The Supreme Court ruling ordering a CBI probe into the unnatural death of Sushant Singh Rajput will be remembered as a case where a single judge bench exercised the powers under Article 142 of the Constitution. Justice Hrishikesh Roy cited the Justice L.S. Panta judgement, “Under Article 142 of the Constitution, this court in exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any “cause” or “matter” pending before it. The expression “cause” or “matter” would include any proceeding pending in court and it would cover almost every kind of proceeding in court, including civil or criminal.”
The apex court cited that its power under Article 142(1) to do “complete justice” is entirely of different level and of a different quality.
“This Court’s power under Article 142(1) to do complete justice is entirely of different level and of a different quality. What would be the need of “complete justice” in a cause or matter would depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case and while exercising that power the Court would take into consideration the express provisions of a substantive statute,” Justice Roy cited the Panta judgement.
Citing the Panta judgement, Justice Roy said: “The above ratio makes it amply clear that the Supreme Court in a deserving case, can invoke Article 142 powers to render justice. The peculiar circumstances in this case require that complete justice is done in this matter. How this is to be achieved must now be decided.”
Justice Roy noted that Bihar and Maharashtra governments are making acrimonious allegations of political interference against each other, and the legitimacy of the investigation has come under a cloud. “These developments unfortunately have the propensity to delay and misdirect the investigation. In such a situation, there is reasonable apprehension of truth being a casualty and justice becoming a victim,” observed Justice Roy.
Justice Roy said to ensure public confidence in the investigation and to do complete justice in the matter, the Court considers it appropriate to invoke the powers conferred by Article 142 of the Constitution.
Justice Roy turned down the Maharashtra government’s arguments that ordinarily, the local police should conduct investigation into any reported crime and entrustment of the investigation to the CBI must be an exception to meet extraordinary exigencies, and the consent given by Bihar government, was for political exigencies.
“As a Court exercising lawful jurisdiction for the assigned roster, no impediment is seen for exercise of plenary power in the present matter,” said Justice Roy invoking Article 142 to transfer the Sushant Singh Rajput death case to the CBI.
Fight against Coronavirus: Full coverage