Justice K K Usha, former Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court, died in Kochi on Monday. She was 81.
Justice Usha, who served the High Court as Chief Justice from 2000 to 2001, was the first woman to be directly elevated to the HC bench from the bar.
She enrolled as an advocate in 1961 and was appointed as a government pleader in 1979. Before becoming Chief Justice of the Kerala HC in 2000, she served the HC as a judge for nine years. She was the second woman Chief Justice of the HC of Kerala.
Post-retirement, she headed the Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal in Delhi for three years. In 2005, she headed an inquiry commission of the Indian People’s Tribunal, which probed the communal situation in Odisha. She was also a member of the Indian People’s Tribunal that looked into human rights issues in Manipur. The tribunal had recommended revoking the AFSPA in Manipur.
Justice Usha’s husband K Sukumaran is also a retired High Court judge who had served in the High Courts of Kerala and Bombay.
Expressing his condolences, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that Justice Usha had made notable interventions in women’s issues with a woman’s perspective. She enrolled in a legal profession at a time when there were few women in that arena, and contributed immensely to the judiciary, he said.
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