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Writs Under Indian Constitution

The Supreme Court and the High Courts is having many powers which they exercise to provide justice to the people. One of the most important powers which the courts have been provided with by the constitution is the power to issue writs.

A writ means a command, direction of the court to another person by which such person has to act in a certain way and writs are very essential judicial power of the court.

In India, the constitution has provided the Supreme Court with the power to issue the Writ under Article 32 of the Constitution. Under Article 32, when any Fundamental Right of a citizen is violated, that person has the right to directly approach the Supreme Court for the enforcement of his rights and the Court can issue the appropriate Writ for enforcing such right.

The power to issue Writs are also provided to the High Courts of India under Article 226. While citizens can approach the Supreme Court only when his Fundamental Right is infringed, the citizens also have the right to approach the High Court for the issue of Writs in other matters in which the fundamental rights are not violated.

Types of writs

  1. Habeas corpus
  2. Mandamus
  3. Prohibition
  4. Certiorari
  5. Quo warranto

Habeas corpus:

Means to bring the body in front of court within 24 hours from police custody. A writ of habeas corpus is used to bring a prisoner or other detainee before the court to determine that if personís imprisonment or detention is lawful or not.

A habeas corpus petition proceeds as a civil action against the state agent and usually a warden who holds the defendant in custody. The writ is issued against any person or authority who has illegally detained any person.

Mandamus:

It means to command or order, to give the mandate. The writ mandamus is issued by judiciary when any government employee or government department is not doing their duty properly so court give court give command to do that duty properly.

A writ of mandamus is a court order compelling someone to execute a duty that they are legally obliged to complete. A writ is also used to order the lower court or government agency to complete a duty, to uphold the law or to correct an abuse of discretion.

This writ cannot be imposed against President of India else it can be filled against any person.

Prohibition:

It means to prohibit or to stop; the writ of prohibition is issued by the superior court to an inferior court or tribunal to prevent it from assuming jurisdiction which is not vested in it. A writ can be issued against the judge of an inferior court if the judge is interested in the case or is biased.

The writ of prohibition can only be issued against judicial and quasi judicial authorities and not against administrative authorities and legislative bodies.

Certiorari:

Means to produce the certificates, the superior court with the writ of certiorari can ask inferior court to produce the documents that on what behalf decision was made or going to make.

The writ of certiorari can also be issued for transfer of case from an inferior court to superior court if the case weight age is high that cannot be deals, lots of pending cases in inferior court and the superior court can himself transfer the case from inferior court if it feels that it cannot solve or it is outside the jurisdiction of the inferior court.

There are some conditions which must be fulfilled in order to issue the writ of certiorari.
  1. Having legal authority
  2. To determining question affecting rights of the subject.
  3. Having the duty to act judicially
  4. Act is express of its authority.

Quo warranto:

It is basically a question that what your authority is.
By the writ of quo warranto a holder of the office is called upon to show to the court under what authority he holds the office, if the court finds that the holder of the office has no valid title so it will oust the person by issuing the writ of quo warranto. The court can also ask the office holder to prove his title and sometimes court can direct the person to vacant his office.

Written by: Saksham Ahlawat - B.A.LL.B (hons) Chandigarh University, Gharuan, Mohali

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