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The plenary powers of the Supreme Court under Article 142 are inherent in nature and are complementary to those powers which are specifically conferred on the court by various statutes, court said
The Supreme Court has said that the plenary assigned to it under Article 142 of the Constitution to do complete justice cannot be used to supplant the substantive law applicable in a case.
"It cannot be gainsaid that the court in exercise of powers under Article 142 cannot ignore any substantive statutory provision dealing with the subject. The plenary powers of the Supreme Court under Article 142 are inherent in nature and are complementary to those powers which are specifically conferred on the court by various statutes," a bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Bela M Trivedi said.
The court pointed out that these powers, though are of a very wide amplitude to do complete justice between the parties, cannot be used to supplant the substantive law applicable to the case or to the cause under consideration of the court.
The bench dismissed a miscellaneous application filed by Sunview Assets Private Limited seeking direction to the Union Bank of India to issue a sale letter to it in respect of a property admeasuring 2.18 acres in Indore on the ground that it had made the full and final payment of the auction amount of Rs 65.62 crore, being the highest bidder, along with interest in terms of the order passed by the top court on May 12, 2020.
It said that the top court had already extended the time to deposit the money by two months due to the Covid-19 pandemic after the lifting of lockdown.
The applicant contended that the court should treat the deposits made on July 22, 2022 and on August 26, 2022 as due compliance of the order of May 12, 2020, extending the time limit by exercising the inherent powers of the Supreme Court under Article 142 of the Constitution or exercising the powers conferred on the court under Section 148 of the Civil Procedure Code.
The bench, however, said that this argument could not be accepted in view of the statutory provision which stated that the balance amount of purchase price payable had to be paid by the purchaser to the authorized officer on or before the fifteenth day of the confirmation of sale or such extended period as may be agreed upon in writing between the purchaser and the secured creditor, in any case not extending three months.
Even if by liberal construction of the said sub-rule, and in view of the orders passed by this court from time to time in the successive applications, it is presumed that the time to deposit the balance amount with interest had stood extended two months after February, 2022, i.e., upto April 30, 2022, no further extension of time as such was granted by the court nor was it permissible to extend under the said statutory provision, the bench said.
The bench cited the Supreme Court's judgment in case of 'Supreme Court Bar Association vs Union of India and Another' (1998) which stated that Article 142 even with the width of its amplitude cannot be used to build a new edifice where none existed earlier, by ignoring the express statutory provisions dealing with a subject and thereby to achieve something indirectly which cannot be achieved directly.
"Even Section 148 of CPC does not permit the court to extend the time limit beyond thirty days of the time limit fixed by the court earlier," the bench said.
The court also said, "An application in the disposed of civil appeal to pursue its strategies and to avoid judicial adjudication in the substantive proceedings, would not be even maintainable in the eye of law."
Such a trend emerging in this court of filing repeated applications, styled as miscellaneous applications, without any legal foundation has been strongly deprecated in 'Supertech Limited vs Emerald Court Owner Resident Welfare Association and Others' (2021), the bench pointed out.
Case title: UOI vs Rajat Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. & Anr
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