Origin of Writs
In common law, Writ is a formal written order issued by a body with
administrative or judicial jurisdiction. In modern times, this body is generally
a Court. In the olden days, the writ was simply a written order made by the
English Monarch to a specified person to undertake a specified action.
king orders the military chief to arrange the soldiers for battle at a certain
place and time. In the Early times UK, Canada, and Australia had a practice of
Writ of Election. Writ of Election means a written order issued by
Governor-General for House of Representatives, State Governors for State
Elections (on behalf of King) to local officials to hold general elections.
Five Type of Writs:There are five types of writs in the Indian Constitution stated in Article 32
for Supreme Court and Article 226 for High Court. They are:
- Habeas Corpus
- Quo Warranto
Habeas Corpus Great And Effective Writ:Habeas Corpus was 1storiginated in 1215, in the 39th clause of the Magna Carta,
signed by King John. Habeas Corpus is derived from the Latin term which means �
that you have the body�. It is used to secure a person who has been detained
unlawfully or illegally.
The detention is unlawful if:
Article 20 says Protection in respect of conviction for offenses
- It is not according to law.
- Not strictly following the procedure established by law.
- The invalid law is followed (Because the law infringes Fundamental Law).
- It exceeds the law enacted by the legislature.
Article 21 says Protection of Life and Personal Liberty
Article 22 says Protection against arrest and detention in certain cases Court
will check the detention with help of these articles if the detention violates
then it is unlawful or illegal detention. Anyone can file this petition on
behalf of the detainee.
In Sheela Barse vs State of Maharashtra case:
the writ petition was filed by Sheela Barse a journalist. She interviewed 15
women, prisoners, in a police lockup in the city of Bombay on May.11.1982. She
finds 2 women were assaulted there, so she filed the petition. The court ordered
and directed Dr (Miss) A.R.Desai, Director of College of Social Work - to
investigate it. Finally, it was proved that the officials were punished and
certain safety measures were taken to safeguard the women prisoners.
Limitation for Habeas Corpus:
Though a writ of right, it is not a writ of course means it provides only
procedural remedy (Guarantees against any detention that is forbidden by law),
But it does not provide any other remedy (does not protect any other rights such
as fair trial, etc.)
Quo Warranto Authoritative Writ:Quo Warranto is originated in Latin in the medieval period, which means by what
authority. It is issued to the person who holds the public office and on what
authority it is entitled to him. The concerned person is responsible to the
court to explain the authority on which he holds the authority. The person who
files this writ is need not to be personally suffered. This writ is filed to
test the validity of an election of a person in a university syndicate, Mayor in
the municipal corporation, Nomination of members to a Legislative Council by
Governor, the appointment of Chief Minister, Chief Justice, Advocate and
Attorney General, University Teachers, etc.
In the case, Purushottam Lal vs State of Rajasthan quo warranto was filed
against the CM of Rajasthan stating that CM was not elected validly to the
house. The court rejects the petition stating that if the CM holds office
without authority, then it is a breach of the constitutional provision. The
office of the Chief Minister is created by the constitution, so a member of the
assembly is not a purpose of the office. Raising the questions on the Election
of Chief Minister in this writ is not a proper form it must be raised through an
If a person who had no qualification was appointed as CM by the Governor under
Article 164 of the Constitution which is unconstitutional, the governor cannot
be challenged. Because he had the discretionary power under Article 361 and the
appointment will be deserted by the High Court.
In the case Y.S.Raja Sekar Reddy vs Nara Chandra Babu Naidu a quo warranto
cannot be issued for dismissing the Chief Minister of a state on the reason of
non-performance of his constitutional duty.
Conditions For Issue of Quo Warranto:
- The office must be a public one and it must be created by the
- It must be a substantive one.
- There must be a contravention in the constitution in appointing the
person for that office.
Mandamus Writ of Command:Mandamus is developed from the Latin word which means We command. It is an order
from the Supreme or High Court to:
To perform the public or statutory duty. Mostly this writ of command will be
issued to any government, court, corporation or public authority that fails to
do their work.
- Lower or Subordinate courts.
- Public Authority.
Limitations for Mandamus:
Supreme Court cannot issue writs to:
Mandamus cannot be issued against:
- President or State Governors
- Chief Justice of High Courts
- Against any private individual
- Duties on voluntary interest
In Tata Cellular vs UOI case, the Supreme Court said that the court cannot
interfere in the government's freedom of contract, invitation of tenders, and
refusal of tenders. The court can interfere if the government's decision was
unfair, illegal, and unreasonableness.
- State government to appoint a commission for any inquiry in the state
- delegated legislative to make further rules in statutory provisions
- directing the government to make reservations (Article 16)
- the complete right of a private person
- to enforce the payment of money of a person in civil liability.
Certiorari To Be Certified:Certiorari is issued by a Superior Court to the inferior or subordinate courts,
tribunal, and other public authorities to submit the record of a proceeding for
review. Generally, the writ of certiorari was issued by the Supreme or High
Court for quashing the order passed by inferior courts or subordinate courts,
tribunals, or other quasi-judicial authorities.
Conditions For Issue of Writ of Certiorari:
- There must be a court, tribunal, or an authorized person having a legal
right to act judicially.
- Such court, tribunal or officer must act or passed an order without
jurisdiction or in excess of judicial authority.
- If the order was against the principle of Natural Justice.
- If the order contains an error of judgment.
- If it is against the constitution or contravention to the fundamental
Prohibition Stay Order:The writ of prohibition is issued by the Supreme or High Court to an inferior
court to forbid or to stop the order passed by them. The writ of certiorari and
prohibition are issued mostly on similar grounds.
The main difference between
these two writs are:
- Certiorari issued to quash a decision after completion of proceedings.
- Prohibition issued before the completion of proceedings.
The writs are initiated to maintain the proper functioning of the persons in the
public authority and also for the proper functioning of the government. It must
be followed strictly to ensure that there is a proper function is maintained
without any malfunctions in the respective fields. Judiciary must play a major
and strict role in this.