kerala Subordinate Judicial Services in 1958, promoted to Subordinate Judge in 1968, and became Chief Judicial Magistrate in 1972.

Justice Beevi went on to become a District and Sessions Judge in 1974 and was appointed as the Judicial Member of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal in 1980.

She was elevated to the Kerala High Court in 1983 and became a permanent judge there the very next year.

She went on to become the first woman judge in the Supreme Court of India in 1989 and retired in 1992.

After her retirement, she served as a member of the National Human Rights Commission before becoming the governor of Tamil Nadu in 1997.

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan expressed condolences over the death of Justice Beevi, and recalled her journey from overcoming the educational challenges that girls face to becoming the first woman judge of the Supreme Court — having started her legal career as a munsiff.

He further said that Justice Beevi was the first woman from the Muslim community to be a part of the higher judiciary, as she was able to overcome the negative aspects of social situations by seeing them as challenges.

Her life is an inspiration to everyone, especially women, the chief minister said.

State health minister Veena George expressed condolences, saying that the news of the demise of Justice Beevi was extremely painful.

“She was a brave woman who had many records to her name. She was a personality who, through her own life, showed that willpower and a sense of purpose can overcome any adversity,” she said in a statement.


Eastern Eye

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