Under the Indian legal
system, jurisdiction to issue ‘prerogative writs’ is given to the Supreme
Court, and to the High Courts of Judicature of all Indian states. Parts of the
law relating to writs are set forth in the Constitution of India. The
Supreme Court, the highest in the country, may issue writs under Article 32 of
the Constitution for enforcement of Fundamental Rights and under Articles 139
for enforcement of rights other than Fundamental Rights, while High Courts, the
superior courts of the States, may issue writs under Articles 226. ‘Writ’ is
eminently designed by the makers of the Constitution, and in the same way it is
developed very widely and efficiently by the courts in
Constitution broadly provides for five kinds of “prerogative” writs,
namely, Habeas Corpus, Certiorari, Mandamus, Quo Warranto and Prohibition.
Basic details of which are as follows:
- The writ of prohibition is
issued by a higher court to a lower court prohibiting it from taking up a case
because it falls outside the jurisdiction of the lower court. Thus, the higher
court transfers the case to itself.
- The writ of habeas corpus is
issued to a detaining authority, ordering the detainer to produce the detained
person in the issuing court, along with the cause of his or her detention. If
the detention is found to be illegal, the court issues an order to set the
- The writ of certiorari is
issued to a lower court directing that the record of a case be sent up for
review, together with all supporting files, evidence and documents, usually
with the intention of overruling the judgement of the lower court. It is one of
the mechanisms by which the fundamental rights of the citizens are
- The writ of mandamus is
issued to a subordinate court, an officer of government, or a corporation or
other institution commanding the performance of certain acts or duties.
- The writ of quo warranto is
issued against a person who claims or usurps a public office. Through this writ
the court inquires ‘by what authority’ the person supports his or her claim.