First Woman CJ of Uttaranchal HC Justice Ritu Bahri

04-02-2024 marked a historic moment for Uttaranchal High Court as Justice Ritu Bahri took oath of office as not only the High Court’s 13th Chief Justice, but also as its First Woman Chief Justice1.

Did you Know? At present, Justice Ritu Bahri’s elevation has enhanced the representation of women among the Chief Justices of the High Courts to 2 Women Chief Justices. Justice Sunita Agarwal was appointed as Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court in 2023.

Early Life and Academics2

Justice Ritu Bahri was born on 11-10-1962 at Jalandhar, in a family of illustrious lawyers. Her father Justice Amrit Lal Bahri retired as Judge of Punjab & Haryana High Court in the year 1994. Her great grand-father Late Karam Chand Bahri was a well-known lawyer of his times on the civil side. Her grand-father Late Som Dutt Bahri also practiced law on the civil side and was also Member Legislative Assembly (MLA), Punjab, from 1952 to 1957.

Justice Ritu Bahri did her schooling from Carmel Convent School, Chandigarh, and graduation in Economics (Hons.) from Government College for Women, Chandigarh in the year 1982 in First Division. Thereafter, she did her Law from Punjab University, Chandigarh, in the year 1985 in First Division.

Career as an Advocate

Justice Bahri enrolled as an advocate in the year 1986 with Bar Council of Punjab & Haryana and started practice in Punjab & Haryana High Court. Her area of practice was civil, constitutional, taxation, labour and service matters. She specialized in service and tax matters3.

Justice Ritu Bahri was later appointed as Assistant Advocate General, Haryana, in March 1992. Thereafter, she was appointed as Deputy Advocate General, Haryana, in August 1999 and Senior Advocate General, Haryana, in December 2009.

While representing the State of Haryana, she handled several cases relating to Service matters, land Acquisition, Taxation, Revenue, Labour cases and MACT cases4.


After 24 years of practice, Justice Ritu Bahri was elevated as Judge of the Punjab & Haryana High Court on 16-08-2010. On 12-10-2023, Justice Bahri was appointed as Acting Chief Justice of Punjab & Haryana High Court with effect from 14-10-2023 consequent upon the retirement of Justice Ravi Shanker Jha5.

During her tenure of 13 years as a Judge of High Court, Justice Bahri authored 843 reported judgments of which 247 were delivered during last 5 years6.

On 02-11-2023 the Supreme Court Collegium comprising of Dr Justice DY Chandrachud, the Chief Justice of India, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Sanjiv Khanna, recommended Justice Ritu Bahri’s name as new Chief Justice of Uttaranchal High Court. The Collegium toom note of her extensive experience in dispensing justice in one of the largest High Courts in the country, her competency and high level of integrity, conduct and character. While recommending the name of Justice Ritu Bahri the Collegium also considered that her elevation would enhance representation of women among the Chief Justices of the High Courts.

Accepting the Collegium’s recommendation, the Ministry of Law and Justice on 02-02-2024 notified the appointment of Justice Ritu Bahri as Uttaranchal High Court’s First Woman Chief Justice. On 04-02-2024 Justice Bahri was formally sworn in as the 13th Chief Justice of Uttaranchal High Court

Notable Judgments

Stipend for Junior Lawyers | Punjab and Haryana High Court issues notice to BCI, BCPH

The Division Bench of Ritu Bahri, ACJ and Nidhi Gupta, J. has issued notice to Bar Council of India as well as Punjab and Haryana in a matter seeking payment of stipend/remuneration for young lawyers. The said notice was issued after a representation made before the Court on 18-01-2024 with the mention of the Kerala Government inaugurating a scheme under which, lawyers below the age of 30 years having less than 3 years of law practice and annual income of less than Rs 1 lakh to be eligible to receive stipend/remuneration of Rs 3000.

[Vivek Tiwari v. Bar Council of India, 2024 SCC OnLine P&H 136]

Marriage irretrievably breaks down if parties are living separately for many years: Punjab and Haryana HC reiterates

In an appeal filed by the appellant/husband seeking the dissolution of marriage on the ground of cruelty and desertion, and setting aside the impugned order of lower Court, whereby, his petition under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (‘HMA’), seeking dissolution of his marriage with the respondent has been dismissed; the division bench of Nidhi Gupta and Ritu Bahri, JJ. in order to do complete justice and to put an end to the agony of parties, set aside the impugned order of the lower Court, and dissolved the marriage solemnized between the parties by a decree of divorce. Further, it granted the wife permanent alimony of a sum of Rs. 18,00,000/- as full and final settlement.

[Ratandeep Singh Ahuja v. Harpreet Kaur7]

Does incessantly filing complaints for tarnishing one’s reputation amount to mental cruelty? Punjab & Haryana High Court answers

While deciding an appeal arising from a divorce petition, the bench of Ritu Bahri, J. and Meenakshi I. Mehta, J. observed that “the facts and circumstances unequivocally speak volumes of the fact that the respondent has incessantly been filing the complaints against the petitioner as well as his family members and the petitioner even had to go behind the bars in connection with one of those complaints, resulting in harm/damage to his image and reputation in the eyes of their relatives and the society at large”

[Anmol Verma v. Radhika Sareen8]]

If a husband stops talking to the wife, would that cause mental cruelty? Punjab & Haryana HC elaborates

In a matter with regard to mental cruelty, the Division Bench of Ritu Bahri and Ashok Kumar Verma, JJ., observed that, even if the husband and wife were staying together and the husband stopped talking to the wife, it would cause mental cruelty and a spouse staying away by sending vulgar and defamatory letters or notices by initiating a number of judicial proceedings could make the life of other spouse miserable.

[Harbans v. Joginder Pal, 2022 SCC OnLine P&H 1101]

[Child Marriage]| Marriage with a minor is valid if no attempt is made to declare it invalid once the child turns major: Punjab and Haryana HC

The Division Bench of Ritu Bahri and Arun Monga, JJ., held that marriage with minor is valid if no attempt is made to declare the same invalid once the child turns 18. The brief facts of the present case were that at the time of marriage in 2009, the respondent-wife was of the age 17 years, 6 months and 8 days. Both the parties continued to live together and cohabited as husband and wife till 31-08-2017 and a male child namely Manas was born out of the wedlock, who had been living with the appellant-husband since 2017.

[Yogesh Kumar v. Priya9]

A person cannot take benefit under two reserved categories for the post of Junior Coach (Athletics): Punjab and Haryana HC

A writ petition was filed before a Single Judge Bench comprising of Ritu Bahri, J., where selection process for the post of Junior Coach (Athletics) was in question. Facts of the case were that the petitioner had applied in the selection process for the post of Junior Coach (Athletics) in response to an advertisement. When the final results for the post were out, petitioner’s name was found in the waiting list where he had applied for the post under the EBPG category. The EBPG category had 3 posts vacant where the selection of respondent had been challenged by the petitioner. The ground on which respondent’s selection was challenged was that he belonged to SBC (Special Backward Class) category thus could not have taken benefit under the category of EBPG by virtue of Clause 5 of the relevant notification which states that person claiming reservation under other categories are not entitled to reservation in the EBPG category. According to a certificate issued to respondent, it was found that he had taken benefit of EBPG category.

[Sandeep v. State of Haryana, 2018 SCC OnLine P&H 1673]

1. Uttarakhand High Court gets first woman Chief Justice as Ritu Bahri takes charge – India Today

2. Hon’ble Ms. Justice Ritu Bahri, Acting Chief Justice | District Court Bhiwani | India (


4. Hon’ble Ms. Justice Ritu Bahri, Acting Chief Justice | District Court Bhiwani | India (

5. 202310121823829898.pdf (


7. First Appeal Order-Matrimonial-208 of 2013

8. [FAO No.6969 of 2019 (O&M)

9. FAO 855 of 2021

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