Definition – A writ means an order. In law, a writ is a formal written order issued by an authority.
In India, the Supreme Court under Article 32 is empowered to issue writs of different types to enforce the Fundamental Rights under Part III of the Indian Constitution and under Articles 139 for enforcement of rights other than Fundamental Rights. Thus, to make available Right to Constitutional Remedies to every citizen, provisions has been made in Indian Constitution to issue writs. Thus, Supreme Court under Article 32(2) and High Courts under Article 226 are empowered to issue writs for the enforcement of Fundamental Rights.
Types of Writs
There are five types of writs in the Indian Constitution – Habeas Corpus, Certiorari, Quo-Warranto, Mandamus and Prohibition.
1. Writ of Habeas Corpus –
This writ literally means ‘you may have the body’. This writ is issued to produce a person physically before the court who has been imprisoned or detained by the law and to set him free if there is no legal justification of his detention.
This writ can be issued against authorities of states or organisations or individuals.
2. Writ of Certiorari –
This writ literally means ‘to be certified’. This writ is issued by the higher court to the lower court for quashing the order already passed by the lower court or removing a suit from the lower court to higher court for speedy disposal.
3. Writ of Quo-Warranto –
This writ literally means ‘by what warrants?’ or ‘what is your authority’. It is a writ issued by the Supreme Court or High Court with a view to restrain a person or authority from holding a public office to which he is not entitled. The writ requires the concerned person or authority to explain to the Court by what authority he/it holds the office.
4. Writ of Mandamus –
This writ literally means ‘we command’. It is a a judicial writ issued by the Supreme Court or a High Court as a command to an inferior court or tribunal or a person to perform a public or statutory duty.
5. Writ of Prohibition –
This writ is popularly known as ‘Stay Order’. This writ is issued by a higher court to a lower court to stop proceeding in a case on the ground of over-stepping of jurisdiction or absence of jurisdiction. It is issued before the judgement or order is made in such cases.