First Woman Chief Judge of State High Court Justice Leila Seth passes away

Justice Leila Seth, first woman judge of the Delhi High Court, passed away on 5 May. She was aged 86. Seth breathed her last at her residence in Noida. Leila Seth was considered a pioneering legal mind who was appointed the first woman judge of the Delhi HC in 1978. Leila Seth is the mother of novelist Vikram Seth, Shantum, a Buddhist teacher and Aradhana, an artist and filmmaker. She has headed and chaired numerous judicial and humanitarian institutions. She was a member of the 15th Law Commission of India from 1997 to 2000. She was also the Chair of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) for several years.

She died of cardiac seizure last night, at 5 May 2017. About three weeks ago, she had fallen down and fractured her hip. She had undergone a surgery at Apollo Hospital and was discharged a week ago. We called the PCR, the ambulance but it was too late.

She was born in October 1930 in Lucknow and was the first woman to top the London Bar exam in 1958.She was also selected for IAS, but in pursuit of a legal caree.She launched her career by enrolling as an advocate in the Calcutta high court as well as the Supreme Court in 1959. Justice Seth had been on the panel of lawyers for the West Bengal government in the Supreme Court since June 1974. She was designated as a senior advocate by the apex judicial body on January 10, 1977.In 1978, Justice Seth was appointed as an additional judge of the Delhi high court. Two years later, she was made a permanent judge.

Seth was also one of the three members of the Justice Verma Committee which was constituted in 2012 to recommend amendments to the Criminal Law so as to provide for quicker trial and enhanced punishment for criminals accused of committing sexual assault against women, post the gruesome December 16 gangrape in Delhi.

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