Fathima Beevi, a trailblazing jurist and the first woman Supreme Court Justice in India, passed away on November 23, 2023, at the age of 96. She was a true icon of women’s empowerment and gender justice, inspiring generations of women to pursue their dreams and break down barriers in the legal profession.
Justice Beevi was born in 1927 in Kerala, India. She came from a humble background, but her father encouraged her to pursue higher education, recognizing her exceptional intellect and potential. She defied societal norms to study law, becoming the first woman to top the Bar Council exam in Kerala in 1950.
Her illustrious legal career began in 1951 as an advocate in the Kerala High Court. She quickly rose through the ranks, becoming a district and sessions judge in 1974. Her sharp legal acumen, unwavering commitment to justice, and compassionate nature earned her immense respect and admiration.
In 1989, Justice Beevi made history by becoming the first woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court of India. Her appointment was a landmark moment in the country’s legal history, symbolizing the dawn of a new era for women in the judiciary.
During her tenure on the Supreme Court, Justice Beevi authored several landmark judgments that upheld the rights of women, minorities, and marginalized groups. She was a champion of gender equality and tirelessly advocated for women’s empowerment.
Beyond her legal expertise, Justice Beevi was also a respected social activist and a role model for countless women and girls. She was a strong advocate for education and empowerment, believing that education was the key to unlocking women’s potential and achieving true gender equality.
Justice Beevi’s legacy extends far beyond the courtroom. She was a beacon of hope and inspiration for millions of women, demonstrating that they could achieve anything they set their minds to. Her unwavering commitment to justice and her unwavering belief in the power of education have left an indelible mark on India’s legal and social landscape.
Justice Fathima Beevi will be remembered as a pioneer, a trailblazer, and an icon of women’s empowerment. Her legacy will continue to inspire generations to come.
Tributes have poured in from across the country, with leaders, legal luminaries, and ordinary citizens paying homage to her extraordinary life and contributions.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “India mourns the loss of Justice Fathima Beevi, a towering figure in the legal world. Her brilliance, compassion, and unwavering commitment to justice will be deeply missed. Her legacy will continue to inspire generations of women and legal professionals.”
Chief Justice of India Uday Umesh Lalit said: “Justice Fathima Beevi was a true pioneer in the legal profession. She was a brilliant jurist, a compassionate judge, and a strong advocate for women’s rights. Her passing is a great loss to the legal fraternity and the nation.”