Judicial Reforms

Supreme Court invokes Special Powers under Art. 142

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Discretionary powers of the Supreme Court

Mains level : Executie and Judiciary


The Supreme Court has removed a Minister against whom disqualification petitions were pending before the Speaker since 2017. The court invoked its discretionary powers under Art. 142 of the Indian Constitution.

What is Article 142?

  • Article 142 of the Constitution empowers the Supreme Court to 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 orders so made shall be enforceable throughout the territory of India.
  • The phrase ‘necessary for doing complete justice’ encompasses a power of equity which is employed when the strict application of the law is inadequate to produce a just outcome.
  • The power under Article 142 can be exercised when the SC has to decide difficult cases where adequate laws may not exist, or existing laws may not be adequate, in order to deliver complete justice.

Scope and limitations

  • Supreme Court in State of Punjab v Rafiq Masih (2014) has opined that- Article 142 of the Constitution of India is supplementary in nature and cannot supersede the substantive provisions, though they are not limited by the substantive provisions in the statute”.
  • Article 212 of the Constitution bars courts from inquiring into proceedings of the Legislature.
  • In this case, however, prompted by the fact that the Speaker’s conduct has been called into question on several occasions, the court invoked Article 142.

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