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Divorce in India is controlled by personal laws, which differ according to religion. In order to ensure fair outcomes, Article 142 gives the Supreme Court the unprecedented authority to grant divorce in certain situations. It is essential to comprehend the constraints and logic underlying this capability.

Article 142: an obligation under the constitution.

The Supreme Court of India is empowered under Article 142 of the Indian Constitution to issue any decision or order required for “doing complete justice” in any case that is before it. This clause gives the Court the authority to handle problems that the law cannot effectively address. This clause was added by the Constitution’s drafters to guarantee that the Court might intervene if other legal options failed.

Divorce is a prerogative under Article 142 that may be granted.

Although the Supreme Court’s principal responsibility is to interpret laws and guarantee their validity, Article 142 allows it to go beyond these restrictions in special circumstances to grant divorce. But this authority must not be used carelessly or arbitrarily. The Court has exercised this authority with caution, only using it in situations when there are no obvious alternatives and grave injustice would result from inaction.

In accordance with its authority under Article 142 of the Indian Constitution, the Supreme Court ordered A.G. Perarivalan’s release from prison on May 18, 2022. Perarivalan was convicted in the killing of former Indian Prime Minister Mr Rajiv Gandhi.

Grounds for divorce under Article 142

1. Extraordinary Circumstances: The Supreme Court’s power within Article 142 is only used in

2. No Other Remedy Available: Whenever there is no other accessible legal remedy, the Supreme Court is inclined to employ its authority. The Court may not become involved if there are remedies under personal legislation that can offer redress.

3. Justice and Equity: The maintenance of justice and equality is the fundamental tenet of Article 142. The Court will consider the interests of each side and make sure that the ruling complies with fairness standards.

Justification and legal precedents

When the lack of such a decision would result in blatant injustice, the reasoning behind obtaining a divorce in Article 142 is to ensure justice. The Supreme Court has wisely exercised its authority to issue divorces in situations when the parties’ situations are really extraordinary and where pursuing redress through the regular legal system would be contrary to the very nature of justice.

Keeping the peace: judicial caution

The Supreme Court is given extraordinary powers under Article 142, although these are not unrestricted. The Court must find a balance between upholding the legislative branch’s authority and providing justice. This power must only be used when there is an urgent need for action that is both evident and persuasive.

Relevant case laws

This typically occurs when there is no statute in place for an existing offense. There was no rule controlling sexual harassment of women at work, as was demonstrated in the instance of Bhanwari Devi and Others vs. the State of Rajasthan on January 17, 2002. The Supreme Court has established a series of procedural rules known as “the Vishaka Guidelines” to regulate such violations after carefully examining the Indian Constitution. The Prevention of Sexual Harassment Act, 2013 (POSH) has been introduced later in 2013.

The Supreme Court of India used a similar strategy in the well-known Bhopal gas leak case, Union Carbide Company v. Union of India (1991). In this decision, the Court increased the scope of the Article because it believed that the restriction of powers afforded by Article 142 would result in greater harm to the Article’s intended purpose. The case has drawn particular attention because it distinguished between laws enacted by courts to protect people’s basic rights and those enacted to limit those rights.


The Supreme Court of India is authorized by Article 142 of the Indian Constitution to grant divorce when the interests of justice need it. When no other remedies are accessible and justice would prevail absent the Court’s involvement, this authority should only be exercised as a last option. The judiciary’s dedication to maintaining justice is demonstrated by this power, which also highlights the delicate balance between legal creativity and a separation of powers. It is essential that the Supreme Court interprets and applies Article 142 with a strong sense of caution and responsibility, protecting the values of justice while adhering to the limits of its jurisdiction.

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