Mehr Chand Mahajan

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The Honourable

Justice Mehr Chand Mahajan
Justice Mehr Chand Mahajan.jpg
3rd Chief Justice of India
In office
4 January 1954 – 22 December 1954
Appointed byRajendra Prasad
Preceded byM. Patanjali Sastri
Succeeded byBijan Kumar Mukherjea
1st Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir
In office
15 October 1947 – 5 March 1948
Preceded byJanak Singh
Succeeded bySheikh Abdullah
Personal details
BornKangra, Punjab, British India
(now in Himachal Pradesh, India)

Justice Mehr Chand Mahajan (23 December 1889 in Nagrota, Kangra district – 1967) was the third Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India. Prior to that he was the 1st Prime Minister of Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir during the reign of Maharaja Hari Singh and played a key role in the accession of J&K to India. He was the Indian National Congress nominee on the Radcliffe Commission that defined the boundaries of India and Pakistan.

Justice Mahajan made his name as an accomplished lawyer, a respected judge, and an influential politician. As a judge he was incisive and forthright and had many leading judgements to his credit.

Early life[edit]

Mehr Chand Mahajan was born in 1889 in Nagrota in the Kangra district of Punjab, British India (now In Himachal Pradesh). His father, Lala Brij Lal, was an advocate, who later established a reputed legal practice at Dharmsala.[1]

After completing middle school, Mahajan went to study in the Government College, Lahore, graduating in 1910. He enrolled in M.Sc. Chemistry, but switched to law following persuasion from his father. He earned an LL.B. degree in 1912.[1]

Career as a lawyer[edit]

Mahajan started his career as a lawyer in 1913 in Dharamsala, where he spent a year practising. He spent the next four years (1914-1918) as a lawyer in Gurdaspur. He then practiced law in Lahore from 1918 to 1943. During his time there, he served as president of the High Court Bar Association of Lahore (1938 to 1943).

Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir[edit]

Mahajan visited Kashmir on invitation of the Maharani in September 1947 and was asked to be the Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir which he accepted. On 15 October 1947, Mahajan was appointed the Prime Minister of Jammu & Kashmir and played a role in the accession of the state to India. [2]Jammu & Kashmir acceded to India in October 1947 and thus Mahajan became the 1st Prime Minister of the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir and served till 5 March 1948.

Chief Justice, Supreme Court of India[edit]

Mahajan took office as the third Chief Justice of India on 4 January 1954. He was the head of India's judicial system for almost a year, until his retirement on 22 December 1954 (mandatory retirement at age 65). Before becoming Chief Justice he served as one of the first Judges of the Supreme Court of independent India from 4 October 1948 to 3 January 1954.

Other positions of note[edit]

  • Director, Punjab National Bank, 1933–43
  • Pres. D.A.V. College, Managing Committee, 1938–43
  • Fellow and Syndic, Punjab University, 1940–47
  • Judge, Lahore High Court, 1943
  • All India Fruit Products Association Bombay Session, 1945
  • Member, R.I.N. Mutiny Commission, 1946
  • 1947 Dewan, Jammu and Kashmir State 1947-48
  • Judge, East Punjab High Court
  • Punjab Boundary Commission, 1947
  • Syndic, East Punjab University, 1947–50
  • Constitutional Adviser to His Highness the Maharaja of Bikaner, 1948
  • Hon. Degree of LL.D., Punjab University; 1948
  • Member, Fruit Development Board, Punjab
  • Commission on Belgaum (dispute between Karnataka and Maharashtra), 1967


  1. ^ a b Ravi Rohmetra, Mehr Chand Mahajan as PM of J&K, Daily Excelsior, 23 December 2016.
  2. ^ "What soured the promise of Kashmir". Retrieved 18 September 2019.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Janak Singh
Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir
Succeeded by
Sheikh Abdullah
Legal offices
Preceded by
M. Patanjali Sastri
Chief Justice of India
3 January 1954 – 22 December 1954
Succeeded by
Bijan Kumar Mukherjea