S. Abdul Nazeer is an Indian advocate and a former judge of the Supreme Court of India. He is a former judge of the Karnataka High Court. In 2023, he was appointed as the 24th Governor of Andhra Pradesh.
Sheikh Abdul Nazeer was born on Sunday, 5 January 1958 (age 65 years; as of 2023) in Beluvai village of Dakshina Kannada district in Karnataka, India. He attended Jain High School Moodubidire in Moodabidri, Karnataka. Nazeer pursued a Bachelor of Commerce at Sri Mahaveera College in Moodabidri, Karnataka. Later, he completed a law degree at S.D.M. Law College in Mangalore, Karnataka, becoming the first person in his family to pursue a career in law.
Hair Colour: Salt & Pepper
Eye Colour: Black
S. Abdul Nazeer belongs to a Muslim family in Karnataka.
Parents & Siblings
His father’s name is Fakir Saheb (deceased), and his mother’s name is Ameedabi (Hameedabi). He has five siblings.
Abdul Nazeer is married to Sameera Nazeer.
S. Abdul Nazeem follows Islam.
After completing his law degree at S.D.M. Law College in Mangalore, Abdul Nazeer moved to Bengaluru to enrol himself as an Advocate in 1983. He practised at the Karnataka High Court in Bengaluru for nearly 20 years.
Karnataka High Court
On 12 May 2003, Abdul Nazeer was appointed as an Additional Judge at the Karnataka High Court. In 2004, he was appointed as the permanent judge at the Karnataka High Court by the 13th President of India, Pranab Mukherjee and was nominated by the 33rd Chief Justice of India, V. N. Khare.
Supreme Court of India
On 17 February 2017, Abdul Nazeer was elevated to the Supreme Court of India while he was serving as a judge at the Karnataka High Court, becoming the third judge to be elevated to the Supreme Court of India without serving as the chief justice of some high court. On 4 January 2023, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer retired after serving a six-year term at the Supreme Court of India.
During his six-year term as the judge of the Supreme Court of India, he sat on 458 benches and authored 93 judgements.
A bar graph showing judgements authored by Justice S. Abdul Nazeer during his six-year term as the judge of the Supreme Court of India
A chart showing the subject matters of Justice S. Abdul Nazeer’s judgments
Abdul Nazeer was part of many significant judgements including the Triple Talaq case (Shayara Bano v Union of India) (2017), the Fundamental Right to Privacy (Justice K. S. Puttaswamy v Union of India) (2017), the Ayodhya dispute (M. Siddiq v Mahant Suresh Das) (2019), and Union’s 2016 Demonetisation Scheme (2023). Nazeer was the only Muslim on the multi-faith bench who heard the Triple Talaq case; it was barred by the bench by a 3:2 majority and asked the Central government to bring legislation in six months to govern marriage and divorce in the Muslim community. Being part of the three-judge bench hearing an appeal to the Ayodhya title dispute, Abdul Nazeer upheld the ASI report, which affirmed the existence of a Hindu Structure in the disputed region and gave the verdict in favour of Ram Mandir, ending the years-long dispute with 5-0 verdict.
A group photo of the five judges who delivered the verdict in the Ayodhya land case, at the Supreme Court in 2019. S. Abdul Nazeer is on the extreme right.
Justice Nazeer led the 5- judge constitution bench in 2023 that upheld the Union’s 2016 Demonetisation Scheme by a 4:1 majority.
Governor of Andhra Pradesh
On 12 February 2023, Nazeer was appointed as the 24th Governor of Andhra Pradesh, succeeding Biswabhusan Harichandan, by the President of India, Droupadi Murmu.
- Abdul Nazeer grew up working as a farmer at his uncle’s farmhouse. He even scavenged for fish, which washed up ashore at the Panambur beach in Mangalore to make a contribution to his family’s income.
- During his college days, Abdul Nazeer was fond of theatres. He directed some theatrical productions for which he wrote dialogues and composed songs as well. Nazeer was the female lead singer in one of his plays.
- Nazeer was inspired by a senior advocate named Vijay Kumar from his taluka to become an advocate. He even got the opportunity to work with him as his junior.
- In 1980, Nazeer once told Justice DY Chandrachud that he was worried about his future as he had to overcome many social and economic barriers to make himself a fit for the legal circles in Karnataka.
- While sharing some of the interesting facts about S. Abdul Nazeer at the Supreme Court Bar Association Function, which was organised on the retirement of Nazeer as the judge of the Supreme Court of India, in 2023, DY Chandrachud revealed that Nazeer’s father-in-law was the person who recommended him as the member of the Bar Council of Karnataka in 1983, which was the time when the English language was something that Nazeer had to work on.
- Abdul Nazeer talked about his journey as a young advocate at the farewell function and called it ‘duck syndrome.’ He said that during his earlier days as an advocate, he had to work really hard to glide smoothly in this profession. Abdul said,
I was like a duck who is seen gliding smoothly on the water, but is actually paddling furiously under the water just to keep itself afloat.”
S. Abdul Nazeer while giving speech at the Supreme Court Bar Association Function organised for his retirement as the judge of the Supreme Court of India on 4 January 2023
- Abdul Nazeer often attributes his success to the sacrifice made by his mother, Ameedabi (Hameedabi).
- He is fond of literature and has learnt the Sanskrit language.
- He loves singing. During his term as the judge of the Supreme Court of India, he would join his colleagues in co-curricular activities, especially singing. He was famous for singing Tulu songs.
- He likes watching cricket.
- Abdul loves writing. He maintains a diary in which he has written some inspiring quotes on the first few pages.
- He is a subscriber of WhatsApp University.
- He inaugurated the POCSO Court on the first floor of the district court building in Udupi, Karnataka on 14 March 2020.
S. Abdul Nazeer while inaugurating the POCSO Court in Udupi, Karnataka on 14 March 2020