From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Art 142, EPS
Mains level : Not Much
The Supreme Court has upheld the Employees’ Pension (Amendment) Scheme, 2014 of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization as “legal and valid” while reading down certain provisions, using its extraordinary powers under Article 142.
What did the Courte rule?
- The court struck down a requirement in the 2014 amendments that employees who go beyond the salary threshold (of ₹15,000 per month) should contribute monthly to the pension scheme at the rate of 1.16% of their salary.
What is Article 142?
Article 142 titled ‘Enforcement of decrees and orders of the Supreme Court and orders as to discovery, etc.’ has two clauses:
 Article 142(1)
- The Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it.
- Any decree so passed or order so made shall be enforceable throughout the territory of India.
- It may be in such manner as may be prescribed by or under any law made by Parliament and, until provision in that behalf is so made, in such manner as the President may by order prescribe.
 Article 142(2)
- The Supreme Court shall have all and every power to make any order for the purpose of securing the attendance of any person, the discovery or production of any documents, or the investigation or punishment of any contempt of itself.
Important instances when Article 142 was invoked
- Bhopal Gas tragedy case: The SC awarded a compensation of $470 million to the victims and held that “prohibitions or limitations or provisions contained in ordinary laws cannot, ipso facto, act as prohibitions or limitations on the constitutional powers under Article 142.”
- Babri Masjid demolition case: The Supreme Court ordered framing of a scheme by the Centre for formation of trust to construct Ram Mandir at the Masjid demolition site in Ayodhya.
- Liquor sale ban case: The Supreme Court banned liquor shops within a distance of 500 metres from National as well as State highways in order to prevent drunken driving.
- Ex-PM Assassin case: In the case of Perarivalan, the Supreme Court invoked Article 142(1) under which it was empowered to pass any order necessary to do complete justice in any matter pending before it.
Try this PYQ from CSP 2019:
Q.With reference to the Constitution of India, prohibitions or limitations or provisions contained in ordinary laws cannot act as prohibitions or limitations on the constitutional powers under Article 142. It could mean which one of the following?
(a) The decisions taken by the Election Commission of India while discharging its duties cannot be challenged in any court of law.
(b) The Supreme Court of India is not constrained in the exercise of its powers by laws made by the Parliament.
(c) In the event of grave financial crisis in the country, the President of India can declare Financial Emergency without the counsel from the Cabinet.
(d) State Legislatures cannot make laws on certain matters without the concurrence of Union Legislature.
Post your answers here.
Back2Basics: Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS)
- EPS is a social security scheme that was launched in 1995 and is facilitated by EPFO.
- The scheme makes provisions for pensions for the employees in the organized sector after retirement at the age of 58 years.
- Employees who are members of EPFO automatically become eligible for EPS.
- Both employer and employee contribute 12% of employee’s monthly salary (basic wages plus dearness allowance) to the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) scheme.
- EPF scheme is mandatory for employees who draw a basic wage of Rs. 15,000 per month.
- Of the employer’s share of 12 %, 8.33 % is diverted towards the EPS.