Justice Fathima Beevi hits a glorious 90
Pathanamthitta: Justice Fathima Beevi, the first woman to clinch the laurel of becoming a Supreme Court judge in India and Asia, touched a glorious 90 marked by a small get-together with family at Kumarakom. Ask her and she will tell you who her inspiration was. Her father Annaveettil Meerasahib and mother Khadeeja Beevi had eight children, six daughters and two sons. But at a time when women empowerment was not even heard of, he asked his children, both boys and girls to study as much as they can, to climb as high as they can.
Fathima, the first born followed her father's words. She was sent to Thiruvananthapuram to do her intermediate where she was roommates with Gauriamma. When she passed with first class, her father enrolled her for law which she passed with a gold medal. On November 14, 1950, she enrolled as an advocate, not to the pleasure of all and sundry who raised their eyebrows at a headscarfed woman in the Kollam Court.
Eight years later she cleared the first public exam for the appointment of judges to become a Munsif. In 1972 she was a Chief Judicial Magistrate. In 1974 she was the district Sessions Judge and in 1983 a High Court judge.
In 1989 she was elevated to the Honourable Supreme Court of India from where she retired in 1992. After this she was appointed as the Tamil Nadu Governor. She had an eventful period there too following the political turbulence after the arrest of Karunanidhi.
While she expressed concern on the loosening standards of judicial authority, she was pleased with the number of women in judiciary which she says has improved from before. She also candidly admits that the two roles she has played, she was more fond of the role of the Judge, as it gives more working freedom.