Article 142 of the Indian Constitution: A Tool for Complete Justice

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October 26, 2023

Article 142 of the Indian Constitution: A Tool for Complete Justice

Power of Article 142: Exploring the Realm of Complete Justice in the Indian  Constitution


  • Article 142 of the Indian Constitution empowers the Supreme Court to exercise its jurisdiction and pass decrees or orders necessary for ensuring complete justice in any pending cause or matter. This extraordinary constitutional provision grants the Court wide-ranging authority to enforce its decisions throughout the territory of India.

Understanding Article 142

  • Article 142 consists of two clauses, each conferring distinct powers to the Supreme Court:

Article 142(1): Ensuring Complete Justice

  • This clause allows the Supreme Court to issue decrees or orders essential for achieving complete justice in any ongoing case. Furthermore, any decree or order issued under this provision is enforceable across the entire nation. Until specific procedures are established by Parliament, enforcement may be carried out according to the President’s prescribed manner.

Article 142(2): Ensuring Compliance and Investigation

  • This clause empowers the Supreme Court with the authority to issue orders to secure the attendance of individuals, obtain necessary documents, or investigate and penalize contempts against the Court.

Instances of Article 142 in Action

  • Over the years, Article 142 has been invoked in several significant cases, showcasing its pivotal role in dispensing justice:

Bhopal Gas Tragedy Case

  • In this landmark case, the Supreme Court awarded a substantial compensation of $470 million to the victims. The Court emphasized that ordinary laws cannot automatically limit the constitutional powers vested in it under Article 142.

Babri Masjid Demolition Case

  • The Supreme Court utilized Article 142 to direct the formulation of a scheme by the Centre for the establishment of a trust responsible for constructing the Ram Mandir at the site of the Babri Masjid demolition in Ayodhya.

Liquor Sale Ban Case

  • Addressing concerns related to road safety, the Supreme Court prohibited the operation of liquor shops within a 500-meter radius of both National and State highways, effectively curbing incidents of drunken driving.

Ex-PM Assassin Case: Perarivalan

  • Demonstrating its commitment to upholding justice, the Supreme Court invoked Article 142(1) to pass necessary orders in the case of Perarivalan, ensuring that complete justice was served in the matter before the Court.


  • Article 142 stands as a powerful tool in the hands of the Indian judiciary, allowing the Supreme Court to wield its authority effectively in cases where justice demands exceptional measures. Through its various applications, this constitutional provision has played a crucial role in ensuring fairness and equity in landmark decisions that have shaped the legal landscape of India.

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Article 142 of the Indian Constitution: A Tool for Complete Justice | Vaid ICS Institute