ARTICLE 142 CANNOT BE USED TO MOCK THE LAW
In a recent case heard by the Supreme Court of India, namely Raj Kumar v. State of Uttar Pradesh decided on 04.10.2019 the Petitioner invoked the powers of the Supreme Court under Article 142 of the Constitution.
The Petitioner was selling milk which did not meet the standards prescribed by the Authorities. The sample which was collected in 1995 had the following values. Milk Fat in sample collected from Accused’s concern was found to be 4.6% and Milk Solid Non-Fat was was 7.7%, against the prescribed standard of 8.5%. The inspector therefore prosecuted the Accused and the Trial Court found him guilty. The said Judgement was upheld by Sessions and the High Court of Uttar Pradesh as well.
The Accused pleaded that the Court should give him the benefit of doubt regarding the values in the milk. He pleaded that the case was very old and milk samples had not been properly analyzed. To this the Supreme Court held that if he had doubt regarding the analysis he should have gone for another analysis while the matter was in the Trial Court.
In the Special Leave Petition(SLP) filed in the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India (SC) the Accused Appellant prayed that the Supreme Court should exercise the powers under Article 142 of the Constitution of India that allows the Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction to pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it.
Rejecting this prayer, the Bench of Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Aniruddha Bose held that Article 142 cannot be exercised in a way to “make a mockery of the law”.
The Court held that the power under Article 142, in its considered view, cannot be used in total violation of the law. When a minimum sentence is prescribed by law, the Court cannot, in exercise of its power under Article 142, pass an order totally contrary to law. If such power could be used in a food adulteration case to impose a sentence lower than the minimum prescribed, then even in cases of murder and rape, this Court applying the same principles could impose a sentence less than the minimum.
This, in our opinion, is not the purpose of Article 142. We have no doubt in our mind that powers under Article 142 cannot be exercised in such a manner that they make a mockery of the law itself.”
THE INDIAN LAWYER
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