Both the Supreme Court and High Courts have a lot of powers to provide
justice and all those powers are provided by The Indian Constitution. And to
issue the writs, is one of the most important powers. A writ is a command given
by the court to a person or a authority or both to act or not to act in a
particular way. And as the writs are the commands given by the courts, they are
essential parts of the judicial power of the courts.
What Are Writs?What do the writs mean?
Writs are nothing but the written orders that are
given by either the Supreme Court or the High Court. These written orders
commands constitutional remedies for the Indian citizens against the violation
of their rights or fundamental rights.
According to Article 32 of the Indian Constitution, Supreme Court of India can
issue writs whereas according to Article 226 of the Indian Constitution, High
Courts can issue writs.
Types of Writs:
Habeas Corpus:Literal meaning of Habeas Corpus is 'to have the body of'. This type of writ is
used when unlawful detention has occurred to enforce the fundamental right of
individual liberty. When this writ is issued, a person or a authority who has
arrested a another person has to bring that another person before the court.
Rules for Habeas Corpus:
Example: Himesh was making threats to Hina, so father of Hina, who is a police
officer arrested Himesh and imprisoned him. Hina's father didn't filed FIR and
did not follow the procedure to arrest Himesh. So Himesh is wrongfully detained.
Hrithik who is a brother of Himesh filed an application in the respective court
and by issuing the writ of Habeas Corpus, court set Himesh free.
- The applicant should be in a custody of other,
- Family members can file an application or stranger can also file
application in public interest,
- Formal or Informal application can be filed,
- Same application cannot be made successively to different judges of same
- All or part of formalities and procedures should not be followed by
police while making the arrest, etc.
Mandamus:Literal meaning of Mandamus is 'we command.' This type of writ is used when a
public official or public body or corporation or lower court or tribunal or even
the government has not done the needed duty or refused to do. After this writ is
issued, the duty needs to be resumed.
Grounds for Mandamus:
Example: Apeksha has a right to live life with dignity. And Electricity board
has a duty to provide her electricity but the board intentionally didn't provide
her with the electricity and refused to do the duty. Apeksha filed a suit and by
issuing the writ of Mandamus, court ordered the board to supply the electricity
- Petitioner must have a right recognized by law
- Infringement of the right must be done,
- Petitioner must demand the authority to perform the duty and
non-performance of the duty must be present,
- Other remedy must be absent,
- Petitioner must prove that a duty is owed to him and authority has not
performed the duty,
- The non-performed duty must be mandatory duty, etc.
Prohibition:Literal meaning of Prohibition is 'to forbid.' This type of writ is used when a
court which is in lower position i.e., the lower court exceeds its jurisdiction
or un pursue a jurisdiction which is not possessed by it.
Rules of Prohibition:
Example: Sameer and Shahid made a contract in which Shahid decided to sell his
land to Sameer for 2 cr. Rupees. And Sameer failed to pay the amount on time, so
Shahid brought a suit in the Pune District Court. But the contract was made in
Thane, both lived in Mumbai and Land was in Aurangabad. So, the Pune district
court has no jurisdiction over the case. And High court, by issuing the writ of
Prohibition, can order the Pune District Court to forbid the pending suit.
- Lower court or tribunal should overstep its jurisdiction,
- Lower court or tribunal goes against law,
- If lower court or tribunal partly acting in jurisdiction and partly
outside the jurisdiction, Prohibition will be issued against the act which
is partly outside the jurisdiction,
- Proceeding must be pending in the lower court or tribunal,
- Application should be made against judicial or quasi-judicial body only,
Certiorari:Literal meaning of Certiorari is 'to be certified' or 'to be informed.' This
type of writ is used when a transfer of case which is pending in the lower
courts or the order given by lower courts in a case needs to be quashed. This
writ is issued on the basis of an excess of jurisdiction or lack of jurisdiction
or error of law. After this writ is issued, mistakes in the judiciary are cured.
Grounds of Certiorari:
- Overstepping or abuse or absence of jurisdiction should be present by
- Violation of principles of natural justice can be present,
- Some error of law can be present, etc.
Conditions of Certiorari:
Example: There is a case in District Court, and the court lacks jurisdiction to
hear such matters. But the District Court Judge hears the case and renders his
ruling, and Jennie who was affected by the order passed, makes a petition in the
High Court. As a result of the power to issue Writs, the High Court will issue a
writ of Certiorari on the District Court's order, and the District Court's order
will be quashed.
- The body or person should have legal authority.
- Authority should be related questions affecting the rights of people,
- Body or person has a duty to act judicial while functioning,
- Person or body has acted in excess of their jurisdiction or legal
Quo-Warranto:Literal meaning of Quo-Warranto is 'by what authority or warrant.' This type of
writ is used when an illegal usurpation of a public office by a person is done.
After this writ is issued, the legality of a claim of a person to office is
Conditions of Quo-Warranto:
- Office which is wrongfully assumed by private person should be a public
- Office should be created by constitution or other statute,
- Duties of office should be public duties,
- Office should be permanent,
- Application should be made against a person who is in possession of
office and uses the office,
- Office should not be of private nature, etc.
Example: Sanjana is a private citizen. She has no qualifications that are
required for the post of RTO officer. Although, assumes such office. Here a Writ
of Quo Warranto can be issued against Sanjana to call into question her
authority on which she has taken the control of the office RTO officer.
There are five types of Writs which are Habeas Corpus, Mandamus,
Certiorari, Quo Warranto and Prohibition and all these writs are an effective
method of enforcing the rights of the people and to compel the authorities to
fulfil the duties which are bound to perform under the law.