Home   »   Indian Polity   »   Article 142 of Indian Constitution

Article 142 of Indian Constitution, Significance and Use of Article 142

Context: The Supreme Court declared Kuldeep Kumar as the new Mayor of Chandigarh (UT).

Article 142 of Indian Constitution

  • Empower the Supreme Court to pass any decree or order necessary for doing “complete justice” in any case or matter pending before it.
  • Ensures such decree or order is enforceable throughout the territory of India.

Significance of Article 142

  • Grants the Supreme Court the unique power to transcend the limitations of law or statute to ensure justice for the parties involved.
  • Allows the Supreme Court to exercise executive and legislative functions in certain situations, such as issuing guidelines, directions, or orders to the government or other authorities.
  • Permits the Supreme Court to intervene in matters of public interest, human rights, constitutional values, or fundamental rights, and to protect them from any violation or infringement.
  • Enhances the Supreme Court’s role as the guardian of the Constitution and as the final arbiter of the law, and fosters judicial activism and innovation.

We’re now on WhatsAppClick to Join

Examples of Supreme Court’s Use of Article 142

  • Ordered the release of undertrial prisoners who have spent more than half of the maximum sentence prescribed for their offences.
  • Directed the government to provide free and compulsory education to children between 6 and 14 years of age.
  • Appointed a committee to oversee the investigation and prosecution of the 2G spectrum scam.
  • Cancelled the allocation of 214 coal blocks that were found to be illegal and arbitrary.
  • Granted permanent commission to women officers in the Indian Army.

Supreme Court and Article 142

  • Prem Chand Garg Case: The court held that the exercise of powers under Article 142 must be consistent with the fundamental rights and cannot contravene statutory laws.
  • Antulay Case: The ruling in Prem Chand Garg was affirmed, maintaining the scope of Article 142 as defined earlier.
  • Union Carbide Corporation vs Union of India, 1991: The Supreme Court used Article 142 to order Union Carbide to pay $470 million in compensation for the Bhopal gas tragedy.
    • The court clarified that it is incorrect to suggest that statutory provisions can limit the powers granted by a constitutional provision such as Article 142, asserting that constitutional authority prevails over statutory limitations.
Criticism of Article 142 Judicial Response and Rulings
Arbitrary and ambiguous powers with a lack of clear definition for “complete justice”. Supreme Court Bar Association vs Union of India (1998): Clarified that Article 142 powers are supplementary and cannot override existing laws.
Broad discretion allows for arbitrary or misuse of powers. Curative Limitation: Emphasised that powers are curative and must respect substantive rights and statutory provisions.
Risk of indirect achievement of goals not directly permissible. Stated that Article 142 cannot be used to achieve indirectly what cannot be done directly.
Potential injustice to individuals not party to the case. A. Jideranath vs Jubilee Hills Co-op House Building Society: Held that the exercise of Article 142 should not cause injustice to non-parties.
The judiciary’s actions under Article 142 lack accountability, raising separation of powers concerns. Checks on Judicial Overreach: Acknowledged the separation of powers and imposed self-checks to prevent judicial overreach.
Possibility of judicial overreach into the legislative domain. State of Karnataka vs Umadevi: Reinforced that Article 142 should accord with law and not sympathy, avoiding illegality or legislative encroachment.

Sharing is caring!

About the Author

I, Sakshi Gupta, am a content writer to empower students aiming for UPSC, PSC, and other competitive exams. My objective is to provide clear, concise, and informative content that caters to your exam preparation needs. I strive to make my content not only informative but also engaging, keeping you motivated throughout your journey!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *