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HomeIndiaWho was Fathima Beevi, India’s first female Supreme Court judge?

Who was Fathima Beevi, India’s first female Supreme Court judge?

India’s first girl decide of the Supreme Court docket, M Fathima Beevi, has handed away. Wikimedia Commons File Photograph

India has misplaced its first feminine decide of the Supreme Court docket. Justice M Fathima Beevi handed away at a personal hospital in Kerala’s Kollam on Thursday (23 November) on the age of 96.

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan expressed grief at her demise and remembered how her life was an “unforgettable symbol in the history of women’s advancement in the state”, reported News18.

Condoling her dying, Kerala well being minister Veena George stated Justice Beevi was a “brave” girl with many information to her title. “She was a personality who through her own life showed that willpower and a sense of purpose can overcome any adversity,” George stated in a press release, as per the information company PTI.

Who was Justice Fathima Beevi?

Justice M Fathima Beevi smashed the glass ceiling in her profession and served as a job mannequin for girls. Born in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta in 1927, she accomplished her commencement in Chemistry from Girls’s School in Thiruvananthapuram.

Her father, a authorities servant, inspired her to review regulation after which Beevi joined the Authorities Legislation School, Trivandrum, as per a Reader’s Digest article. She was solely among the many 5 girls to have enrolled in her class on the time.

She topped the Bar Council examination in 1950, rising as the primary girl to get a Bar Council gold medal.

Beevi began her profession as an advocate within the decrease judiciary in Kollam. In a male-dominated atmosphere, she confronted “questioning glances” and even “censure” in courts, due to being a girl and that too in a scarf, the article famous.

“Judicial service was more attractive than the practice at that time. Women were not very much encouraged by the general public, very few succeeded as lawyers,” Reader’s Digest quoted her as saying.

After her appointment as a munsiff within the Kerala Subordinate Judicial Providers in 1958, she step by step climbed up the ladder, and a decade later was promoted as a subordinate decide. By 1972, she turned the chief judicial Justice of the Peace and district and periods decide two years later.

She joined the Kerala Excessive Court docket as a decide in 1983 after her stint on the Earnings Tax Appellate Tribunal. With this, she turned the primary Muslim girl within the greater judiciary, reported Reader’s Digest.

She was elevated as a decide to the apex court docket in 1989, making her the primary girl to grow to be a Supreme Court Justice in Asia, as per Bar and Bench.

Recalling this milestone second, she famously informed Scroll.in in an interview: “I opened a closed door.”

Talking to The Week in 2016, when requested if she believed the Indian judiciary was patriarchal, Justice Beevi replied: “Absolutely. No doubt about that.”

“There are many women in the field now, both at the bar and in the bench. However, their participation is meagre. Their representation is not equal to men. There is a historical reason also for that … Women took to the field late. It will take time for women to get equal representation in the judiciary. When I went to Law College, there were only five girls in my class in the first year. The number went down to two or three in the second year. Today, in law colleges, we are seeing that a good percentage of the students are women,” Reader’s Digest quoted her as saying.

She additionally received a number of accolades all through her profession, together with the Mahila Shiromani Award in 1990, Bharat Jyoti Award and the US-India Enterprise Council (USIBC) Lifetime Achievement Award.

Tumultuous tenure as Tamil Nadu Governor

After her retirement from the highest court docket in 1992, she served as a member of the Nationwide Human Rights Fee, as per Stay Legislation.

In 1997, Justice Beevi was appointed because the governor of Tamil Nadu. Shankar Dayal Sharma, the then President, had remarked on her appointment that “[her] experience of and insights into the working of the Constitution and the laws comprise valuable assets”, reported Reader’s Digest.

Throughout her tenure because the governor, she gave a nod to J Jayalalithaa’s appointment as Tamil Nadu chief minister in 2001, sparking a significant row. Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK had received the state Meeting elections by a landslide defeating the primary rival, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).

Beevi’s approval for the AIADMK chief got here after she was discovered responsible of corruption and banned from contesting elections for six years in a land rip-off case.

The TN governor had invoked Article 164 of the Structure that enables a non-member of the state Legislature to grow to be the CM.

In July 2001, Fathima Beevi resigned from the put up of governor after the Union Cupboard determined to recall her for failing to discharge her constitutional duties following the arrest of former TN CM M Karunanidhi and two Union ministers, reported Outlook. 

After leaving the Raj Bhavan, Beevi got here again to her ancestral residence at Pathanamthitta and lived her life in “relative seclusion”, as per Reader’s Digest.

With inputs from businesses

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