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Today is the death anniversary of Justice Mohammed Hidayatullah (17 December 1905 – 18 September 1992) was the 11th Chief Justice of India serving from 25 February 1968 to 16 December 1970, and the sixth Vice President of India, serving from 31 August 1979 to 30 August 1984. He had also served as the Acting President of India from 20 July 1969 to 24 August 1969 and from 6 October 1982 to 31 October 1982.and from 25 July 1983 to 25 July 1983.and from 25 July 1984 to 25 July 1984. He is regarded as an eminent jurist, scholar, educationist, author and linguist.

Hidayatullah was born in 1905 in the well-known family of Khan Bahadur Hafiz Mohammed Wilayatullah. His grand father Munshi Kudartullah was advocate in Varanasi. After completing primary education at the Government High School of Raipur in 1922, Hidayatullah attended Morris College in Nagpur, where he was nominated as the Phillip's Scholar in 1926. When he graduated in 1926, he was awarded the Malak Gold Medal. Following the trend of Indians studying British law abroad, Hidayatullah attended Trinity College at the University of Cambridge from 1927 to 1930 and obtained B.A. and M.A. Degrees from there. Here he secured the 2nd order of merit and was awarded a gold medal for his performance in 1930. He was called to the Bar from Lincoln's Inn when he was just 25 years old. He was awarded LL.D. On 24 June 1946, Hidayatullah was appointed as Additional Judge of that High Court of Central Provinces and Berar and on 13 September 1946 he was appointed as permanent judge of said High Court where he served until being elevated to Chief Justice of the Nagpur High Court in 1954 on 3 December 1954, being the youngest Chief Justice of a High Court. On 1 December 1958, he was elevated as a justice to the Supreme Court of India. In his time he was the youngest judge of the Supreme Court of India. After serving as a judge for nearly 10 years, he was appointed as the Chief Justice of India on 28 February 1968 – becoming the first Muslim Chief Justice of India. He retired from this position on 16 December 1970. During his term as the Chief Justice of India, the then-President of India, Zakir Husain died suddenly, in harness, on 3 May 1969. Then Vice President of India Mr. V. V. Giri became the acting President. Later, Giri resigned from both offices as acting president and Vice-President to become a candidate in the 1969 Presidential Election. Hidayatullah then served as the President of India for a short period from 20 July to 24 August. The visit of President of the United States Richard Nixon to India made his presidential term historic. After his retirement, Hidayatullah was elected as the Vice-President of India by a consensus among different parties and occupied that high office with distinction from 1979 to August 1984. During his tenure as the Vice-President, he won the respect of all concerned for his impartiality and independence. In 1982, when the then President Zail Singh went to the U.S. for medical treatment, Vice-President Hidayatullah officiated as president from 6 October 1982 to 31 October 1982. Thus, he officiated as acting president twice. Having served at all of these positions made Hidayatullah unique among other members of Indian history. He became the only person to have served in all three offices of Chief Justice of India, President of India, and the Vice President of India.

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