Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Types of Writs in Indian Constitution and their Importance

A writ means an order. Anything that is issued under an authority is a writ. In indian constitution, we have five writs

  1. Habeas Corpus
  2. Mandamus
  3. Prohibition
  4. Quo Warranto
  5. Certiorari
Types of Writs in Indian Constitution and their Importance

Habeas Corpus

  • Habeas Corpus means, " you may have the body".
  • A person, when arrested, can move the court for the issue of Habeas Corpus. It is an order by a court to the detaining authority to produce the arrested person before it so that it may examine whether the person has been detained lawfully or otherwise. If the court is convinced that the person is illegally detained , it can issue orders for his release.

Who can Apply?

General rule is that an application can be made by a person who is illegally detained. But in certain cases, an application of habeas corpus can be made by any person on behalf of the prisoner, i.e a friend or a relation.


  • Mandamus is a Latin word, which means "We Command".
  • Mandamus is an order from a superior court to a lower court or tribunal or publich authority to perfor an act, which fals within its duty.
  • Simply, it is a writ issued to a public official to do a thing which is a part of his official duty, but, which he has failed to do, so far. This writ cannot be claimed as a matter of right. It is the discretionary power of a court to issue such writs.

Writ of Prohibition

  • Writ of prohibition means to forbid or to stop and is popularly known as "Stay Order".
  • This writ is issued when a lower court or a body tries to transgress the limits or powers vested in it.
  • It is a writ issued by a superior court to lower court or a tribunal forbidding it to perform an act outside its jurisdiction. After the issue of this writ, proceedings in the lower court etc. come to a stop.

Writ of Quo Warranto

  • The word Quo-Warranto literally means "on what authority one is holding the public office".
  • It is a writ issued with a view to restraining a person from acting in a public office to which he is not entitled.
  • For example, a person of 62 years has been appointed to fill a public office whereas the retirement age is 60 years. Now, the appropriate High court has a right to issue a writ of Quo-Warranto against the person and declare the office vacant.

Writ of Certiorari

  • Literally, Certiorari means to be certified.
  • The writ of certiorari is issued by the Supreme Court to some inferior court or tribunal to transfer the matter to it or to some other superior authority for proper consideration.
  • The writ is issued for correcting an error of law apparent on the face of records. It cannot be issued to correct an error of fact.

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