Writs of the Indian Constitution: Overview

Writs of the Indian Constitution: Overview

Question: Writs are of many different types. Discuss the writs guaranteed by the Indian Constitution.

Habeas Corpus: This connotes equality before law and equal protection of law

• Through this writ, SC or HC can cause people to be detained or jailed and physically presented to the court

• The court then examines reasons for detention and sets the person free if there is no legal justification for them

• Habeas Corpus write is issued when a person is detained and not produced before the magistrate within 24 hours

• Person whose rights has been infringed must file the petition

• This writ is applicable to preventive detention as well

• Habeas corpus writ can also be issued against the state

• It literally means “To have a body of”

Mandamus: It means “We Order/Command”. This writ is also called a wake up call by constitutional experts. It is a command issued by the court asking public officials to perform official duties he may have failed or be refusing to perform

• Person filing the writ must have special interest and specific legal right in the matter

Prohibition: Which means to “forbid” and it is issued by the higher court to the lower court to prevent the latter from exceeding its jurisdiction or usurping a jurisdiction it does not have

• SC and HC can prohibit lower courts such as special tribunals, magistrates, commissions and judiciary officers through this writ

Certiorari: This writ is an order to move the suit from inferior to superior court. In literal terms it means “to be certified/informed”

• This writ is transferred from higher to lower court to transfer case pending with the latter to itself or quash the order of the latter in a case

Quo Warranto: Means “By what warrant”

• This writ is issued by SC or HC restraining person or authority to act in office he or she is lacks entitlement for

• This writ is applicable to public offices only

Facts and Stats

• Writ means an order and anything issued under authority is a writ

• SC issues directions or writs

• A32(3) of the Indian Constitution empowers the parliament to make laws empowering any court to issue writs

• Only SC can issue writs before 1950; now HCs can also issue writs

• SC can issue writs for enforcement of FR while HC can also issue them for any other purpose.
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