Writs in Indian Constitution - Definitions and Examples

We might have a thought of how our Fundamental Rights are protected and what are the safe guarding measures granted by our Constitution for the proper enforcement of Fundamental Rights.Here comes the importance of Writs,more precisely Prerogative writs. Indian Constitution has adopted 5 Prerogative writs. Article 13 clearly states that Laws inconsistent with or in derogation of the fundamental rights are void.The Supreme Court (Under Article 32) and the High Courts (Under Article 226) are empowered to issue writs for the enforcement of fundamental rights against any authority of the State. 
Article 12 has defined "State" to include the Government and Parliament of India, and the Government and Legislature of the States, and all local or other authorities within the territory of India or under the control of the Government of India. The expression, "other authorities" has been interpreted to cover citizens,business organizations and therefore such organisations also are amenable to the writ jurisdiction of the courts.A proceeding under Article 32 is described as a constitutional remedy and the right to bring such proceedings before the Supreme Court is itself a fundamental right. Article 139 confers the Supreme Court the powers to issue the below 5 writs.

1. What is Habeas corpus writ
Habeas corpus literally means ‘you may have the body'. It is the most valuable writ for personal liberty. It is a remedy available to a person who is confined without legal justification.  Through this writ, the court let it know the reasons for detention of the person and if there is no justification, order the authority concerned to set the person free.  The writ of hebeas corpus, thus, entails the authority to produce the person before the court.  The applicant of this writ may be the prisoner or any person on his behalf to safeguard his liberty.  It seeks immediate relief from unlawful detention whether in prison or private custody.

Habeas corpus case in India example 
One of the most famous Habeas corpus case filed in India was at the time of Emergency, in Kerala High Court (The first Habeas corpus case in the history of Kerala). P. Rajan, a student of the erstwhile Regional Engineering College, was arrested by Kerala police and died due to torturing.His father,Mr T. V. Eachara Warrier filed a 
Habeas corpus in Kerala High Court in which the police finally confirmed that he died in custody. Check the  44th amendment of Constitution - enforcement of the writ of habeas corpus cannot be suspended during Emergency -  under Article 352.

2. What is Certiorari writ
If any lower court or a tribunal gives its decision but based on wrong jurisdiction, the effected party can move this writ to a higher court like Supreme Court or High Court.  The writ of certiorari issued to subordinate judicial or quasi- judicial body when they act:
a)      Without or in excess of jurisdiction;
b)      In violation of the prescribed procedure;
c)      In contravention of principles of natural justice;
d)      Resulting in an error of law apparent on the face of record. 
The writs of prohibition and certiorari are of the same nature, the only difference being that the writ of prohibition is issued at an earlier stage, before the order is made and the writ of certiorari is available on a later stage i.e. after the order has been passed. 

3. What is Quo-Warranto writ
The word Quo-Warranto literally means "by what warrants?" It is a writ issued with a view to restraining a person from acting in a public office to which he is not entitled. Quo Warranto writ is issued against the person of public who occupies the public seat without any qualification for the appointment. It is issued to restrain the authority or candidate from discharging the functions of public office. For example, a person of 65 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.
The writ of quo-warranto to issue when:
a)      The office is public and of substantive nature;
b)      The office is created by the State or by the Constitution itself; and
c)      The respondent must have asserted his claim to the office.

Quo-Warranto case in India example 
The vaults of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Kerala was opened in accordance with the quo warranto petition filed by the former IPS officer and Supreme Court lawyer, T.P. Sundara Rajan.

4. What is Writ of Prohibition
A writ of prohibition is a writ directing a subordinate to stop doing something that they may not do, according to law, but are doing.This writ is normally issued by a superior court to the lower court asking it not to proceed with a case which does not fall under its jurisdiction. The writ lies in both for access of jurisdiction or absence of jurisdiction. It is generally issued before the trial of the case or during the pendency of the proceeding but before the order is made.

5. What is Writ of Mandamus 
Mandamus literally means a command. This writ of command is issued by the Supreme Court of High court when any government, court, corporation or any public authority has to do a public duty but fail to do so. The writ may also be filed to stop the mentioned parties from doing a particular act that may be detrimental to the general public. It must be noted that a writ of mandamus or command may not be issued against the Indian President or Governor.

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