Writs in the Indian Constitution: Their role in Judiciary

How Writs play an important role in Judiciary?

This article aims to delve into writs in the Indian Constitution which play a crucial role in the functioning of the judiciary from the perspective of the SSC CGL/CSL and Banking examinations.

Writ refers to a special formal order that is issued by a body with judicial jurisdiction, namely the Supreme Court and the High Court. 

Article 32 empowers the Supreme Court to issue writs.

Article 226 empowers the High Court to issue writs.

Writs are a provision to enforce the right to Constitutional remedies, which is a guarantor of all the Fundamental Rights available to the people of India and hence is also called the heart and soul of the constitution.

The Supreme Court can only issue writs on matters pertaining to fundamental rights but the High Court can issue writs on matters pertaining to any right.

The Supreme Court can issue writs across the country, whereas, the High Court can only issue Writs in their territorial jurisdiction.

Read more: Vedic Culture & and the Aryans – Important Facts & Dates

The Constitution allows courts to issue 5 kinds of prerogative writs:

  • Writ Of Prohibition
  • Writ Of Habeas Corpus
  • Writ Of Certiorari
  • Writ Of Mandamus
  • Writ Of Quo Warranto

Writ Of Habeas Corpus

Literally translating to ‘you must have the body’, a writ of habeas corpus means that the court orders the authority which has arrested a person to be present the detained person before it to decide the validity, jurisdiction, and justification for the detention. The court can also order to set free an arrested person if the grounds of arrest are believed to be unsatisfactory.

This writ is also said to be a guarantor of personal freedom.

Writ of Mandamus

Literally translating to ‘we command’, this writ is issued when the court finds that a particular office or officeholder is not performing the duties assigned to him/her. This writ acts as an order to the concerned authorities to comply with the duties assigned to them. The writ can be issued to a body carrying out any for the following functions:

  • Administrative
  • Legislative
  • Judicial
  • Quasi-judicial

Writ Of Prohibition

This writ is issued by a higher court (high court or Supreme Court) if it feels that a lower court has considered a case going beyond its jurisdiction ,acts in violation of rules of natural justice, acts under a law which deems to be unconstitutional and acts in a way which does not comply with fundamental rights.

Writ Of Quo Warranto

Literally translating to’ what’s your authority?’, this writ is issued to judicially control executive action in the matter of making appointments to public offenses. The writ is exercised if the court feels that a person holding an office is not entitled to hold that office, it issues the writ of Quo Warranto to restrict the person from acting as an office holder.

Writ Of Certiorari

Literally translating to ‘to be certified’, this writ is exercised by a higher court to oversee the judgment of a lower court. The higher courts can also use this writ to dismiss the judgment of a lower court. This writ is exercised when the higher court believes that the lower court has given an erroneous judgment or if it believes that the lower courts have exercised powers beyond their jurisdiction.

The difference between the writ of certiorari and prohibition is that the writ of prohibition is used when proceedings of a case are taking place but the writ of certiorari is used after the lower court has made its decision.

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