She was the second woman Chief Justice at Kerala High Court and the first to be directly elevated from the Bar to the HC bench.

KK Usha in her judges uniform with specs grey hair tied behind her and a big red bindi on her faceCourtesy - Augustus Binu / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
news Obituary Tuesday, October 06, 2020 - 11:17

KK Usha, the second woman to be Chief Justice at the Kerala High Court, passed away on Monday. She was 81 years old.

Usha was the first woman to be directly elevated to the High Court bench from the Bar, reports the Indian Express. She served as Chief Justice in 2000-01, after which she retired and presided over the Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal for three years, says a report by Bar and Bench. After Sujatha Manohar, KK Usha became the second woman to be Chief Justice of Kerala High Court.

She enrolled at the Bar in 1961 and was appointed as a government pleader 18 years later. She became a judge in 1991. Usha then served the High Court for nine years before becoming Chief Justice, a year before her retirement.

Post retirement, Usha headed a People's Tribunal inquiry into the communal situation in Odisha and was involved in the human rights issues in Manipur. The Indian People's Tribunal was against the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Manipur.

Usha represented India at a United Nations seminar on 'Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women'. She also represented the country at an international convention of women lawyers in Germany.

Usha's husband K Sukumaran was also a retired judge of the High Court.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan condoled her death, recalling the contribution Justice Usha had made to the legal justice system. "She has excelled as both a High Court judge and the Chief Justice. The pro-woman interventions she made in women's issues were also remarkable. She came to this field at a time there were few women in it, and rose up the ladder through her hard work,” said the Chief Minister while condoling her death.

Watch: KK Usha on her childhood

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