What is Article 142, invoked by Supreme Court to overturn Chandigarh mayoral poll results?

Syllabus: GS-II

Subject: Polity

Topic:  Judiciary

Issue: Article-142

Context: Article 142 of the Constitution was invoked by the Supreme Court to overturn the results of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation mayor elections.

Article 142 provides a unique and extraordinary power to the Supreme Court, to do “complete justice” between the parties, where, at times, the law or statute may not provide a remedy.

Instances where the article is invoked:

  1. Bhopal Gas tragedy case: To ensure a compensation to the victims.
  2. Rajiv Gandhi Assassin case: The court ordered the release of A G Perarivalan.
  3. Ayodhya judgement: Allotment of 5 acres of land to the Sunni Central Waqf Board.


  • Absence of a standard definition for the term “complete justice” – leading to wide discretion and possibility of arbitrary exercise.
  • Violation of the separation of powers

+1 Advantage (for Mains)

Case law: Supreme Court Bar Association vs Union of India 1998

Powers under Article 142 are only supplementary in nature and could not be used to supplant or override a substantive law.

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