Constitution of India

Article 142 Constitution of India

Article 142 Constitution of India- Enforcement of decrees and orders of Supreme Court and orders as to discovery, etc. 

(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, 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.

(2) Subject to the provisions of any law made in this behalf by Parliament, the Supreme Court shall, as respects the whole of the territory of India, 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.


COMMENT

Under Article 142 of the Constitution this Court in 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. The expression “cause” or “matter” would include any proceeding pending in court and it would cover almost every kind of proceeding in court including civil or criminal. Though there is no provision like Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code conferring express power on the Supreme Court to quash or set aside any criminal proceedings pending before a criminal court to prevent abuse of process of the court, but the inherent power of this Court under Article 142 coupled with the plenary and residuary powers under Articles 32 and 136 embraces power to quash criminal proceedings pending before any court to do complete justice in the matter before this Court. If the court is satisfied that the proceedings in a criminal case are being utilised for oblique purposes or if the same are continued on manufactured and false evidence or if no case is made out on the admitted facts, it would be in the ends of justice to set aside or quash the criminal proceedings. Once this Court is satisfied that the criminal proceedings amount to abuse of process of court, it would quash such proceedings to ensure justice. This Court’s power under Article 142(1) to do “complete justice” is entirely of different level and of a different quality. What would be the need of complete justice in a cause or matter would depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case and while exercising that power the Court would take into consideration the express provisions of a substantive statute. Any prohibition or restriction contained in ordinary laws cannot act as a limitation on the constitutional power of this Court. Once this Court has seisin of a cause or matter before it, it has power to issue any order or direction to do “complete justice” in the matter.

While considering the nature and ambit of its own power under this Article, this Court observed that it was advisable to leave its power undefined and uncatalogued so that it remains elastic enough to be molded to suit the given situation; even where no alternative remedy is efficacious due to lapse of time. [see Delhi Development Authority v. Skipper Construction Co. (P) Ltd. [(1996) 4 SCC 622] relying on Re: Vinay Chandra Mishra (1995) 2 SCC 584 and Kerala State Electricity Board v. Kurien E. Kalathil (2000) 6 SCC 293). The power to do complete justice under this Article is. in a way, corrective power, which gives preference to equity over law. It is a residuary power, supplementary and complementary to the powers specially conferred by the statutes to do complete justice between the parties whenever it is just and equitable to do so. It is intended to prevent any obstruction to the stream of justice.[Dr. Monica Kumar and ANR Vs State of U.P and ORS-27/05/2008]

(Emphasis supplied)

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