‘Use restraint in using Article 142’

Lawyer tells SC to invoke it judiciously

April 06, 2017 11:30 pm | Updated 11:30 pm IST - NEW DELHI

The highway liquor ban imposed by the Supreme Court was raised by BJP veteran L.K. Advani’s lawyer and senior advocate K.K. Venugopal on Thursday as an instance of the Supreme Court flexing its extraordinary constitutional powers to do more harm than the good it intended.

“Your Lordships’ use of Article 142 should be in accordance with law and due process of law as guaranteed in Article 21. Your recent order on the highway liquor ban has rendered lakhsjobless,” he submitted.

Mr. Venugopal was reacting strongly against a proposal by a Bench of Justices P.C. Ghose and Rohinton Nariman to employ its extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to order a joint trial of the two Babri Masjid demolition cases pending for the past 25 years.

Article 142 empowers the SC to pass any decree or order necessary for doing “complete justice” in any matter pending before it.

‘No unlimited power’

“Excuse me for putting it bluntly, but Article 142 is not a source of unlimited power for you to go far ahead. There should be self-restraint,” Mr. Venugopal submitted.

The senior lawyer had objected that a joint trial now would disrupt existing trial in the two cases and the rights of the accused. He submitted how the liquor ban, ostensibly meant to protect the right to good health, has boomeranged to deprive lakhs of employees in the trade of their fundamental right to earn a living.

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