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The Kerala High Court held a twenty-five-minute reference in memory of former Chief Justice KK Usha, who passed away earlier this week and who was cremated with full State honours today.
The proceedings began with Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court S Manikumar describing her early career, first as an advocate, then a government pleader and later as the first native woman of the court to hold the office of Chief Justice.
Her husband Justice K Sukumaran also served as a Judge, making them the first married couple to serve together in the Higher Judiciary. Justice K Sukumaran was, however, a Judge in the Bombay High Court.
Citing her unabated commitment to social and gender justice, the Chief Justice described her as an activist for social causes throughout her life. She is also a lover of nature, the Chief Justice added, stating that her many of her judgments and opinions stood testimony to this.
“Her judicial sword was brandished against the plastic menace”, Chief Justice Manikumar remarked.
Justice Usha was a friend to many starting out in their legal careers, Chief Justice Manikumar added.
“She is an inspiration, especially to womenfolk”, he said.
The Chief Justice’s address was followed by a few words by the Advocate General and the President of the Kerala High Court Advocates Association.
The Advocate General CP Sudhakara Prasad made special reference of her legal prowess, especially of her proficiency in Service law.
The President of the High Court Advocates Association spoke of her involvement with women’s rights, human rights and philanthropic initiatives after her retirement. She was remembered for speaking against employers who exploited their workmen and for having defended the downtrodden.
Following their reminiscences, the Court rose for two-minutes of silence to mark her demise. The Chief Justice announced that the Court would be suspended for twenty minutes to honour her memory.
Justice KK Usha made history in a number of ways. In 1975, Justice Usha represented India at the International Convention of the International Federation of Women Lawyers in Hamburg, Germany.
Notably, she was India's representative at the United Nations' Joint Seminar on 'Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women' organised by the International Federation of Women Lawyers and the International Federation of Women of Legal Careers.
These roles apart, she was member and President of the University Women's Association.
"Sree Narayana Sevika Samajam", an orphanage and home for destitute women, is a social initiative Justice Usha was actively involved with.
Watch the video of the reference here.