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

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

Kollam (Ker), Nov 23 (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 burial will be held tomorrow (November 24) at the Pathanamthitta Juma Masjid,' the source said.

Her remains reached her home in Pathanamthitta town in the afternoon, and she will be buried with state honours on Friday, the source added.

The official honours would be presented under the leadership of the District Police Chief.

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan, Assembly Speaker A N Shamseer, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, ministers, Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly V D Satheesan and leaders of various political parties expressed condolences over her demise.

Governor Khan said, 'Her life is an inspirational story of hard work and determination, and her contributions reflect her profound social commitment. May her soul rest in eternal peace'.

Tamil Nadu Governor R N Ravi, Chief Minister M K Stalin, and several political leaders of the state also expressed condolences over the demise of former Governor of the state.

'Deeply saddened' at the passing away of Justice Beevi, Ravi said her contributions to public service will always be remembered.

'My thoughts are with her family members in this sorrowful hour. May she rest in peace,' the Governor said posting a photo of Justice Fathima Beevi on the social media platform X.

Chief Minister Vijayan 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 became 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.

Justice Beevi's 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.

Chief Minister Stalin said Justice Fathima Beevi had held several high positions in life including being a member of the National Human Rights Commission, and Chairman of Kerala Backward Classes Commission.

'I offer my deepest condolences and sympathies to the bereaved family and friends,' the Tamil Nadu chief minister said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, Health Minister Veena George said the news of Justice Beevi's demise 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 then 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.

She was unmarried and is survived by her four younger sisters, with two brothers and a sister predeceasing her, according to a family member. PTI HMP TGB HMP ANE

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