First Woman Judge of Supreme Court: M. Fatima Beevi
Justice M. Fatima Beevi holds a special place in India’s history as the first woman to become a judge in the Supreme Court. Her appointment in 1989 was a ground-breaking moment that opened doors for women in the highest court of the country. With this achievement, she inspired many and showed that woman can excel in all fields, including law and justice.
Early Life and Educational Life of Fatima Beevi
Fatima Beevi, born on April 30, 1927 in Pathanamthitta, Kerala, was raised in a society where gender roles were deeply entrenched. She went to school at Catholicate High School and later moved to Trivandrum for more studies. She got a degree in science from University College and then studied law at Government Law College in Trivandrum.
Fatima Beevi was one of only five girls in her law class, and later only three. But that didn’t stop her. In 1950, after finishing her law studies, she took a big exam called the Bar Council exam. She not only passed but also become the first woman to get the highest marks. She even got a special medal for this achievement.
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Legal Career of M. Fatima Beevi
After becoming a lawyer, she started working in the lower courts in Kerala from November 14, 1950. She kept moving up and eventually reached an important position of judge in Supreme Court of India.
Historic Appointment of M. Fatima Judge
On 6 October, 1989, Justice Fatima Beevi created history by becoming the first lady judge in India’s Supreme Court. This was a huge deal because it showed that women could do any job, even ones that were usually done by men. Her appointed opened the doors for other women who wanted to work in the law field.
Fatima Beevi’s legacy also includes her insightful judgements. In cases such as “Scheduled Caste and Weaker Section Welfare Assn. v. State of Karnataka” and “Assam Sillimanite Ltd. v. Union of India”, her thoughtful approach underscored the importance of safeguarding citizen rights and questioning unconstitutional laws.
Beyond the Courts
After retiring from the Supreme Court, Fatima Beevi became a member of the National Human Rights Commission. Fatima Beevi also had a political career. She became the Governor of Tamil Nadu on 25th January 1997. This showed that she was also a great leader who made important decisions for the state. From 1997-2001, she served as the Governor of Tamil Nadu, leaving an indelible mark on governance.
Fatima Beevi’s remarkable journey, from a young woman in Kerala to a pioneer in the Indian legal system, continues to inspire generations. Her unwavering commitment to justice, her trailblazing spirit and her advocacy for gender equality have left an indelible mark on India’s legal landscape.