Indian law consists of various writs which are issued by the Supreme court and High court. In earlier
times these writs were used by English monarch to a specified person to undertake a specified action for
eg; in the feudal era a military summons by the king to one of his tenants –in –chief to appear dressed
for battle with retinue at a certain place and time. Writs are not only part of Indian laws but it is also a
part of Canadian law, united kingdom, and Australian law.
These writs were originated in the Anglo Saxon monarchy and consisted of a brief administrative order
authenticated by a seal. In earlier times, these writs were used against the landlords by the king's
chancellor when the vassal complaint about the injustice and the landlord didn't comply with the sheriff.
William the Conqueror, took over the system unchanged. But he was unable to expand until Henry the
second came and expanded the scope.
Our constitution talks about the application of these writs Article 32 talks about the rights conferred by
the Supreme court and Article 226 talks about writ jurisdiction under by the High court. Writ jurisdiction
under the High court decides whether or not to issue the writ. Writ protects the person's fundamental
In the Chandra Kumar case, in this it was held that the writ jurisdiction of both the High court and
Supreme court is a part of the constitution's basic structure .which means that even if the constitution is
amended it could not be repealed or eliminated.
There is a major difference between supreme court jurisdiction and high court jurisdictions Supreme
court issue writs when there is a violation of the fundamental right and the high court has the authority
to issue writ not only when there is a violation of fundamental right but also in other situations.
There are 5 types of writs
Habeas Corpus: it is a Latin term which means to have the body. If a person is detained
unlawfully his relative or friend or any person can move the court by applying Article 226 in high
court or under article 32 . in the Bhim Singh v. State of Jammu &Kashmir, the apex court
awarded the exemplary damages of Rs 50,000. Under this writ, anyone can apply for habeas
corpus on the behalf of the petitioner.
Mandamus: this term means we command. This writ checks the arbitrariness of administrative
action. It is known as a writ of justice. The rule of Locus Standi is strictly followed in the writ of
Prohibition: means to prohibit, this writ can be granted by the Supreme court, High court, and
quasi-judicial bodies. This writ applies to anybody irrespective of the nature of the function
exercised by it if any ground on which writ is issued is present.
This writ can be issued on the following grounds;1. Absence or excess of jurisdiction,2. Violation
of the principles of natural justice, 3. Unconstitutionality of a statute and 4. Infraction of
Certiorari: means to certify, this writ confers power on the Supreme Court and high court to
correct the illegality of their decisions. Case: AK Kripak v. Union of India, the supreme court
issued the writ of certiorari to quash the selection list of the Indian Forest Service on the ground
that one of the selected candidates was the ex –officio members of the selection committee.
Writ of Quo Warranto; means whatsis your authority, it is a judicial order asking a person, who
occupies public office to show by what authority he/she holds. If it is held that the office holder
has no authority then this writ is issues.