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.”

GOVIND GUPTA

ASSOCIATE

THE INDIAN LAWYER



SUPREME COURT OF INDIA TO SOON HAVE A PERMANENT CONSTITUTIONAL BENCH

As per various newspaper reports, the Supreme Court of India is said to soon have a permanent Constitutional Bench from 01-10-2019, which would comprise of 5 judges who would adjudicate matters involving a substantial question of law relating to the interpretation of the Constitution of India 1950 as amended thereof (the Constitution).

The practice that was prevalent before these amendments was that a divisional bench i.e., a bench comprising two judges, referred a matter involving a substantial question of law to the constitutional bench. The Chief Justice of India then constituted a 5-judge bench after taking into consideration factors such as pendency of cases and engagement of judges in other matters.

But soon the Supreme Court would have a permanent 5 Judge Constitutional Bench, wherein, on a rotation basis, minimum 5 judges would get an opportunity to sit and decide any matter involving a substantial question of law, as per Article 145(3) of the Constitution.

Thus, with the setting up of a permanent 5 judge Constitution Bench and five 3 Judge Benches, a total of 20 out of 34 benches would be adjudicating questions pertaining to the Constitution and other important matters. The remaining 14 judges would continue to work as a 2 Judge benches.

With this permanent Constitutional Bench, one may hope that the system adopted to rotate judges will be fair, so that the opportunity is shared equally by every judge.

Aakritee

Associate

The Indian Lawyer

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA LAUNCHES ‘CONSUMER APP’ FOR SPEEDY REDRESSAL OF GRIEVANCES

The Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Shri Ram Vilas Paswan, has recently launched a mobile application, namely, ‘Consumer App’ (App) on 01-10-2019, which would act as a one stop solution for speedy redressal of consumer grievances, in addition to consumer courts and consumer helpline.

Further, the App also enables the consumers to avail information across 42 sectors including consumer durables, electronic products, e-commerce, banking, insurance, etc. Besides a registered consumer may also give suggestions to the Government through the App. The App has been made available on both Android and Apple smartphones in English as well as Hindi languages.

A consumer may, upon registration, file a complaint through the App and track the status of the said complaint. The resolution of complaint is said to be a time bound process, whereby, grievances that are simple in nature would be resolved within 20 days, while those that require a feedback from companies or further enquiries, would be resolved within 2 months/60 days. Upon expiry of the said time period, if such complaint remains unresolved, then the consumer would be directed to approach the consumer forum.

This move is meant to be a step closer to the Government’s Digital India Scheme, whereby information about various sectors, consumer complaints, and grievance redressal would be provided in a speedy and efficient manner.

Harini Daliparthy

Senior Legal Associate

The Indian Lawyer