Instrument of Accession (Jammu and Kashmir)

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Instrument of Accession (Jammu and Kashmir)
Instrument of Accession of Jammu and Kashmir state to the Union of India
TypeAccession Treaty
Signed26 October 1947
Effective27 October 1947
ConditionAcceptance by the Governor-General of India
ExpirationPerpetual Validity
SignatoriesJammu and Kashmir (princely state) Maharaja Hari Singh,
India Lord Louis Mountbatten
PartiesJammu and Kashmir (princely state) Jammu and Kashmir
India Dominion of India
DepositaryDominion of India
Full text
Index:Instrument of Accession and Standstill Agreement of Jammu and Kashmir to Dominion of India.pdf at Wikisource

The Jammu and Kashmir Instrument of Accession is a legal document executed by Maharaja Hari Singh, ruler of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, on 26 October 1947.[1][2]


By executing an Instrument of Accession under the provisions of the Indian Independence Act 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh agreed to accede his state to the Dominion of India.[3][4]

On 27 October 1947, the then Governor-General of India, Lord Mountbatten accepted the accession. In a letter sent to Maharaja Hari Singh on the same day, he said, "it is my Government's wish that as soon as law and order have been restored in Jammu and Kashmir and her soil cleared of the invader the question of the State's accession should be settled by a reference to the people."[5]

Lord Mountbatten's remark, and an offer made by the Government of India to conduct a plebiscite or referendum to determine the future status of Kashmir, led to a dispute between India and Pakistan regarding the legality of the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India.[6][7]

India claims that the accession is unconditional and final, while Pakistan maintains that the Maharaja acted under duress, that he had no right to accede to India at a time when a standstill agreement with Pakistan was still in force, and that he was not in control of his state and therefore not in a position and does not have the legitimacy to take such a decision.[8]

The accession to India is celebrated on Accession Day, which is held annually on 26 October.[9]


P1. Instrument of accession Kašmir
P2. Instrument of accession Kašmir

The text of the Instrument of Accession, excluding the schedule mentioned in its third point, is as follows:[10]

Whereas the Indian Independence Act, 1947, provides that as from the fifteenth day of August, 1947, there shall be set up an independent Dominion known as INDIA, and that the Government of India Act, 1935 shall with such omissions, additions, adaptations and modifications as the Governor General may by order specify, be applicable to the Dominion of India.

And whereas the Government of India Act, 1935, as so adapted by the Governor General, provides that an Indian State may accede to the Dominion of India by an Instrument of Accession executed by the Ruler thereof.

Now, therefore, I Shriman Inder Mahinder Rajrajeswar Maharajadhiraj Shri Hari Singhji, Jammu & Kashmir Naresh Tatha Tibbetadi Deshadhipati, Ruler of Jammu & Kashmir State, in the exercise of my Sovereignty in and over my said State do hereby execute this my Instrument of Accession and

  1. I hereby declare that I accede to the Dominion of India with the intent that the Governor General of India, the Dominion Legislature, the Federal Court and any other Dominion authority established for the purposes of the Dominion shall by virtue of this my Instrument of Accession but subject always to the terms thereof, and for the purposes only of the Dominion, exercise in relation to the State of Jammu & Kashmir (hereinafter referred to as "this State") such functions as may be vested in them by or under the Government of India Act, 1935, as in force in the Dominion of India, on the 15th day of August 1947, (which Act as so in force is hereafter referred to as "the Act').
  2. I hereby assume the obligation of ensuring that due effect is given to provisions of the Act within this State so far as they are applicable therein by virtue of this my Instrument of Accession.
  3. I accept the matters specified in the schedule hereto as the matters with respect to which the Dominion Legislature may make law for this State.
  4. I hereby declare that I accede to the Dominion of India on the assurance that if an agreement is made between the Governor General and the Ruler of this State whereby any functions in relation to the administration in this State of any law of the Dominion Legislature shall be exercised by the Ruler of the State, then any such agreement shall be construed and have effect accordingly.
  5. The terms of this my Instrument of Accession shall not be varied by any amendment of the Act or the Indian Independence Act, 1947, unless such amendment is accepted by me by Instrument supplementary to this Instrument.
  6. Nothing in this Instrument shall empower the Dominion Legislature to make any law for this State authorizing the compulsory acquisition of land for any purpose, but I hereby undertake that should the Dominion for the purpose of a Dominion law which applies in this State deem it necessary to acquire any land, I will at their request acquire the land at their expense, or, if the land belongs to me transfer it to them on such terms as may be agreed or, in default of agreement, determined by an arbitrator to be appointed by the Chief Justice of India.
  7. Nothing in this Instrument shall be deemed to commit in any way to acceptance of any future constitution of India or to fetter my discretion to enter into agreement with the Government of India under any such future constitution.
  8. Nothing in this Instrument affects the continuance of my Sovereignty in and over this State, or, save as provided by or under this Instrument, the exercise of any powers, authority and rights now enjoyed by me as Ruler of this State or the validity of any law at present in force in this State.
  9. I hereby declare that I execute this Instrument on behalf of this State and that any reference in this Instrument to me or to the Ruler of the State is to be construed as including a reference to my heirs and successors.

Given under my hand this 26th day of OCTOBER, nineteen hundred and forty seven.

Hari Singh

Maharajadhiraj of Jammu and Kashmir State.

I do hereby accept this Instrument of Accession. Dated this twenty seventh day of October, nineteen hundred and forty seven.

(Mountbatten of Burma, Governor General of India).[10]


The Schedule referred to in paragraph 3 of the Instrument of Accession reads as follows:[11]


A. Defence

  1. The naval, military and air forces of the Dominion and any other armed forces raised or maintained by the Dominion; any armed forces, including forces raised or maintained by an acceding State, which are attached to, or operating with, any of the armed forces of the Dominion.
  2. Naval, military and air force works, administration of cantonment areas.
  3. Arms, fire-arms, ammunition.
  4. Explosives.

B. External Affairs

  1. External affairs; the implementing of treaties and agreements with other countries; extradition, including the surrender of criminals and accused persons to parts of His Majesty's Dominions outside India.
  2. Admission into, and emigration and expulsion from, India, including in relation thereto the regulation of the movements in India of persons who are not British subjects domiciled in India or subjects of any acceding State; pilgrimages to places beyond India.
  3. Naturalisation.

C. Communications

  1. Posts and telegraphs, including telephones, wireless, broadcasting, and other like forms of communication.
  2. Federal railways; the regulation of all railways other than minor railways in respect of safety, maximum and minimum rates and fares, station and services terminal charges, interchange of traffic and the responsibility of railway administrations as carriers of goods and passengers; the regulation of minor railways in respect of safety and the responsibility of the administrations of such railways as carriers of goods and passengers.
  3. Maritime shipping and navigation, including shipping and navigation on tidal waters; Admiralty jurisdiction.
  4. Port quarantine.
  5. Major ports, that is to say, the declaration and delimitation of such ports, and the constitution and powers of Port Authorities therein.
  6. Aircraft and air navigation; the provision of aerodromes; regulation and organisation of air traffic and of aerodromes.
  7. Lighthouses, including lightships, beacons and other provisions for the safety of shipping and aircraft.
  8. Carriage of passengers and goods by sea or by air.
  9. Extension of the powers and jurisdiction of members of the police force belonging to any unit to railway area outside that unit.

D. Ancillary

  1. Election to the Dominion Legislature, subject to the provisions of the Act and of any Order made thereunder.
  2. Offences against laws with respect to any of the aforesaid matters.
  3. Inquiries and statistics for the purposes of any of the aforesaid matters.
  4. Jurisdiction and powers of all courts with respect to any of the aforesaid matters but, except with the consent of the Ruler of the acceding State, not so as to confer any jurisdiction or powers upon any courts other than courts ordinarily exercising jurisdiction in or in relation to that State.[11]


While the Instrument of Accession carries the date of 26 October, some scholars believe that it was actually signed on 27 October.[12] However, the fact that the Governor General accepted the accession on 27 October, the day the Indian troops were airlifted into Kashmir, is generally accepted.[13][14]

An Indian commentator, Prem Shankar Jha, has argued that the accession was actually signed by Hari Singh on 25 October 1947, just before he left Srinagar for Jammu.[15]

Before taking any action on the Maharaja's request for help, the Government of India decided to send V. P. Menon, representing it, who flew to Srinagar on 25 October. On realizing the state of emergency, Menon advised the Maharaja to leave immediately for Jammu, for his own safety. He followed this advice and left Srinagar for Jammu that night, while Menon and Prime Minister Mahajan flew to Delhi early the next morning, 26 October. When they reached there, the Indian Government promised Menon and Mahajan military assistance for Jammu and Kashmir, but only after the Instrument of Accession had been signed. Hence, Menon immediately flew back to Jammu with the Instrument. The official version of events is that on his arrival, he contacted the Maharaja, who was asleep after a long journey, but who at once signed the Instrument. Menon then flew back immediately to Delhi with the legal documents on 26 October.[16]


In 1950, a United States Department of State memorandum prepared by American diplomats George C. McGhee and John D. Hickerson, approved by Secretary of State Dean Acheson, stated on the basis of an Office of Legal Counsel opinion that the Instrument of Accession could not finalize the accession to either dominion.[17][18] According to this memorandum, the Attorney General for England and Wales and Foreign Office legal advisors felt that the accession was inconsistent with Kashmir’s obligations to Pakistan, and for that reason it was "perhaps invalid".[18]

See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ Anand, Adarsh Sein (2007). The Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir: Its Development & Comments (5 ed.). Universal Law Publishing Company Pvt. Limited. p. 67. ISBN 978-81-7534-520-1.
  2. ^ Paul Bowers (30 March 2004). Kashmir, Research Paper 04/28, Library Research Paper, House of Commons Library, United Kingdom, p. 46, archived 26 March 2009.
  3. ^ Patricia Gossman, Vincent Iacopino, Physicians for Human Rights (U.S.) (1993). The Crackdown in Kashmir: Torture of Detainees and Assaults on the Medical Community. Human Rights Watch. p. 10. ISBN 978-1-879707-13-9.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  4. ^ Campbell, Bruce B.; Brenner, Arthur D. (2002). Death Squads in Global Perspective: Murder with Deniability. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 271. ISBN 978-1-4039-6094-8.
  5. ^ Thomas Bruce Millar, The Commonwealth and the United Nations (1967),page 26
  6. ^ Ganguly, Šumit (2002). Conflict Unending: India-Pakistan Tensions Since 1947. Columbia University Press. p. 154. ISBN 978-0-231-50740-0.
  7. ^ Noorani, A.G. (16–29 January 2010). "Kashmir Questions" (Volume 27 Issue 02 ed.). Frontline. Archived from the original on 11 July 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2011 – via from the publishers of The Hindu.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  8. ^ Schofield, Victoria (16 January 2002). "Kashmir: The origins of the dispute". BBC News. Retrieved 17 November 2021.
  9. ^ "Jammu all set to celebrate accession day". Sify. IANS. 25 October 2010. Archived from the original on 30 October 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2007.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  10. ^ a b Instrument of Accession of Jammu and Kashmir State dated 26 October, 1947,, accessed 28 October 2021
  11. ^ a b Accession of Jammu and Kashmir State to India,, accessed 28 October 2021
  12. ^ Raghavan, Srinath (2016), India's War: The Making of Modern South Asia, 1939-1945, Penguin Books Limited, pp. 107–108, ISBN 978-1-84614-543-8: "The question of when exactly he signed the instrument of accession has been the focus of much scholarly debate and has resulted in a literature out of all proportion to the importance of the matter. Suffice it to say that it was almost certainly signed on 27 October 1947—not the 26th as claimed by India."
  13. ^ Schofield, Victoria (2003) [First published in 2000], Kashmir in Conflict, London and New York: I. B. Taurus & Co, pp. 56–58, ISBN 1860648983
  14. ^ Whitehead, Andrew (2007). Full text: A Mission in Kashmir. Andrew Whitehead. ISBN 978-0-670-08127-1. Retrieved 27 August 2019.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. ^ Jha, Prem Shankar (2003), The Origins of a Dispute: Kashmir 1947, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-566486-7
  16. ^ Gupta, Y.R. (26 November 2018). "1947 - Pakistan Invasion (22nd October, 1947 Muzaffarabad Attacked)". Retrieved 17 November 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. ^ Schaffer 2009, p. 29.
  18. ^ a b "Foreign Relations of the United States, 1950, The Near East, South Asia, and Africa, Volume V - Office of the Historian". Washington. 6 February 1950. Retrieved 17 November 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]