Mehr Chand Mahajan
3rd Chief Justice of India
In office
4 January 1954 – 22 December 1954
Appointed byRajendra Prasad
Preceded byM. Patanjali Sastri
Succeeded byBijan Kumar Mukherjea
Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir
In office
15 October 1947 – 5 March 1948
Preceded byJanak Singh
Succeeded bySheikh Abdullah
Personal details
Born(1889-12-23)23 December 1889
Kangra, Punjab, British India
(now in Himachal Pradesh, India)
Died11 December 1967(1967-12-11) (aged 77)

Mehr Chand Mahajan (23 December 1889 – 11 December 1967) was an Indian jurist and politician who was the third chief justice of the Supreme Court of India. Prior to that he was the prime minister of the state of Jammu and Kashmir during the reign of Maharaja Hari Singh and played a key role in the accession of the state to India. He was the Indian National Congress nominee on the Radcliffe Commission that defined the boundaries of India and Pakistan.

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

Mehr Chand Mahajan was born on 23 December 1889 at Tika 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

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).

Justice of Punjab High Court

He became a Justice in the pre-independence Punjab High Court. While he was serving there, the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir called him to become his Prime Minister for the negotiations regarding merger with India.[2]

Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir

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.[3] Jammu & Kashmir acceded to India in October 1947 and Mahajan thus became the 1st Prime Minister of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, serving in that post until 5 March 1948.

Chief Justice, Supreme Court of India

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


  1. ^ a b Ravi Rohmetra, Mehr Chand Mahajan as PM of J&K, Daily Excelsior, 23 December 2016.
  2. ^ Mahajan, Mehr Chand (1963), Looking Back: The Autobiography of Mehr Chand Mahajan, Former Chief Justice of India, Asia Publishing House, pp 123.
  3. ^ "What soured the promise of Kashmir". Retrieved 18 September 2019.
Political offices Preceded byJanak Singh Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir 1947–1948 Succeeded bySheikh Abdullah
Legal offices Preceded byM. Patanjali Sastri Chief Justice of India 3 January 1954 – 22 December 1954 Succeeded byBijan Kumar Mukherjea