Published by: Madhav Goswami.
College: GLA university, Mathura.
Article 142 of the Constitution of India deals with, Discretionary power of the Supreme Court
to pass any such order that it regard as necessary for “Complete Justice”, in any matter which
is presented unsettled before it. The aforementioned Article was validated by the Constituent
Assembly on 27th May, 1949, that provides the Apex Court of the Country plenipotentiary
competence to secure the impartial and reliable administration of justice.
One of the Landmark cases where the Apex court of the Country exercised its power under
Article 142 of the Constitution was “Ram Janam Bhumi” case. A Constitutional Bench of
Supreme Court passed a judgment which allowed the construction of lord Ram’s temple on the
land which was disputed earlier. On the other hand, a five-acre land was also allotted to “Uttar
Pradesh Sunni Wakf Board” in order to construct a Mosque simultaneously.
From the above it is clearly evident that from past few years, the frequent usage of Article 142
of the Indian Constitution has been increased by the honorable Supreme Court of the country
for delivering the complete justice in the society. Whereas, a set of uniform guidelines has not
been framed for the usage of this article.
Article 142, on the other hand, has been acted an important tool for securing the parallel ends
of justice respectively.
Purview of Article 142 of the Indian Constitution
Clause 1 of Article 142 of the Constitution of India states that the Apex Court of the country is
allowed to pass any such order that it considers necessary for ensuring the complete justice in
any matter which comes undecided or disputed before it. The objective behind formulation of
the said article was the failure of existing provisions of law in dealing with the present
circumstances dexterously and satisfactorily.
Article 142(1) includes the phrase “complete justice” which creates a wide ambit for the apex
Court of the country for the usage of its plenary power inherent in this article respectively. The
said phrase has been articulated with resilience in order to satisfy the needs of compounded
state of affairs created by a human enterprise or are the outcomes of any enactment passed
under Article 32, Article 136 and Article 141 of the Indian Constitution.
If we take a look into the case of “Ashok Kumar Gupta vs. State of Uttar Pradesh” (1997) in
which the Supreme Court of India was considered as the sole-repository of such broad powers
inherent under Article 142 of the Constitution of India and is also permitted to issue a number
of orders under the statute simultaneously.
Whereas in another case of “Ritesh Sinha” (2019), it was the Apex Court which invoked
Article 142 of the Indian Constitution in order to gather the mandatory voice samples of the
accused as there was no existent provision regarding the collection of such voice samples of
the accused in the present laws.
Therefore, it can be clearly said that the presence of various other case-laws like Bhopal Gas
Leak Tragedy Case, Restriction from selling liquor on highway service-lane shows that the use
of this Article by the Supreme Court is important in order to secure the ends of justice in society
which in itself creates the wide and diversified use of Article 142 of the Constitution
Judicial Activism is the outcome of a judicial notion which permits the judiciary of the country
to reach beyond its limits in deciding a broader connotation of any statute or enactment in the
welfare of the public at large. It is considered contradictory of another judicial philosophy, that
is, Judicial Restraint respectively. The Scope of Judicial Activism or Judicial Interference
comes into existence where the following three situations or conditions takes place
(A): Parliamentary/Congressional Vacuity: –
Where the presence of any law is absent for any certain offence or a particular crime that has
occurred initially, the use of Judicial Activism comes into play. This condition can be
understand with the help of a case namely, “Bhanwari Devi and Ors. vs. State of Rajasthan”
dated 17th January, 2002. In the given case, there was the absence of law for governing the
regulations in the situation of sexual harassment with women at workplaces.
The Supreme Court in the said case took Suo-moto and passed a set of uniform guidelines
which governs the rules & regulations regarding the harassment of women at their workplaces,
namely, “Vishakha Guidelines”.
(B): Administrative Resistance: –
The Another famous case of Hossainara Khatoon (1979), created the usage of power of Judicial
Activism in the situation of administrative resistance or non-compliance on the part of
executive organ of the government. In the given case, the Government of Bihar ignored the
violation of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, although the matter was noted by the
government but no action was taken on their part. The Apex Court instantly intervened in the
said matter and created a concept of “Right to Speedy Trial” which is now a part of Right to
life under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.
(C): Failure of both the Legislature and Executive: –
Where both the organs of government i.e., the law-maker (Legislature) and the law-regulator
(Executive) fails to recognize and satisfy the circumstances, Judicial Activism comes into
picture simultaneously. Majority of decisions given by the Supreme Court can be seen in this
regard such as prohibiting the usage of sparklers responsible for damaging the environment by
The Judicial system of our country has been consistently criticized for its intervention in
various complex circumstances but as a pillar of democracy its far-stretched approach has been
a successful attempt in securing the ends of justice. Where the present laws are not enough to
deal with the present complexities of the country’s democratic structure which in itself is
complex in nature. It is only the Supreme Court which through its power embedded under
Article 142 of the Indian Constitution had dealt with such situations from time to time.