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WRITS In Indian Constitution


It is a legal document issued by the court that orders a person or entity to perform specific act or to cease performing a specific action or deed. In India, writs are issue by the Supreme court under Article 32 of the Constitution of India and by the High court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. These writs act as a defender of fundamental rights of citizens of India.

Types of Writs under Indian Constitution are:
  • Writ of Habeas corpus.
  • Writ of Prohibition.
  • Writ of Certiorari.
  • Writ of Quo warranto.
  • Writ of Mandamus
Writs Stands For
Habeas Corpus To Have The Body
Prohibition To Forbid
Certiorari To Be Certified
Quo Warranto By What Warrant
Mandamus We Command

Definition Of The Types Of Writs

Habeas Corpus:

Latin meaning of this word is "to have the body". This writ is used to safeguard the fundamental right of an individual against wrongful detention.
  • This writ can be issued against both private and public authorities.
  • It cannot be issued when detention is lawful.
  • It cannot be issued when detention is by a competent court or outside the jurisdiction of the court to issue it.

Important Case:

Additional District Magistrate Of Jabalpur V. Shiv Kant Shukla:

ADM Jabalpur v. Shivkant Shukla case is a landmark decision of the Supreme Court of India pertaining to Habeas corpus case. This controversial judgment of P.N. Bhagwati was decreed during the Emergency from 25 June 1975 to 21 March 1977, a person's right to not be unlawfully detained (i.e. habeas corpus) can be suspended.

This judgment received a lot of criticism since it reduced the importance attached to Fundamental Rights under the Indian Constitution. Going against the previous decision of High Courts, the bench which included P. N. Bhagwati concluded in favour of the then Indira Gandhi government while only Justice Hans Raj Khanna was opposed to it. Bhagwati openly praised Indira Gandhi during the Emergency period, later criticized her when Janata Party-led government was formed and again backed Gandhi when she got re-elected to form government in 1980.

Bhagwati was criticized for this change of stands, favouring the ruling government, which were deemed as to have been taken to better his career prospects. Bhagwati later in 2011 agreed with popular opinion that this judgement was short-sighted and apologised.[1]


The meaning of this writ is "to forbid". This writ is issued by court of higher jurisdiction to court of lower of lower jurisdiction in order to prevent it from exceeding its jurisdiction.
  • It can only be issued against judicial and quasi-judicial authorities.
  • Cannot be issued against administrative bodies and private individuals or bodies.

Important Case:

S. Govind Menon V. Union Of India (1967):

The appellant, Sri S. Govinda Menon is a member of the Indian Administrative Service. He was the First. Member of the Board of Revenue, Kerala State and was holding the post of Commissioner of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments. On the basis of certain petitions containing allegations of misconduct against the appellant in the discharge of his duties as Commissioner the Kerala Government instituted certain preliminary enquiries and thereafter started disciplinary proceedings against the appellant and also placed him under suspension under rule 7 of the All-India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1955, hereinafter called the 'Rules'.

A copy of the charges together with a statement of certain allegations was served on the appellant who thereafter filed a written statement of defence. After perusing the written statement, the Government passed orders that his explanation was unacceptable and that the charges should be enquired into by an Enquiry Officer to be appointed under rule 5 of the Rules. accordingly, Sri T. N. S. Raghavan a retired I.C.S. Officer was appointed to hold the inquiry.

The appellant then filed the present writ petition before the High Court of' Kerala praying for grant of a writ of certiorari to quash the proceedings initiated against, him and for a writ of mandamus calling upon. respondent No. 2, State of Kerala, to allow him to function as the. First Member of the Board of Revenue. As no application for stay was made and as no order of stay Was passed by the High Court Sri T. N. S. Raghavan proceeded with the inquiry and submitted his report to the Union Government finding the appellant guilty of charges 1 to 4 and 9. The union of India, after consideration of the report, issued a 'Show Cause Notice' Ex. P-9.

The appellant thereafter filed an application before the High Court for amendment of the writ petition. The prayer in this amended petition was for the issue of a writ of prohibition restraining the first respondent Union of India from proceeding further in pursuance of the 'Show Cause Notice' and also for quashing the same. The application for amendment was allowed by the High Court.[2]


The actual meaning of this word is "we command". The writ is issued against the public officer who has failed to do or restrained from doing his/her duty and orders them to perform their duty.
  • It cannot be issued against private individuals
  • It cannot be issued to order someone to do work when the work is discretionary in nature.
  • It cannot be issued against the Indian President of the State governors.
  • Cannot be issued against Chief Justice of High court acting in judicial capacity.
Important Case:

SP Gupta V. Union Of India:

The case, S.P. Gupta v. Union of India is the first of the 'Three Judges Case' which established precedence for the collegiums system of Supreme Courts and High Courts of India. In a continuation of three separate cases brought in the Indian Supreme court, the court introduced a principle of independent jurisdiction which means that no other organ of state - including the legislature and the executive - will say when the judges are elected. The court then introduced a system of collegium, which came into effect since the judgment in the Second Judge Case in 1993. There is no mention of the collegium in the original Indian Constitution or subsequent amendments.

Although the introduction of the collegium program was viewed as controversial by law students and legal administrators outside India, Parliament and the executive, both did nothing to restore it. The Third Judicial Tribunal of 1998 is not a case but an opinion presented by the Supreme Court of India in response to a legal question about the collegium system, raised by then Indian President KR Narayanan, in July 1998 under his constitutional power.

In addition, in January 2013, the court dismissed as unresolved a civil dispute, a civil claim filed by NGO Suraz India Trust that sought to challenge the collective bargaining scheme. In July 2013, Indian Chief Justice P. Sathasivam spoke negatively of any efforts to reform the collegium system. On September 5, 2013, the Rajya Sabha Bill passed the Constitution (120th Amendment), 2013, amending Articles 124 (2) and 217 (1) of the Indian Constitution, 1950 and establishes the National Commission on Employment of Representatives.

The President will appoint judges to the top judges. This amendment was overturned by the Supreme Court unconstitutional on October 16, 2015. The constitutional bench of Justices Madan Lokur, J. S. Khehar, Adarsh ‚Äč‚ÄčKumar Goel and Kurian Joseph declared 99th Act as unconstitutional while Justice Chelameswar supported it.[3]


The meaning of this term is "to be certified". It is a writ issued by superior court for the re-examination of an action of the lower court. it is generally issued when a case in pending in the lower court and is out of its jurisdiction.
  • It cannot be issued against the administrative or executive authorities.
  • If four justices in Supreme court agree to review the case then the court will hear the case

Important Case:

Hari Vishnu Kamath V. Syed Ahmad Ishaque:

Qou Warranto:

This writ stands for "by what warrant". This writ requires a person to show that by what warrant is he/she holding the post, office, franchise he/she has claimed and exercising.
  • It cannot be issued against a ministerial or private office.
  • It cannot be issued against The President or The State Governors.

Important Case:

University Of Mysore V. C.D. Govind Rao:

The petition was filed by C. D. Govind Rao, in the Mysore High Court under art. 226 of the Constitution. C.D. Govind Rao wanted by that petition, that a writ of quo warranto should be issued, to call upon Anniah Gowda to show the authority under which he was holding the post of a Research Reader in English in the Central College, Bangalore. It was further prayed that a writ of mandamus be granted calling upon the University of Mysore to appoint him as the Research Reader[4]


Articles on Writs:

  1. Writs In Indian Constitution
  2. Types of Writs In Indian Constitution
  3. A Study On: WRIT And Its Types
  4. Law of Writs In Indian Constitution
  5. Role of Writs In Administrative Law
  6. Types Of Writs: Indian Constitution
  7. Role Of Writs In Administrative Law
  8. Writs In Indian Society & Its Execution
  9. Role of Writs: The Administrative Law
  10. Constitutional Philosophy Of Writs: A Detailed Analysis

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