Republic Day: 6 Iconic Women Judges Who Delivered Landmark Verdicts

Republic Day: 6 Iconic Women Judges Who Delivered Landmark Verdicts

By: WE Staff

On this Republic Day, we salute Guardians of the Indian Constitution, ie: iconic judges who were integral in delivering landmark verdicts that reshaped India. These women judges might be a minority in the Indian judiciary; however, they have had a significant impact on aspects such as workplace safety, reproductive rights, etc.

The Constitution is a sacred document in India's democratic ethos, embodying the nation's collective aspirations, ideals, and principles that shape its identity. The Indian Constitution, crafted with immense care and looking into every prospect of the citizens in society, serves as the foundation of Indian democracy, enshrining values like justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity as guiding principles.

The custodian of the Indian Constitution is the Indian judiciary. Also called as the third pillar of Indian democracy, the judiciary plays a crucial role in maintaining the rule of law and ensuring the integrity of this sacred document.

The judiciary interprets the Constitution's provisions and picks cases that arise within its constitutional framework, acting as the attentive defender of the document against changing societal norms, challenges, and aspirations.

The judiciary has historically been a male-dominated space. However, India's legal landscape has gradually been witnessing a shift with more women rising to the highest ranks of the judiciary. These influential jurists, renowned for their wisdom, integrity, and commitment to justice, have significantly influenced the interpretation and preservation of the Indian Constitution. 

Holding the nation's founding document in their hands, these remarkable Indian women judges have been instrumental in determining the direction of justice and advancing the cause of equality. They have fought long battles to ensure the security and safety of each and every individual in the society. They are serving as the ray of hope that justice will prevail no matter how difficult the journey is.

Read on to learn more about some of the most influential women judges that India has had over the years. They have presided over critical cases and been instrumental in giving landmark judgments that have altered the Indian landscape.

Justice M. Fathima Beevi: First Female Member of The Indian Supreme Court

A pioneering Indian jurist and trailblazer in the legal field is Justice M. Fathima Beevi. She has left a lasting legacy with her distinguished career and contributions to the Indian judiciary. She began her career in the Kerala Judicial Service as a magistrate and later held a number of roles. She was appointed to the Kerala High Court as a judge in 1983. She became the first female member of the Indian Supreme Court when she was promoted to that position in 1989.

Landmark Verdicts:

The Supreme Court of India addressed the applicability of the rule of law, natural justice principles, and restrictions on statutory power in this case. Justice Fathima Beevi held that one of the fundamental rules of the constitutional set-up is that every citizen ought to be protected against the exercise of arbitrary authority by the state and that the rules of natural justice would operate in areas not covered by any law validly made.

Within eight months of J. Jayalalithaa's conviction in the TANSI land deal cases, Justice Fathima Beevi permitted her to take charge as Tamil Nadu's chief minister. Those convicted of these offenses typically face a six-year ban from contesting in elections. The interpretation of the Representation of People Act and the rights of those found guilty in criminal cases were at issue in this decision, which made it notable.