Article 142 of the Constitution


  • The Supreme Court recently exercised the power conferred on it under Article 142 of the Constitution to order the release of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict A.G. Perarivalan.

About Perarivalan Case

  • In the case of Perarivalan, the Supreme Court invoked Article 142(1) under which it was empowered to pass any order necessary to do complete justice in any matter pending before it. Article 142 of the Constitution
  • It held that it was not a fit case to be remanded to the Governor for his consideration under Article 161 of the Constitution.

Back to Basics

What is Article 142?

  • Article 142 titled ‘Enforcement of decrees and orders of the Supreme Court and orders as to discovery, etc.’ has two clauses:
  • Article 142(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.
    • Any decree so passed or order so made shall be enforceable throughout the territory of India.
    • It may be 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(2)
    • The Supreme Court shall 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.
  • History of Article 142
    • When a draft Constitution was prepared by the drafting committee and placed before the Constituent Assembly, Article 142 was actually numbered as Article 118.
    • It was placed before the Constituent Assembly on May 27, 1949 for debate but got adopted on the same day without any debate.
    • This was possibly because everyone agreed that in order to ensure judicial independence, the highest court of the country must be empowered with plenary power to do complete justice.


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