Article 142 -The Power of the Supreme Court to review its own Judgements


Justice by name only its clarifies that there must be equality among people and being fair and righteous opportunity for all. Everyone is equal in the eye of the law and everyone has the choice to live freely and independently. For the maintenance of justice, the constitution had made the state form rules and regulations to furnish justice to people and came up with the idea of the judiciary which increases justice by its independent power by operating courts all over the territory of the country for the enforcement of justice in the country. Belief and notion of justice came in border sense like there should be rationality and fairness and equity among the citizen and every stare of people get the fair chance to play a vital role for their development.

Independence of Judiciary

The judicial system of India opted in such an ideal way by the constitution of India that could privilege to give justice to its citizens. It fairly supports pillars of the country’s present and future in a democratic manner.  The Independent judiciary is required to ensure the rule of law and realization of human rights and stability in the society. The judiciary is primarily divided into many branches such as the highest on the peak is the supreme court after that the high courts and the lower courts. The Supreme court which is also called the apex court has the power to make laws and policies as per citizens’ needs and requirements to be fulfilled. It’s the responsibility of the Supreme court to furnish and protect its people in their hard times and give them relief from their issues. For the well-being of citizens, the constitution guarantees six fundamental rights to its citizen and for their violation, one can go to the Supreme Court and High Court under articles 32 and 226 respectively.

What is the need for this article?

 The Supreme Court enacted article 142 to give complete justice to its citizens in their exceptional situation which is not able resolve by the normal procedure of the law of the constitution. Article 142 confers Enforcement of decrees and orders of the Supreme Court unless 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.[1]

Article 142 was adopted by the constitution assembly on 27 May 1949. Under article 142 the material powers are in the hand of judges they are not accountable to any for their decision and all. The Supreme Court has unfettered or unlimited power under this article, Supreme Court can make any laws and policies and can resolve any pending cases and interpreted cases or issues regarding people, and can direct the parliament to make new rules and regulations as per requirements for the benefits of the people. The article is often called as guidance to other branches of the parliament i.e., legislative and executive to do checks and balances for their due work.

The necessity of Complete Justice:

Article 142 is mainly used for the complete justice for the citizen of the country and to protect the environment and its largely used by the supreme court in the extraordinary circumstances and exceptional cases which affect the public at large interest and are necessary to solve for the well-being of people and which would increase the confidence in law and strength democracy to administrate complete justice. To do complete justice the Supreme Court overreach the very laws and rules which were held and made by the parliament. These are the following cases: Article 142 used by the apex court in the case of liquor ban on the highways[2]: In 2016 the Supreme Court passed an order to ban liquor sold within 500 meters of national or state highways taking such a decision by the apex court decreases the ratios of accident of rash driving and fatality injuries on highways.

Union Carbide Corporation vs. Union of India and others[3]: The Supreme Court used article 142 of the constitution to provide compensation to the victims who were affected by the accident of Bhopal gas Tragedy in 1989. Which union carbide had paid 470 million to the union of India for settlement of affected victims which arose due to the tragedy to do complete justice. Coal Block Allocation Case[4]: In 2014, the Supreme Court invoked the procedure of article 142 to cancel the allocation of coal blocks granted which was permitted from 1993 till the time being irregularity allocation of coal blocks who were guilty of corruption were imposed a penalty on coal mining illegal.[5]

 Article 142 was used for the conservation of white marble of the Taj Mahal in the case of M.C. Mehta vs. Union of India [6]in which the Taj Mahal glory was deteriorating by the pollution which was caused by chemical and hazardous materials occurring by industrial work. The sulphur dioxide emitted by industries was the main cause of yellowish-white marbles for which industries were banned near the taj mahal, the intervention by the Supreme court was held due to it affecting the environment and heritage of India. There is recently used of this provision, In the case of the Ayodhya dispute [7]the supreme court used the extraordinary power which is awarded under article 142 in which the disputed land was given to ram Janmabhoomi nays for the construction of the temple and five acres of land were given to other parties to build a mosque. This case was affecting people’s interests at large and it was important to give ideal judgment that would not affect both parties.[8]

In the above-explained cases, the extraordinary use of article 142 happened to secure complete through which people can believe in their constitution and has faith in their judicial system to approach their difficult situations and by doing this will increase confidence in law and strength democracy to administrate complete justice.


The time has come for the supreme court to strike a check and balance of its provision of article 142 and examine the procedure of this act to use an independent source of power or should be limited and strict by the guidelines. Justice Benjamin Cardozo, “the judge is not a knight – errant roaming at the will in the pursuit of his own ideal….’’[9]

Author(s) Name: Pallavi Kumari (Maharaja Agrasen Institute of Management Studies, GGSIPU University, Delhi)


[1] accessed 5 May 2022

[2] The State Of Tamil Nadu Rep. By … vs K. Balu & Anr ,15 December, 2016, the Supreme Court, ,  accessed on 6 May 2022

[3]  Union Carbide Corporation vs Union of India Etc, 4 May, 1989, 1990 AIR 273 1989 SCC (2) 540 1989 SCALE (1)932, the Supreme Court, ,accessed on 6May 2022

[4]Manohar Lal Sharma vs The Principle Secretary & Others , 25 August, 2014 , the Supreme Court of India, , accessed on 6 May 2022

[5] Deepti man Tiwary, ‘Coal blocks allocation cases Explained: The allegations, investigation, What next’ (The IndianExpress,19 October2020), ,accessed on 6 May 2022

[6]M.C. Mehta        vs. Union of India, 1986, 1987 SCR (1) 819; AIR 1987 965, the Supreme Court of India, accessed 7 may 2022

[7] M Siddiq (D) Thr Lrs v. Mahant Suresh Das & Ors, 9 November 2019,

The Supreme Court of India,, accessed on 7 May 2022

[8] Kaunain Sheriff M , ‘Explained: What is Article 142, invoked by SC to give land for a mosque?’ (The Indian Express, 9Novermber2019), accessed on 6 May 2022

[9] K.K. Venugopal, ‘Article 142 and the need for judicial restraint’ (The Hindu, 17May2017), , accessed on 6 May 2022