First woman judge of SC, former Tamil Nadu Governor Justice Fathima Beevi dead

03:23 PM Nov 23, 2023 | PTI |

Justice Fathima Beevi, the first woman judge of the Supreme Court and former Governor of Tamil Nadu, died at a private hospital here on Thursday, 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 around 12.15 pm, an official source said.

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

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, adding that as a tribute to her, she has been chosen for the Kerala Prabha Award.

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

The minister said that Justice Beevi made a mark as the first woman judge of the Supreme Court and as the Tamil Nadu Governor.

”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,” George said in a statement.

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 from there 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.


Udayavani is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest news.