WRITS – Types and Scope

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WRITS – Types and Scope

What are Writs?

Writs are the written order in the name of a court or a legal authority to act.

Writs in the Indian Constitution:

The Constitution of India empowers the Supreme Court under Article 32 and the High court under Article 226 to issue writs for the enforcement of the Fundamental Rights.

Under Article 32, the Parliament can empower any other to issue these writs but since no such provisions have been made yet so, only the Supreme Court and the High Court have the right to issue writs and not any other courts.

What are the different types of Writs?

There are five types of writs. They are

  1. Habeas Corpus
  2. Mandamus
  3. Prohibition
  4. Certiorari
  5. Quo-Warranto

Habeas Corpus:

It is a Latin word which means ‘to have the body of’. It implies that a person detained by the law can enquire ‘under what authority he has been detained or imprisoned’. If the detention is found to be illegal then the person has to be set free. It can be issued against both public authorities as well as a private individual.

When and where does the writ of Habeas Corpus cannot be issued?

It cannot be issued where the

  1. A person is detained according to the law.
  2. Detention is made by the competent court.
  3. Detention is outside the jurisdiction of the court.
  4. The proceeding is for contempt of a court or a legislature.

Mandamus:

It is a Latin word that means ‘command’. It is a command issued by a court to a public official asking him to do his duties which he had failed or refused to do so. Whenever a person or a government committed an act that violates a person’s Fundamental Right, to restrain that authority, a court can issue the writ of mandamus.

When and where does the writ of mandamus cannot be issued?

It cannot be issued

  1. Against the President of India and the State Governors.
  2. Against a private individual or body.
  3. Against the working Chief Justice of a High Court.
  4. When the duty is discretionary and not mandatory.
  5. To enforce departmental instruction that does not have statutory status.
  6. To enforce contractual obligations.

PROHIBITION:

It literally means ‘to forbid’. It is issued by a higher court to a lower court to forbid the latter from exceeding its jurisdiction or usurping a jurisdiction that it does not possess. It can be issued only against judicial and quasi-judicial authorities not against administrative authorities, legislative bodies, and private individuals.

How is it different from mandamus?

Mandamus directs activity but Prohibition directs inactivity.

CERTIORARI:

It is a Latin word which means ‘to be informed or certified. It is issued by a higher court to a lower court to transfer a case pending with the latter to itself or to squash an order or decision of the lower court.

How is it different from Prohibition?

While prohibition is available during the pendency of the proceedings and before the order is made, certiorari can be issued only after the order has been, under similar circumstances.

QUO-WARRANTO:

It is a Latin word which means ‘by what authority or warrant’. It is issued by the court to enquire a person that by what authority he is holding a public office to which he is not entitled. It can be issued only in case of a public office created by a statute or by the constitution.

The other four writs can only be sought by the aggrieved person but Quo-Warranto can be sought by any interested person.

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