Justice Fathima Beevi

Justice Fathima Beevi

News: Justice Fathima Beevi, whose appointment in 1987 as the first woman judge of the Supreme Court inspired women across the country to pursue law as a profession, died at a private hospital in Kerala’s Kollam, she was 96.

Who was Justice Fathima Beevi?
• Justice M. Fathima Beevi (30 April 1927 – 23 November 2023) was an Indian judge who was a justice of the Supreme Court of India. Appointed to the apex Court in 1989, she became the first female judge to be a part of the Supreme Court of India, and the first Muslim
woman to be appointed to any of the higher judiciaries in the country.
• On her retirement from the court, she served as a member of the National Human Rights Commission and later as the Governor of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu from 1997 to 2001.
• In 2023, she was honoured with Kerala Prabha Award, the second-highest honour given by the Government of Kerala.

Her life and career offer several important lessons
• Breaking Barriers: As the first female judge of the Supreme Court of India and the first Muslim woman to be appointed to any of the higher judiciaries in the country, she broke significant barriers and paved the way for future generations of women in the judiciary.
• Pursuit of Justice: Throughout her career, she emphasized the fundamental rule of the Indian constitutional system that protects every citizen against arbitrary exercise of authority by the state or its officers.
• Commitment to Equality: Justice Fathima Beevi’s journey from humble beginnings to the highest echelons of the Indian judiciary is a testament to the indomitable spirit of women and the power of equality.
• Advocacy for Women’s Rights: She was an influential exponent of women’s rights and wanted to abolish the roots of patriarchy from society. She believed that women should join the legal profession to reduce gender disparity in our society.

Her role as Governor:
• She handled the mercy pleas of those convicted in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. She commuted the death sentence given to Nalini on the grounds that she was a woman who had a daughter. She rejected the clemency petitions of the other three accused.

• Her groundbreaking contributions to women’s rights and her relentless pursuit of justice have left an indelible mark on India’s legal landscape. 

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