Article 142 of the Constitution, which grants the Supreme Court special powers, was invoked twice by the five-judge Constitution bench while delivering the landmark verdict in the Ayodhya title suit on Saturday. The court said in view of the evidence, the disputed 2.77 acres of land was awarded for a temple, but it invoked the Article 142 to grant 5 acres for a mosque as well.
"There was no abandonment of the mosque by the Muslims. This court in the exercise of its powers under Article 142 of the Constitution must ensure that a wrong committed must be remedied. Justice would not prevail if the Court were to overlook the entitlement of the Muslims who have been deprived of the structure of the mosque through means which should not have been employed in a secular nation committed to the rule of law.
It had also invoked the Article to grant relief to Nirmohi Akhara asking it to be included in the trust to be formed by the centre under Section 6 of the Ayodhya Act to construct Temple.
"In exercise of the powers vested in this Court under Article 142 of the Constitution, we direct that in the scheme to be framed by the Central Government, appropriate representation may be given in the Trust or body, to the Nirmohi Akhara in such manner as the Central Government deems fit".
The court had earlier dismissed Nirmohi Akhara's suit (the third of the five lawsuits) as it was barred by the statute of limitation.
The Article 142 of the constitution enables the Supreme Court to pass any order necessary "for doing complete justice in any cause".
The Article says: "Enforcement of decrees and orders of Supreme Court and unless as to discovery, etc (1) The Supreme Court in the 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, and any decree so passed or orders so made shall be enforceable throughout the territory of India in such manner as may be prescribed by or under any law made by Parliament and, until provision in that behalf is so made, in such manner as the President may by order prescribe."
So while this order is "enforceable throughout the territory of India" it cannot become a precedent.
In October this year, the top court had invoked the Article 142 to annul a marriage of a couple living apart for past 22 years, even though the woman had not given consent for the divorce.
In December 2015, the top court had invoked the Article 142 to appoint Justice Virendra Singh as the Lokayukta of Uttar Pradesh, when the state had not made the appointment within the deadline citing lack of consensus. Appointment of the Lokayukta is in the government's domain.
The court had even invoked the Article to transfer the trial of a case against the accused in Babri Masjid Demolition from Rae Bareli court to a Lucknow court for the joint trial of two sets of cases arising out of the same issue.