Justice Anna Chandy (1905-1996) was the first female judge in India and also the first woman in India to become a high court judge. She was born on 4th May 1905 in Elaphi, Kerala. Anna Chandy became the district judge of Travancore in 1928 and did not turn behind after that. She was then selected as the first Indian woman district judge by the C.P. Ramaswami Iyer in Travancore in 1948. She has served as a judge at the Kerala High Court from 9th of February 1959 to 5th of April 1967.
Anna chandy became the first woman judge in the Indian district court in 1937. She was the 2nd woman of the world who reached to the high court judgeship in 1959. She became the founder and editor of the journal (Shreemati) in which she supported the women’s rights. She was then appointed as Kerala high court judge and remained in office till April 1967. Post retirement, she served on Law Commission of India and also wrote her autobiography. In 1971 the Malayala Manorama serialised her autobiography which was subsequently published in Thrissur by Carmel Books in 1973 under the title Atmakatha. She passed away in 1996.
Anna chandy has been described as ‘first generation feminist’. She contested from Shree Mulam Popular Assembly and was elected for the term 1932-34 after heavy criticism from competitors and newspapers. Travancore was a Princely State and had been the first such state to set up its own democratic legislative assembly, as early as 1888. In 1904 the Maharaja of Travancore inaugurated the Shree Mulam Popular Assembly (Praja Sabha), a non-legislative advisory body. In Kerala, despite hurdles, women made an early entry in politics and were granted rights to vote for the Shree Mulam Popular Assembly in 1919 and further, they were given voting and membership rights as far back as in 1922. In the late 1930s one Narayani Amma became the first woman legislator in the princely state of Travancore.
The greatness of this woman lies in emerging victorious against all odds in the times when the society did not support women.