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Kailash Nath Katju

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Kailash Nath Katju (17 June 1887 – 17 February 1968) was a prominent politician of India. He was the Governor of Orissa and West Bengal, the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, the Union Home Minister and the Union Defence Minister. He was also one of India's most prominent lawyers. He was part of some of the most riveting cases of his times, including the famous INA trials. Dr Katju joined the freedom struggle against the British rule in India early on and spent several years incarcerated with fellow freedom fighters.

Kailash Nath Katju
Minister of Defence
In office
10 January 1955 – 31 January 1957
Preceded by Baldev Singh
Succeeded by V. K. Krishna Menon
Minister of Home Affairs
In office
25 October 1951 – 10 January 1955
Preceded by C. Rajagopalachari
Succeeded by Govind Ballabh Pant
3rd Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh
In office
31 January 1957 – 11 March 1962
Preceded by Bhagwantrao Mandloi
Succeeded by Bhagwantrao Mandloi
Governor of West Bengal
In office
21 June 1948 – 1 November 1951
Preceded by C. Rajagopalachari (acting)
Succeeded by Harendra Coomar Mookerjee
Governor of Odisha
In office
15 August 1947 – 20 June 1948
Preceded by Chandulal Madhavlal Trivedi
Succeeded by Asaf Ali
Personal details
Born Kailash Nath Katju
(1887-06-17)17 June 1887
Jaora, Jaora State, Malwa Agency, British India
(present-day Madhya Pradesh, India)
Died 17 February 1968(1968-02-17) (aged 80)
Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India
Nationality Indian
Political party Indian National Congress
Spouse(s) Rup Kishori
Children 5; including Shiva Nath Katju
  • Lawyer
  • Politician


Early lifeEdit

Kailash Nath Katju was born in the princely state of Jaora (in present-day Madhya Pradesh) on 17 June 1887. His family were Kashmiri Pandits who had settled in Jaora. His father Tribhuwan Nath Katju was a former dewan of the state.[1][2] Kailash Nath was educated at the Barr High School in Jaora, when he was sent to Lahore to study at the Rangmahal High School. He passed his matriculation examination from Panjab University the following year before completing his graduation from Forman Christian College, Lahore, in March 1905.[3] In July that year, he joined the Muir Central College in Allahabad. In September 1907, he received a degree in laws from the Allahabad University, standing second in the province. In 1908, he received a master's degree in history from the same university. He began legal profession that year in Kanpur that year before moving to Allahabad in 1914.[1] He complete his doctorate in law, the LL.D. from Allahabad University in 1919, joining the Allahabad High Court as an advocate in 1921.[3]


Katju defended the accused in the Meerut Conspiracy Case in Allahabad High Court in 1933 and later the military officers accused at the Indian National Army trials at the Red Fort in Delhi. On 17 July 1937, he became the Minister of Law and Justice and Parliamentary Affairs of the United Provinces in the Govind Ballabh Pant's cabinet. He was elected to the legislature from the constituency of Allahad district (Doaba).[4] The ministry resigned on 2 November 1939 and soon Katju was imprisoned for 18 months. He was again imprisoned in 1942. He also served in the Constituent Assembly of India. Between 1935 and 1937, he served as the chairman of the Allahabad Municipal Board, and later as chancellor of Prayag Mahila Vidyapith, Allahabad.[3]

Following the independence of India, Katju held many high political positions. Initially he was made the Governor of Orissa from 15 August 1947 to 20 June 1948. He became the Governor of West Bengal on 21 June 1948 and was in office till 31 October 1951. In 1951 he was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Mandsaur constituency, joining the cabinet of Jawaharlal Nehru as Law Minister in 1951. In November 1951 he succeeded C. Rajagopalachari as the country's third Home Minister. In 1955 he was made the Defence Minister. He became the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh on 31 January 1957, remaining in office till 11 March 1962. He also held the portfolios for general administration, home, publicity, planning and development, co-ordination and anti-corruption.[5]

Personal lifeEdit

Katju and his wife Rup Kishori had five children together: three sons and two daughters.[3][1] Son Brahma Nath Katju (1927–) served as chief justice of the Allahabad High Court.[6] The eldest son, Shiva Nath, served as a judge at the same Court, and also as member of the Uttar Pradesh legislature. Kailash Nath's grandson, Markandey Katju, served as a judge in the Supreme Court of India. His daughter was married into a Bengali family, and whose daughter, Tilottama Tharoor, a professor at the New York University, was the first wife of politician and former diplomat Shashi Tharoor.

Katju had recovered from a kidney ailment he had suffered in the summer of 1967. After his condition deteriorated in early February 1968, he died at 7:55 p.m. (IST) at his residence in Allahabad.[2] The last rites were performed by son Shiva Nath on the bank of the Ganges the following day.[7]


Dr Kailash Nath Katju wrote many books, some of which are the following:

  • Experiments in Advocacy: A Colossus in the Courts of Justice
  • The days I remember
  • Reminiscences and experiments in advocacy

He also wrote many articles and delivered many memorable speeches, including the following:

  • Some Judges and Lawyers whom I knew[8]
  • Speech delivered on 27 November 1966, on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of the High Court Building.[9]

Founder of National HeraldEdit

He was one of the founders of Associated Journals Ltd. and one of the seven original subscribers of the Memorandum of Association of the company which published National Herald and two other newspapers.[10] His shares were usurped by a company formed and closely held by Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi and two others in 2012. There is a legal case of criminal conspiracy in this regard against the mother-son duo in a court of law in Delhi.

Articles and speeches about Dr Kailash Nath KatjuEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Members Bioprofile: Katju, Dr. Kailas Nath". Lok Sabha. Archived from the original on 28 February 2018. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  2. ^ a b "K. N. Katju passes away". The Indian Express. Press Trust of India. 18 February 1968. p. 7.
  3. ^ a b c d Reed, Stanley (1950). The Indian And Pakistan Year Book And Who's Who 1950. Bennett Coleman and Co. Ltd. p. 698. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  4. ^ Reed, Stanley (1941). The Indian Year Book 1940-41. Bennett Coleman and Co. Ltd. p. 132. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  5. ^ India: A Reference Annual 1960. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. 1960. p. 419. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  6. ^ "Hon'ble Mr. Brahma Nath Katju". Archived from the original on 7 October 2007. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  7. ^ "Katju cremated". The Indian Express. Press Trust of India. 19 February 1968. p. 9.
  8. ^
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