Our Supreme Court and the High Courts, are provided with powers which they exercise in order to deliver justice. And One of the most important powers provided by the constitution is the power to issue writs.
A Writ is a command of the Court to another person or authority by which such person/authority has to perform that act or abstain from doing some act in a certain way.
Writs in the Constitution
The constitution of India has provided the Supreme Court with the power to issue the Writ under Article 32 of the Constitution and High Courts of India under Article 226. Under Article 32 or Article 226, when any Fundamental Right of a citizen is violated, the aggrieved party has the right to approach the Supreme Court for the enforcement of his rights and the Court may issue the appropriate Writ in order to enforce such right.
Types of Writs in India
The Constitution of India provides 5 types of writs that can be issued by the Courts. They are:
1. Habeas Corpus
4. Quo Warranto
The Writ of Habeas Corpus is issued by the Courts in those cases where a person is illegally detained. The word Habeas Corpus means ‘to have the body and it is one of the important remedies available to a detained person.
Under this Writ, the Court may command the person or authority who has detained or restrained the aggrieved person to present such person before the Court. The Court asks the detaining person to provide the grounds to detain and failure to provide will amount, the person who has been detained will be released by the Court immediately.
This Writ is crucial in order to protect the personal liberty of the citizens because if this Writ is not provided under the Constitution a person may be unlawfully restrained or detained by any authority and it will amount to a violation of the personal liberty of the citizens.
The purpose of this Writ is to avoid a person being detained unlawfully and if the Court finds the grounds for detaining to be justified then this Writ cannot be issued.
Mandamus is another crucial Writ which is provided under the Indian Constitution. In this, the superior courts order the Inferior Courts to perform an act or to abstain from doing. This order may also be given to an Inferior Tribunal, Board, Corporation, or any other type of administrative authority.
In India, the Supreme Court being the apex court has the power to issue the Writ of Mandamus even against the High Court of any state and the High Courts have also been provided with the power to issue such Writs under Article 226.
The writ of Mandamus cannot be issued in the case of a private person and therefore only the organization falling under the definition of State or the people who hold any office which falls in the category of a public office can be compelled to do or to abstain from doing an act.
Certiorari is a Writ that is issued by any superior court to an inferior court. Certiorari may be issued when the superior court, wish to decide a matter in the case itself or if there is an above of jurisdiction by the inferior court. This Writ may also be issued when there is a fundamental problem in the procedure followed by the inferior court or if there is a violation of the principles of natural justice.
If the superior court concludes that there has been a violation of natural justice or any fundamental problem with the procedure adopted, it can quash the order of that inferior court.
The Writ of Quo Warranto is issued by the courts against a private person in cases where that person assumes an office on which he has no right.
The meaning of the word Quo Warranto is ‘by what authority and it is proved to be an effective measure to prevent people from taking over public offices.
Prohibition is not issued very often and is an extraordinary remedy which a Superior Court by the virtue of their power issues to an inferior court or any tribunal in order to stop them from deciding any case because of the reason that the courts do not have the jurisdiction.
In a case where the court or tribunals do not have jurisdiction and that court or tribunal still decides the case, it will be deemed to be an invalid judgment because, in order for any action to be legal, it should have the sanction of law.