India's First Woman SC Judge, Justice Fathima Beevi, Dies At 96

Justice Fathima Beevi, India's First Woman Supreme Court Judge and former Tamil Nadu Governor has passed away at the age of 96. A trailblazer and icon, her journey inspires generations.

Oshi Saxena
New Update

Justice Fathima Beevi, India's First Woman Supreme Court Judge and former Tamil Nadu Governor, passed away at the age of 96. As a trailblazer and a woman of many firsts, her legacy extends beyond the courtroom. As we bid farewell to her, let's delve into the remarkable life and legacy of a woman who defied norms and shattered glass ceilings.


Early Life and Education

Hailing from Pandalam, Kerala, Fathima Beevi's journey began at Catholicate High School in Pathanamthitta. Her academic prowess led her to University College, Trivandrum, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree. The pursuit of justice then took her to Government Law College, where she obtained her Bachelor of Law degree.

Judicial Career

Fathima Beevi's remarkable career began in 1950 in the lower judiciary of Kerala. Rising through the ranks, she served in various capacities, from Munsiff to Chief Judicial Magistrate. In 1983, she ascended to become a High Court Judge, and in 1989, she etched her name in history as the first woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court of India.

Pioneer and Icon

Beyond breaking gender barriers, Fathima Beevi was the first Muslim woman to join any higher judiciary, earning the distinction of being the first woman judge of a Supreme Court in Asia. Her journey became an inspiration for women across the country, exemplifying resilience and determination.


Political Stint as Governor

After retiring from the Supreme Court, Justice Beevi continued to contribute to public service. She served as a member of the National Human Rights Commission before being appointed as the Governor of Tamil Nadu. Her tenure included serving as the Chancellor of Tamil Nadu University, adding to her list of accomplishments.

Recognition and Awards

Fathima Beevi's contributions were not only recognised nationally but also internationally. She received the Honorary Doctor of Letters and the Mahila Shiromani Award in 1990. The Bharat Jyoti Award and the US-India Business Council's (USIBC) Lifetime Achievement Award further highlighted her significant impact.

Condolences from State Health Minister Veena George

The state mourns alongside Justice Beevi's family, with State Health Minister Veena George expressing heartfelt condolences. "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, reflecting on the indomitable spirit that defined Justice Beevi's legacy.


The passing of Justice Fathima Beevi marks the end of an era in the Indian judiciary. Her indomitable spirit, commitment to justice, and trailblazing legacy will be remembered by generations to come. 

Suggested reading: As Judiciary Scripts History, Flashback To Fathima Beevi Becoming SC's First Woman Judge

Justice Fathima Beevi India's First Woman SC Judge