Article 142 of the Indian Constitution

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The Supreme Court recently directed sale of ancestral property of a man to pay arrears of maintenance of Rs. 1.25 Crores to his wife under its inherent powers under Article 142.

About Article 142 of the Indian Constitution

  • It deals with the Supreme Court's power to exercise its jurisdiction and pass an order for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it.
  • It provides the apex court with a special and extraordinary power and is meant to provide justice to litigants who have suffered traversed illegality or injustice in the course of legal proceedings.
  • Article 142(1) states that “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, and any decree so passed or order so made shall be enforceable throughout the territory of India 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 allows the Supreme Court to deliver justice in exceptional cases where existing provisions or laws are not applicable. 
  • If a legislative enactment seeks to make unenforceable the decree or order of the Supreme Court made under Article 142, in relation to the cause and the parties between whom it was made, such law would be void for contravening Article 142[8].
  • Significant cases where Article 142 was invoked:
    • Babri Masjid Case: The article was used in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case and was instrumental in the handover of the disputed land to a trust to be formed by the union government.
    • Bhopal Gas Tragedy: The SC invoked its plenary powers in the Union Carbide vs Union Govt case and intervened to provide compensation to victims of the deadly Bhopal Gas Tragedy.

Q1) What is Article 144 of the Constitution of India?

This article empowers the Supreme Court of India as the highest judicial authority in the country and mandates that all civil and judicial authorities within the territory of India must assist and act in conformity with the decisions and orders of the Supreme Court.

Source: [Article 142] Supreme Court Issues Directions For Sale And Attachment Of Assets To Clear Arrears Of Maintenance To Woman Abandoned By Husband