Meaning and evolution of the concept of Writs:

The term „writ petition‟ in its general connotation means a Petition filed before the competent Courts, having prerogative powers, when some special and inherited rights of the people are infringed bu the government or its officials. in the common laws of English this term is well settled as a „prerogative writ‟ which means a writ special associated with then king. It resembled the extraordinary authority of the Crown/ Court. In English prerogative writs were issued only at the suit of the king but later on it was made available to the subject also.


 Habeas Corpus

Habeas Corpus is a writ requiring the body of a person to be brought before a judge or Court. In other words, it is prerogative process for securing the liberty of the subject which affords an effective means of immediate reLease form unlawful unjustifiable detention whether in prison or in private custody. It is an ancient supreme right of the subject. Its object is the vindication of the right of the personal liberty of the subject.

The High Courts and The Supreme Court have got a very wide power of protecting the liberty of subjects, under Art.226 and Art.32 respectively of the Constitution. These powers are to be exercised on certain fixed judicial principles and not in an arbitrary manner. The jurisdiction can be exercised if the Court is satisfied that the detention is illegal or improper, where the Court can also embark upon an inquiry as to whether the enactment under which a person is detained is proper or not. A proceeding of habeas corpus is essential of a civil character, and is concerned with the personal liberty of a citizen. However, the power is exercised on the criminal side of the High Court‟s appellate jurisdiction. The High Courts and the Supreme Court exercise this power when satisfied that the matter is of urgency, and no other legal remedy is available.

An application for habeas corpus may be made by any person interested in the liberty of the detenue without unreasonable delay; and it must be supported by an affidavit of the petitioner. Ordinarily a rule nisi (to show cause) is issued by the Court in the first instance. It is not open to Court to go behind the reasons given by Government for the detention, and it must see the motive of the impugned law and the bonafide of the Government. If the impugned detention has been induced by malafide and some other strenuous reasons and not for bonafide cause, it shall be quashed and the individual shall be set at liberty.



It is high prerogative writ of a most extensive remedial nature. The Supreme Court and high court have power respectively under Article 32 and Article 226 of the Indian constitution to issue this writ in the form of a command directing any person holding public office under the government or, statutory bodies or, corporation or, to an inferior Court exercising judicial or 54  quasi-judicial function to do a particular act pertaining to his office or duty and which the court issuing the writ cinsiders to be the right of the petitioner and is in the interest of justice. It is not restricted to persons charged with judicial or quasi-judicial; duty only.

It is issued only when there is a specific legal right, but not specific legal remedy to enforce that right. It lies for restoration, admission and election to office of a public nature so long the office is vacant. It may , also, lie for the delivery , inspection and production of public books, papers and documents provided that the petitioner has a direct tangible interest in such books, paper and documents. It lies for the performance public duties which are not discretionary and compel public officials to perform such public duties. Mandamus will not be issued when any alternative remedy by way of appeal or any other remedy under any other statute is available. Article 32 is limited to the enforcement of fundamental right of part III of the Constitution only.



The writ of Certiorari may be issued to any judge, Magistrate or person or body of person or authority vested with judicial or quasi-judicial functions. An order of Certiorari is an order directing the aforesaid authorities and requiring them to transmit the record of the proceedings in any cause or matter to the High Court to be dealt with there. It may be issued when the decision complained is of an authority having the legal duty to act judicially or quasi-judicially, and the authority has either no jurisdiction, or there is an excess of jurisdiction. Mainly it is issued for quashing decisions only.



The writ of prohibition is an order directed to an inferior Court or tribunal forbidding such Court or tribunal from continuing with the proceeding of any cause or matter. It is an appropriate writ „to a tribunal which threatens to assume or assumes a jurisdiction not vested in it, so long as there is something in the proceeding s left to prohibit.‟ The difference between a writ of Prohibition and Certiorari is that the former is issued to restrain a tribunal from doing an act before it is actually done, while the latter may be issue during the course of the proceeding of an act and even after the act is done and the proceeding is concluded. Both can be issued to the person, or body, or tribunal if charged with judicial or quasi-judicial duties.


Quo Warranto

It is a writ questioning a right of a person holding an office of a public nature, and direct him to show an authority under which he is holding such office or exercising the right. In older days it lay against the crown who claimed or usurped any office, franchise or liberty for holding an enquiry by what authority he support his claim. Now, it may be issued any person holding the office of a public nature on the application of any person without alleging the violation of his any specific right.  Any member of the public acting in good faith and whose conduct otherwise did not disentitle him to the relief can apply to the High Court for this writ.

For instance, any registered graduate of any university can apply for the instance of this writ against any member of University Syndicate or Executive Council or Academic Council or any such other statutory body of that University. Likewise, a petition may lie against the Speaker, chairman or the parliament of state legislation or any other statutory or local bodies. If the opposite party fails to support his claim, he will be ousted from the office and may be ordered to pay fine and cost of the petition.