News By/Courtesy: Nirbha Dhawan | 20 Oct 2020 23:20pm IST


  • First woman Judge of Delhi High Court
  • Struggle of female lawyers in India
  • Inspiring story of Leila Seth

Being a lawyer in this country is already an uphill battle to win. One has a long way just to establish themselves. The struggle is a routine assignment and everybody has to face the same. But on the top, if you are a female lawyer who aspires to pursue a career or to become a judge, one has to cross various hurdles. You will have people who will manipulate you to drop such a career because they impose societal stereotypes on you such as "female lawyers don't get married in good households". There is the various insensible justification given to girls who opt for the legal profession. But the surpassing the same and proving your root is one hardship, yet an inspiring story similar to that of Leila Seth.


Leila Seth was the first woman to be made a Chief justice of state High Court and the first woman judge of Delhi High Court. Leila Seth was born in a family where there was no prejudice against boys or girls. She was loved by all in her family. Completing her education Leila Seth started her life as a stenographer in Kolkata where she was married to her husband Prem. Both went to London from then on for the job of her husband.

It was there that she studied Law because it seemed to her as a feasible career. There she had her first Golden feather. She topped the bar exam in London. She had her photo published with the caption 'Mother in law'.


The couple shifted back to India, where she started to practice under a senior lawyer in Patna. It was then when she was advised by her boss to stay at home and look out for the children. The befitting reply to him is one to look for. The journey began from there. She had to cross various barriers before making her name. The first in line was, her to be accepted as a lawyer. Clients use to be hesitant in having a female lawyer for themselves. But she was determined, besides fighting just the cases for women, she took the higher road. She fought cases in corporate, criminal, Tax, constitutional law. It was then when she saved a train driver alleged of killing passengers on his train. She got recognition then.

She moved to Delhi High Court and also practiced in the Supreme court and there was no stopping back for her. she proved her out as a successful woman lawyer and was also appointed as a senior advocate by the apex court. Little did she know about her own glory. Then came the point when Leila Seth was appointed as the first woman judge of Delhi High Court. Though the sexism did not stop there. The male dominance continued and there were no fewer obstacles to face. But she was not the one to low down her spirit. She knew her way out and following the same Leila Seth was appointed as Chief justice of Himachal Pradesh.


The steady efforts of her paid her back. She was appointed under the committee who studied the effects of the series 'Shaktimaan' on children.


15th Law Commission also had her while looking for the change in inheritance laws for women. Leila Seth has had the flag of feminism in her hands for a long. She was appointed under the three-panel member of the justice Verma committee on guiding laws on rape. It was she who recommended the rape law to be made gender-neutral. 


Leila Seth had a life that was graceful. She managed both her personal and professional life well.


We know to get women their equal rights, we need to bolt the efforts being made. But you cannot do it alone. We have seen women guarding the chains of patriarchy. So to get a society which is non discriminating, we need men also to be building the walls of rights for women. There needs to be a team to help people emerge.


This article does not intend to hurt the sentiments of any individual, community, sect, or religion, etcetera. This article is based purely on the author’s personal opinion and views in the exercise of the Fundamental Rights guaranteed under Article 19(1)(A) and other related laws being enforced in India for the time being.

Section Editor: Pushpit Singh | 21 Oct 2020 6:45am IST

Tags : inspiring, struggle, achievements

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