Terrorism and Challenges Related To It

Explained: Article 142 of the Constitution


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Article 142

Mains level: Read the attached story

The Supreme Court has exercised the power conferred on it under Article 142 of the Constitution to order the release of former Prime Minister’s assassination convict.

Supreme Court frees Perarivalan

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:

[1] 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.

[2] 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.

History of Article 142

  • When a draft Constitution was prepared by the drafting committee and placed before the Constituent Assembly, Article 142 was actually numbered as Article 118.
  • It was placed before the Constituent Assembly on May 27, 1949 for debate but got adopted on the same day without any debate.
  • This was possibly because everyone agreed that in order to ensure judicial independence, the highest court of the country must be empowered with plenary power to do complete justice.

Articles invoked in Perarivalan 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.
  • It held that it was not a fit case to be remanded to the Governor for his consideration under Article 161 of the Constitution.

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.

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.
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2 years ago
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2 years ago

Hi ma’am , in this question article 142 (1) is not regarding with complete justice as per the constitution. Can you please elaborate? I am little bit confused

Last edited 2 years ago by VAIBHAV
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2 years ago
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Answer would be B.

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1 year ago
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