When it comes to protecting fundamental rights and seeking justice, the Indian Constitution provides its citizens with several legal remedies. One such powerful tool is the writ petition, filed in the Supreme Court or the High Courts. In this article, we will explore the concept of writs, the different types of writs available, and how writ jurisdiction differs between the Supreme Court and the High Courts.
A writ can be described as a formal written order issued by a higher court to a lower court or an individual when a citizen’s fundamental rights have been violated. The Indian Constitution allows the Supreme Court to issue writs under Article 32, while the High Courts have the authority to do so under Article 226.
Writs can be issued against the judgments of lower courts or individuals, depending on their jurisdiction. Both articles outline the types of writs, the necessary steps, and the requirements that the petitioner must meet in case of a violation of fundamental rights.
A writ petition is generally filed when someone’s fundamental rights have been violated or when they have suffered injustice. It serves as a corrective measure provided by the Constitution against the country’s body responsible for maintaining law and order. The primary reasons for requiring a writ petition are:
As a basic rule, a person who is allegedly held unlawfully can file a writ petition. However, in some specific circumstances, someone else—a friend or relative—can apply for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of the person being held. The petition simply asks for the prisoner to be brought before the court so that it can examine the evidence and determine whether the accused is being held legally or unlawfully. The possibility of the detainee being held incommunicado is another reason why the prisoner should not use Habeas Corpus. There are limitations to the use of habeas corpus.
The Indian Constitution includes various types of writs. Articles 32 and 226 contain two distinct but related provisions regarding writ jurisdiction for the Supreme Court and High Court. The constitutional remedy against the violation of fundamental rights is provided by Article 32. The remedy specified in this article applies only to violations of fundamental rights.
Habeas Corpus, a Latin term meaning “Let us have the body,” is considered the most crucial writ for individual liberty. An individual can request the court to issue this writ when arrested. Through this petition, the court directs the detaining authority to present the arrested person before the court so that it can determine whether the arrestee was held legally. If the investigation reveals that the person was held against the law, the court may issue orders for the person’s release.
The Habeas Corpus protection safeguards the arrestee from being held in unjustified or unsupported detention. Both the arrested person and someone assisting the prisoner can seek this remedy. Developed in England, the Habeas Corpus system has been adopted by many other countries and has proven to be a vital legal tool for protecting individual freedom from arbitrary state action.
Mandamus, a Latin word meaning “we command,” is an order from a higher court to a lower court, public authority, or law enforcement agency to perform an act within its jurisdiction. It ensures the fulfillment of public duties and upholds private rights that the government holds. A writ of mandamus is typically issued to a public official to carry out a duty that they have so far neglected to perform.
The public holds public servants accountable for fulfilling their legal obligations. If the official or authority fails to fulfill their duties, a writ of mandamus may be imposed on their behalf, warning them about their unfulfilled public responsibilities and ordering them to complete them.
A tribunal may also receive a mandamus to compel it to carry out the duties it has refused to perform. It may be issued in cases where a specific legal right is involved without requiring a separate means of enforcing that right.
Certiorari, a Latin term meaning “certified,” empowers the Supreme Court to request a critical review of a decision made by a lower court or tribunal by issuing a writ of certiorari. The Supreme Court issues this writ to overturn a previous decision made by a lower court. This writ can only be used after the order or decision has been made. A writ of certiorari can be issued to a judicial or quasi-judicial body on the following grounds:
Also known as “Stay Order,” the Prohibition writ is issued when a lower court or other authority attempts to exceed its boundaries or exercise its powers improperly. The Supreme Court issues this writ to prevent a lower court or tribunal from carrying out an action that is not within its jurisdiction.
Quo-Warranto, which means “by what authority?” in Latin, is issued to prevent someone from exercising their right to hold a public office unlawfully. This writ aims to stop anyone from usurping or occupying a public office illegally. The accusation is that the individual is exercising public office without legal permission.
A quo warranto writ or legal action seeks to demonstrate the specific person’s detention under which authority.
The Indian Constitution empowers the Supreme Court and the High Court to issue writs under different articles, such as Article 32 and Article 226. There are a few differences in the writ jurisdiction between the two courts:
A writ petition can be filed before any High Court, in whole or in part, whose jurisdiction the cause of action arises, as per Article 226. Whether or not the authority the writ petition is filed against is located within the territory is irrelevant. The High Court has broader authority to issue writs compared to the Supreme Court. Are you interested in knowing the specifics of how to file a writ petition? It is always better to seek the advice of the best legal service provider or attorneys, who will assist you in filing them without missing any crucial points.