Eighty-four-year-old Seth started her practice in the Patna High Court and then was appointed junior standing counsel for income tax.

"After practising in Delhi for five years in most aspects of law, including constitutional and tax matters, I was designated a senior advocate by the Supreme Court in January 1977 and appointed a judge of the Delhi High Court on July 25, 1978," she said.

The convention was that the new judge, after being sworn in, would sit in court with the Chief Justice to benefit from his experience. But the Chief Justice, with his conservative ideas, was apprehensive about sitting with a woman, as it meant not only being together in open court, but also being alone in closed chambers thereafter for discussion and decision.

"I am told he said, ‘... I can't do it.' So I sat with a senior judge, suave, Westernised and with impeccable manners. He was relaxed and subtly taught me how to change from being a player to being an umpire," she wrote in a recent article in "The Equator Line" magazine.

Seth was also not comfortable with lawyers addressing her as 'My Lord'.

"When I asked a question and my brother judge pointed out to them that they should say My Lady, they thought the easiest way out was to say, My Lord and look at the male judge as if the question had emanated from him! Very rarely was I addressed correctly," she writes.

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