Perarivalan Case: What is ‘Article 142’ of the Constitution?

Exercising the powers conferred under Article 142 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court ordered to release of A.G. Perarivalan (former PM Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict).

What are the factors considered by the Supreme Court while giving a release order?

The convict’s prolonged period in jail, his satisfactory conduct, his educational qualifications acquired during his jail term, his medical condition, and the pending recommendation of the State Cabinet made to the Governor in 2018.

What is Article 142 of the Constitution?

Article 142, often termed judicial activism, provides special powers to the Supreme Court to do “complete justice” when laws are unable to provide any solution. It has two clauses:

  • According to Article 142(1), the Supreme Court can pass any order for doing complete justice in any pending before it. Such orders will be enforceable throughout India as prescribed by any law made by Parliament or order of the President of India.
  • According to Article 142(2), the Supreme Court has powers to make any order to secure the attendance of any person, the production of any documents, or punishment of any contempt of itself.

In the A.G. Perarivalan case, the Supreme Court invoked Article 142(1).

In which other cases Article 142 was used by the Supreme Court?

  • In 2016, the Supreme Court imposed a ban on the sale of alcohol within 500 meters from the outer edge of the highway using powers under Article 142.
  • In 2014, the Supreme Court canceled the allocation of coal blocks using powers under Article 142.
  • In 1989, using Article 142 the Supreme Court provided compensation to the victims of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.

What is the history of Article 142?

Article 142, originally numbered Article 118, was introduced in the Constituent Assembly on May 27th, 1949 for discussion. But it was adopted on the same day without any debate because there was a consensus that to ensure the independence of the judiciary, the Supreme Court should be empowered with powers to do complete justice.




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