The Patna High Court today paid tribute to Justice Leila Seth, who spent 10 years here as a barrister in the initial phase of her trailblazing career, and recalled her contributions to the legal field. Chief Justice Rajendra Menon presided over a full court condolence meet that last about 30 minutes in the chief justice’s courtroom.
“As per the traditions of a full court reference, all the judges and lawyers gathered to pay tribute to her and recalled her career in the Patna High Court. Representatives of all the lawyer associations read out obituary messages and finally the chief justice made his speech,” K D Chatterji, an advocate, said.
“A two-minute silence was then observed and after that the court was closed for the remainder of the day. The bereaved family will receive a copy of the proceedings,” he told PTI.
On May 9, the Himachal Pradesh High Court had observed a full court Reference in memory of Seth, who died on May 5 at her residence in Noida.
Acting Chief Justice of HP High Court Sanjay Karol had said in his message, “Justice Leila Seth was an eminent jurist, an author, social activist, great human being and swift and bold in taking decisions.”
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Seth became the first woman chief justice of a high court in the country when she was appointed to the post in the Himachal Pradesh High Court on August 5, 1991. She served in the post till October 20, 1992.
She was also the first judge of the Delhi High Court before her elevation as the chief justice.
Seth started her career in 1959 in the Patna High Court as a young London-trained barrister and spent 10 years here, seeking a foothold in a field dominated by men.
In her memoirs “On Balance”, she recalls how once visitors of the zoo came to the court only to “see a lady judge”.
Seth, who was born in October 1930 in Lucknow, also championed women and gender rights.