Pralhad Gajendragadkar
7th Chief Justice of India
In office
1 February 1964 – 15 March 1966
Appointed bySarvepalli Radhakrishnan
Preceded byBhuvaneshwar Prasad Sinha
Succeeded byAmal Kumar Sarkar
Chairman, 6th & 7th Law Commission of India
In office
Personal details
Born(1901-03-16)16 March 1901
Satara, Bombay Presidency, British India
Died12 June 1981(1981-06-12) (aged 80)
Bombay, Maharashtra, India
ChildrenDr. Sharad Jahagirdar, Asha Kirtane
RelativesAshvathamacharya (brother)
Alma materKarnatak College, Dharwar, Deccan College (Pune), ILS Law College
AwardsPadma Vibhushan, Zala Vedant Prize

Pralhad Balacharya Gajendragadkar (16 March 1901 – 12 June 1981) originally from Gajendra-Gad, a historic fort and town in southern India[1][2] was the 7th Chief Justice of India, serving from February 1964 to March 1966.

Early life and career

Prahlad Balacharya Gajendragadkar was born into Deshastha Madhva Brahmin family on 16 March 1901 to Gajendragadkar Balacharya in Satara, Bombay Presidency.[3] The family of Gajendragadkar's, migrated from Gajendragad, a town in Dharwad district in Karnataka to Satara (now part of Maharashtra).[4] Gajendragadkar's father Bal-Acharya (Teacher) was a Sanskrit Vidwan (scholar). P. B. Gajendragadkar, the youngest son of Bal-Acharya spread the fame of the family name Gajendra-Gadkar name. He followed his older brother Ashvathama-Acharys to Mumbai and carried the torch of the Gajendragadkar tradition in Nyaya (Law) to the western world. He passed M.A. from Deccan College (Pune) in 1924 and LL.B. with honors from the ILS Law College in 1926 and joined the Bombay Bar on the Appellate side. In the early days, he edited the 'Hindu Law Quarterly. His critical edition of the classic 'Dattaka Mimamsa' earned him a great reputation for scholarship. He became the acknowledged leader of the Bombay Bar, well known for his forensic skill and legal acumen. He was influenced by Jawaharlal Nehru's rationality and scholasticism.[5]

In 1945, he was appointed a Judge of the Bombay High Court. In January 1956, he was elevated to the Supreme Court Bench and rose to become the Chief Justice of India in 1964. His contribution to the development of Constitutional and Industrial Law has been hailed as great and unique.

Gajendragadkar intervened and got the then Chief Justice of the Madras High Court S. Ramachandra Iyer to resign after a lawyer G. Vasantha Pai found evidence that he forged his date of birth to avoid compulsory retirement at the age of 60 as the case filed by Pai would severely damage the judiciary and he got Ramachandra Iyer to resign before the case came up for hearing this led the case to be dismissed as he had already resigned his lordship.[6][7]

At the request of the Government of India, he headed a number of commissions such as the Central Law Commission, National Commission on Labour and the Bank Award Commission. At the request of Indira Gandhi, then the Prime Minister of India, he held the honorary office of the Gandhigram Rural Institute in Southern India.

He served twice as the President of Social Reform Conference and organized campaigns for eradicating the evils of casteism, untouchability, superstition and obscurantism to promote national integration and unity.

Gajendragadkar also carried forward the Madhva tradition of Vedanta and Mimasa. He served as the General Editor of 'The Ten Classical Upanishads', a series sponsored by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. Like his father, Gajendragadkar was also a Mukhasta-vidwan.

Personal life

Gajendragadkar had 2 daughters, Dr. (Mrs.) Sharad Jahagirdar, a renowned gynaecologist who resided in Mumbai, and Asha Kirtane, an artist residing in Pune. His eldest daughter, Dr. (Mrs.) Sharad Jahagirdar married Justice Raghavendra Jahagirdar who served as a judge on the Bombay High Court.


Positions held



In 1972, Gajendragadkar was awarded the Padma Vibhushan award from the Government of India.


  1. ^ -Biography of P B Gajendragadkar
  2. ^ - From Gajendra-Gad Archived 2008-12-31 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Sharma 2000, p. 547.
  4. ^ Pralhad Balacharya Gajendragadkar (1967). Jawaharlal Nehru: A Glimpse of the Man and His Teachings. Nagpur University.
  5. ^ Indian Dissertation Abstracts, Volume 10, p. 102, "Similarly, Gajendragadkar was influenced by Nehru's scholasticism, rationality, and secularism"
  6. ^ "The controversy over age... then and now". The Hindu. 29 January 2012. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  7. ^ G. Vasantha Pai vs Sri S. Ramachandra Iyer, 2 MLJ 151 (1967).
  8. ^ - Open Library P. B. Gajendragadkar


Legal offices Preceded byBhuvaneshwar Prasad Sinha Chief Justice of India 31 January 1964 – 15 March 1966 Succeeded byAmal Kumar Sarkar