Justice Pankaj Mithal is a Judge of the Supreme Court of India. He has served as the Chief Justice of the Rajasthan High Court (2022-2023), Chief Justice of the Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court (2021-2022), and Judge of the Allahabad High Court (2006-2021).
Pankaj Mithal was born on Saturday, 17 June 1961 (age 61 years; as of 2022) in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, India. His zodiac sign is Gemini. He did his schooling at St. Mary’s Academy, Meerut, which is affiliated with the Indian School Certificate (I.S.C.) Board. Growing up in a family of lawyers intrigued Mithal to pursue a career in law. In 1982, he graduated in commerce from Allahabad University, and in 1985, he completed his LLB from Meerut College, affiliated with Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut.
Parents & Siblings
His father, Justice Narendra Nath Mithal (deceased), was a civil lawyer who practised at the District Court, Meerut. Narendra Nath Mithal served as the District Government Counsel (Civil) for several years before being elevated to Judge of the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad on 14 December 1978, where he served till 8 April 1992. His mother, Vimal Mithal (deceased), was a law graduate. She established the trust Justice Narendra Nath Mithal Memorial Foundation for patronizing legal education, particularly for girls. His younger brother, Pallav Mithal, is a political science teacher.
Wife & Children
His marital status is unknown.
His grandfather, Babu Brij Nath Mithal, was a lawyer in Uttar Pradesh. He also served as the Honorary Head of the law department at Meerut College, where the boys’ hostel of the law department was named BNM Hostel (Brij Nath Mithal Hostel) in his honour. His uncle Raghuvar Dayal Mithal, the eldest son of Brij Nath Mithal, was also a lawyer enrolled with Meerut Bar Association. Raghuvar was offered a Judgeship of the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad twice, but he declined it due to personal reasons.
In 1985, he enrolled as a lawyer with the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh. In the beginning, he worked under the guidance of Sudhir Chandra Verma, who later became the Judge of the Allahabad High Court and then Lokayukt, Uttar Pradesh. Mithal mainly undertook civil lawsuits, dealing with cases of land acquisition, rent control, education, labour, and other miscellaneous matters including service and constitution. He served as standing counsel for U.P. Avas Evam Vikas Parishad Lucknow from 1990 till his elevation to the bench and as standing counsel of Dr B.R. Ambedkar University, Agra from 1990 to February 2006. On July 7, 2006, he became an additional judge in the Allahabad High Court. On 2 July 2008, he was elevated to permanent judge in the Allahabad High Court. He served in the capacity till 3 January 2021. From 4 January 2021 to 13 October 2022, he served as the Chief Justice of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court.
On 14 October 2022, he was appointed as the 40th Chief Justice of the Rajasthan High Court.
On 6 February 2023, he was elevated to Judge of Supreme Court of India.
Other Judges elevated as SC judges were Manipur HC Chief Justice PV Sanjay Kumar, Patna HC judge Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah, Patna HC judge Sanjay Karol and Allahabad HC judge Justice Manoj Misra.
CPI(M)’s letter to the President seeking the removal of Mithal from Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh HC
In 2021, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) wrote a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind demanding the removal of the Chief Justice of the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh Pankaj Mithal over remarks made by him on the addition of the words “socialist” and “secular” to the Preamble to the Constitution. While addressing a seminar organized by the Akhil Bharatiya Adhivakta Parishad, an organization affiliated with the RSS, Mithal said,
Inclusion of the terms secular and socialist in the Preamble of the Constitution had narrowed India’s spiritual image.”
Further, he added,
Sometimes, we bring amendments due to our adamancy.”
The letter also asserted that Justice Mithal had “violated his oath and compromised the Constitutional Office held by him” by speaking against the Constitution of India.
- He was fond of collecting stamps since childhood, and he has a keen interest in philately (the study of postage stamps).
- He was associated with several committees of the Allahabad High Court and also served as the Chairman of several of them including the Library Committee, Higher Judicial Services Committee, and the committee to supervise the construction of the High Court Museum. Additionally, he was a member of Sesquicentennial Committee’s Sub-Committee on Coins and Postage Stamps, which supervised the release of a set of two stamps with the pictures of buildings of the Allahabad High Court and the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court. The sub-committee also oversaw the issuance of a set of commemorative coins of Rs.150/- Coin and Rs.5/- with the logo of the High Court by the President of India on 13 March 2016 during the inaugural ceremony of the 150th anniversary of the High Court.
- While posted at Lucknow, he also worked as Chairman State Advisory Board under the National Security Act. Apart from that. he was the Chairman of La Martiniere College (both boys and girls wing, Lucknow).
- When Mithal was working as a lawyer, he penned an article titled “Birth and History of the Allahabad High Court,” which was widely published in various local newspapers and Law Journals. One of his articles on “Code of Conduct of Lawyers” was twice published in a law magazine Laws published from New Delhi.
- He was twice nominated as a member of the Executive Council of Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidhyapith, Varanasi by the Governor of Uttar Pradesh. Later, he was nominated as a member of the Executive Council of Choudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut.
- Mithal is a trustee of Etawah Hindi Sewa Nidhi, founded and promoted by Justice Late Prem Shankar Gupta for the promotion of Hindi and other Indian languages.
- In August 2022, while serving as the Chief Justice of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court, Mithal laid the foundation stone of the Court Complex building and residential quarters at Akhnoor to augment the infrastructural facilities.
- Pankaj Mithal is also a trustee of Justice Narendra Nath Mithal Memorial Foundation, founded by his mother in honour of his father.