Writs: Meaning and Types

The Constitution specifies the rights of citizens to social, economic, and political justice and guarantees them equal protection under the law. Anyone is eligible to appeal to a judicial authority; there are no limitations. The freedom to exercise one's rights is guaranteed by the Constitution as long as one abides by the rules of justice and established legal procedures. The idea of writing is now relevant in this situation.

What is Writ?

A writ is comparable to a written directive given by either high court or supreme court. If any citizen's fundamental rights are violated, they are granted to a court with a lower jurisdiction or to an individual. According to Article 32 of the Indian Constitution, the Indian Supreme Court may issue a writ. According to Article 226, the High Court also has this authority. These writs are issued to challenge any decision made by a lower court or other person that falls under their purview. In the event that any basic rights have been violated, both paragraphs describe the kind of writ to be issued, the procedures to be followed, and the requirements that the petitioner must satisfy.

Likewise, a "writ" is fundamentally a formal written order given by anyone with the authority to do so, whether they are executive or judicial. This body is often judicial in modern times. A formal written order issued by a court with the authority to do so is what can be considered a "writ." Writs are what we commonly refer to as orders, warrants, instructions, summonses, etc. An application to the appropriate court asking it to issue a particular writ is known as a writ petition.

What is writ under Indian Constitution?

Part III of the Indian Constitution contains fundamental rights, such as the rights to equality, life, and liberty, among others. The protection of fundamental rights alone is insufficient. Additionally, it is crucial that these fundamental rights be safeguarded and upheld. Any person whose fundamental right has been violated has the option to file a complaint with the Supreme Court or the High Court, respectively, under Articles 32 and 226 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantee fundamental rights. These two articles grant the highest courts in the nation the authority to issue writs in order to uphold fundamental rights.

Importance of Writ

When someone's fundamental rights have been violated or they have suffered injustice, a writ petition is often filed. It is essentially a constitutionally mandated corrective action against the national authority in charge of maintaining law and order for the following reasons −

  • To support individuals as they defend their rights against legal orders.

  • In the event of an accusation, the higher authorities of the legal system do not object to giving the injured party an alternative.

  • To ensure that justice is carried out without being interfered with.

Types of Writ

India's high court and Supreme Court have enormous authority and are obligated to defend the country's inhabitants' fundamental rights. To do this, they may issue one of five different sorts of writs, which will be used to uphold Indian citizens' basic rights. The following are explanations for these five writs of Indian Constitution −

Habeas Corpus

The Latin phrase "habeas corpus" means "to have a body of." The writ of habeas corpus is used to stop someone from being wrongfully detained. The person can protect their right to individual liberty using the Habeas Corpus procedure. If someone unlawfully detains another person and a complaint is made against the first for doing so, the court may inquire of the person who brought the matter before the court of law.

  • In order for the court to issue a Habeas Corpus writ, the person must have been imprisoned, and that imprisonment must have been unlawful.

  • The Habeas Corpus procedure is used to protect individual freedom from arbitrary state action that infringes on fundamental rights protected by the Constitution.

  • Since the right to petition the High Court under Article 226 and the Supreme Court under Article 32 is not suspended even when fundamental rights are suspended during an emergency, these courts could still be petitioned for a Writ Petition in such a circumstance.

  • Writs of Habeas Corpus can be issued by the Supreme Court and the High Courts against both public and private authorities.

Feature of Habeas Corpus

A Writ of Habeas Corpus is a legal procedure that allows someone who has been unlawfully held or arrested to be released.

Purpose of this Writ

It comes in the form of a summons issued by the High Court or Supreme Court to the one who actually made the offended person's arrest. directing the production of the subject before the court so that the justification for the arrest may be heard. And if the court finds no legal basis for the arrest, the individual conducting the arrest must immediately release the person who was wronged.


The Latin word "certiorari" means "certified." A higher court may issue a Writ of Certiorari to a lower court to direct the transfer of those courts' cases to the lower court or to overturn the lower court's decision in a specific case. Where a tribunal or inferior court has taken jurisdiction over a matter over which it has no legal authority or when the order contains a legal error that is obvious from the record, a petition for certiorari may be utilized to overturn those decisions.

  • Additionally, the purpose of a writ of certiorari is to ensure justice when a lower court abuses its authority by exercising its jurisdiction or lack thereof.

  • While Certiorari is a curative measure, Prohibition is a preventive measure.

  • The court may also use the writ of certiorari to transfer a case from a lower court.


Mandamus translates as "we order." A superior court's (the Supreme Court or the High Court) order to a lower court, tribunal, or government agency to carry out a statutory or public duty is known as a mandamus. If a public official doesn't carry out their responsibilities, a writ of mandamus is issued. It may be issued for tribunals, lower courts, public enterprises, and other entities.

No Writ of Mandamus may be issued against −

  • A private person or organization.

  • Direction from the department that is not statutory.

  • Can’t be given if the position is a discretionary one.

  • Governor and President

  • The chief justice acts as a judge.

A Writ of Mandamus is a legal remedy that takes the form of an order from a superior court directing a particular government body, court, corporation, or public authority to perform or refrain from performing a particular act that it is required by law to perform or refrain from performing, depending on the circumstances. They are required to carry out these deeds as part of their civic or legal obligations.


The word prohibition literally means to disallow. A higher court will issue a writ to a lower court to forbid it from exercising its authority excessively. It orders the lesser courts to cease operations because they have gone beyond their authority.

  • Only judicial or quasi-judicial bodies are eligible to receive it. It is not possible to issue a Writ of Prohibition against a governmental, legislative, or commercial entity.

  • The Writ of Prohibition is available during the course of proceedings, which is how it differs from the Writ of Certiorari.

  • The writ of certiorari, however, can only be used after the order or decision has been made public.

Quo Warranto

Quo-Warranto literally means to "by what warrants" or "what is your authority?" Against public officials and the legitimacy of holding public office, the writ of Quo Warranto may be issued. It is given to prevent someone from holding a public office for which they are not legally authorized.

  • The writ of Quo-Warranto is issued to stop someone from improperly usurping a public position.

  • It covers both statutory and constitutional offices, although it cannot be used against a ministerial office.

  • The court issues the Quo-Warranto to determine whether or not the legal claims made by the person in a public position are valid. By doing this, the court defends an elected official against erroneous claims made by others.

    A Writ of Prohibition is sent to a court or other body to prevent them from taking an action they are about to take. This restriction is imposed whenever a subordinate court or tribunal hears a case that is outside of their purview or relates to a subject matter they are not authorized to hear.


To ensure social, economic, and political fairness for all of its residents is the Preamble's main objective. Preamble of the Constitution This section lays out the primary goals that the legislature sought to accomplish, making it the nation's guiding concept. The Constitution was written with the intention of bringing about the social changes that its authors had in mind. This was done by allowing people to exercise their fundamental rights and by the government directing its policies in the direction of the objectives outlined in Chapter IV of the Constitution, which lays out the guiding principles for public policy.


Q1. Which court has writ-issuing authority?

Ans: According to the constitution, Writs can be issued in India by the Supreme Court (under Article 32) and the High Court (under Article 226) to protect basic rights.

Q2. What is the Writ Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court?

Ans: A fundamental right under Article 32 is the Supreme Court's right to issue writs in order to stop violations of other fundamental rights. All Indian courts, governments, and citizens are subject to the Supreme Court's Writ Jurisdiction.

Q3. Who can file a writ petition?

Ans: Any person whose Fundamental Rights have been violated by the State may submit a writ petition. Even if his personal Fundamental Right has not been violated, any public-spirited person may submit a writ petition in the interest of the broader public under a Public Interest Litigation.

Updated on: 30-Jan-2023


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