The Principle of Complete Justice

“One hour in the execution of justice is worth seventy hours of prayer.”                                                                                                -Turkish Proverb

 We live in a world where each and every act is differentiated as the legal or illegal act. Each and every process has a definite time and way to be completed to get it done well. In the way now the judicial system is highly developed. Every layman approaches the courts to solve his problem and get justice through the verdict of courts. But there are people who also reach outs with different intentions. He may not tell the truth but looks for justice through courts. On looking into facts and incidence of the case, the courts are duty to provide complete justice to the people.

 Justice includes morality, fairness and equity and also protecting the legal and fundamental rights of the people that includes the citizens of the country, all the other human beings, individuals. Article 14 of the Indian Constitution states that the state shall not deny to any person equality before the law or equal protection of the laws within the territory of India. Every person in the country should be treated as the same in the eyes of law. Justice is the only key of every person who are affected by wrongdoer or injured. But the meaning of Justice varies from one person to another. It may not be a justifiable claim but the party may feel it as justifiable and he has to get justice for the issue. The principle of complete justice is evolved to meet the countless situations that are created by human ingenuity. If there is an existence of bias, it would never be considered as complete justice. Fairness is the only main component in rendering complete justice to the people.  

While looking for justice the Constituent Assembly has provided enforced institutions such as the Union and the State Judiciary for imparting justice. Article 32, 136, 142, 226 etc of the Indian Constitution strengthens the principle of Complete Justice. These provide discretionary powers to the Judiciary and confers the rights upon the people. In these, Article 136 and 142 play a major role in ensuring complete justice to the people. In the Indian Constitution Article 142 (1) states that the Supreme Court in its jurisdiction may pass order or decree to do complete justice to the people in matters pending before it. The decree or order that is passed is enforceable throughout India or by any law passed by the Parliament and in such a manner and order described by the President[1]. The Supreme Court has been given ‘extraordinary power’ to do complete justice to the people. It includes civil, criminal, appellate or original pending cases before the court. It is applicable only in two situations when the Supreme Court exercises its jurisdiction and the other is for doing complete justice. While exercising its power under this article the court cannot do injustice to others by passing an order or decree, especially who are not before them[2]. The principle should be in accordance with the law. The court cannot grant a relief amounting to illegality.


In cases of Delhi Administration v. Gurudeep Singh Uban[3], Girimallappa v. Special Land Acquisition Officer and MIP & Anr.[4] and Union of India & Others v. Ex- GNR Ajeet Singh[5] justice is to be provided by Society or Court or Tribunal that is given to the man that he is entitled to protect against injury or wrong. Justice is the grant that is given to a person who has suffered an injury. When justice and mercy are met the courts should be conscious in rendering justice and the obligations towards the law and for human actions to be found whether just or unjust or in opposition to the law. In N. Suriyakala v. A. Mohandoss & Others[6] The Importance of Article 136 was well elaborated by the Supreme Court. The Court rightly pointed out that the purpose of Article 136 is not as of the other ordinary form of appeal. The last means of the highest court would be the High Court for ordinary cases. But only for the cases of national importance, constitutional issues, the question of law or where grave injustice is done the role of the Supreme Court comes into play. If the other cases are also handled by the Supreme Court, the cases will be flooded with a backlog and there would be no importance relating to the constitutional validity or other issues of national importance.

Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage: A Necessity

 In Union Carbide Corporation v. Union of India[7], a petition was filed to render justice to thousands of people who were affected by the gas leakage at Bhopal. The court held that to provide complete justice the court can also override the laws made by the parliament and provide compensation of $470 million to the victims. The court held that it cannot merely issue an order that is incidental to a statute. It should also look into the issues of public policy, the fundamental rights of the people.

  In Zahira Habibullah Sheik v. State of Gujarat[8], the Supreme Court under its jurisdiction under Article 142 for doing complete justice, invoked the transfer of a criminal trial from one State to another. In another case, the Supreme Court ordered to transfer prisoners from one prison to another prison. In the case of Vijay Shekhar v. Union of India[9] the power under Article 142 was invoked to quash criminal proceedings that were filed against the person who was to be influenced by fraud and total abuse in the process of the court. In, State of Maharashtra v. Champalal Punjaji Shah[10], for doing complete justice the Supreme Court should not hesitate to interfere in the cases decided by the lower courts if it leads to the miscarriage of justice.  

 In Shahid Balwa v. Union of India & Others[11], the court held that the Indian Constitution allows the Supreme Court to exercise its jurisdiction read with the Articles 136 and 142 and enables the court to pass orders or decree for doing complete justice. It is a corrective measure where equity is given more preference over law to ensure that no injustice is caused to the people. This similar verdict was given in Supreme Court Bar Association v. Union of India[12]. In the case of Monica Kumar & another v. State of Uttar Pradesh & others[13], the court held that the court’s power under Article 142(1) to do complete justice is entirely in different levels and quality. If there is any provision in the statute that prohibits or refrains contained in ordinary laws cannot act as a limitation on the constitutional power of the court in order to give direction for doing complete justice. 

 In the case of Sandeep Subhash Parate v. State of Maharashtra and others[14], the court invoked the power of Article 142 to do complete justice for the appellant through the completion of the Engineering Degree after obtaining a false caste certificate. Though such practices should not be allowed, on looking into the efforts of the student should not go in vain, the court directed the student to pay a cost and in return, the college should issue the degree. In the case of The Secretary of State of Karnataka & others v. Umadevi & others[15], the Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court allowed the regularization of irregularly appointed persons in exercising the power under Article 142 because they had worked on the post for more than ten years. In the case of Commissioner of Income Tax, Shimla v. Green world Corporation[16], the court ordered an issue of a fresh income tax assessment. As it is necessary to do complete justice, an order passed on the superior dictates is being quashed without following the due process of law. 


 While looking into the above cases mentioned, Article 142 always acts as a tool to render complete justice. The court also acts efficiently by using the tool of complete justice. There are also instances where Article 142 is in contravention to the statutory provisions. In M. S. Ahlawat v. State of Haryana & another[17], the court held that the court could not ignore the substantive provisions of the law on taking account into the Article 142. The court should not exercise its powers under Article 142 if the exercise of such power is contrary to the law. In the case of Government of West Bengal v. Tarun k. Roy & others[18], the court refused to use its power under Article 142 as such an act would be in direct conflict with the law and statutory provisions. If the legislature were to enact the law, the jurisdiction of the court can only interpret the law and should not issue any order or direction.

 In this era judicial activism has become a part of doing complete justice. Article 142 is a unique measure that upholds the judicial system in India. Complete justice is the justice that the Supreme court could render to the people and ensure that illegality is not perpetuated. The courts in rendering complete justice to the parties cannot derogate the fundamental rights of the other. It should also be consistent with the statutory provisions. There should be strong reasons for using the principle of complete justice. Thus, the courts are the only means to fill the vacuum in society by ensuring complete justice to the people by invoking Article 142 of the Indian Constitution. 


  1.  Article 142 of the Indian Constitution

  2.  AIR 2000 SC 3737

  3.  AIR 2012 SC 3101

  4.  (2013) 4 SCC 186

  5.  (2007) 9 SCC 196

  6.  (1991) 4 SCC 584

  7.  (2004) 5 SCC 358

  8.  Kalyan Chandra Sarkar v. Rajesh Ranjan Alia Pappu Yadav, (2005) AIR SC 972

  9.  (2004) 4 SCC 666

  10.  AIR 1981 SC 1679

  11.  (2014) 2 SCC 687

  12.  AIR 1998 SC 1895

  13.  AIR 2008 SC 2781

  14.  AIR 2006 SC 3012

  15.  AIR 2006 SC 1806

  16.  (2009) 7 SCC 69

  17.  AIR 2000 SC 168

  18.  (2004) 1 SCC 347



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