In today's article, I will try to make you all understand "Writs" and the types of writs for the enforcement of constitutional or other legal rights.

So, 'Writs' are basically a formal written order issued by a judicial authority who possesses the authority to do so. The Supreme Court and the High Courts are empowered to issue Writs for the enforcement of the fundamental rights conferred by Part-III of the Indian Constitution under Article 32 and Article 226. Five types of Writs are as follows -
(1) Habeas Corpus.
(2) Mandamus.
(3) Prohibition.
(4) Certiorari.
(5) Quo Warranto.


"You may have the body" or "Habeas Corpus". If a detained person has been detained illegally, the Court will issue the writ of 'habeas corpus' in form of an order that he be released. To give quick and immediate remedy is the main object of the writ of 'habeas corpus'. An application of 'habeas corpus' can be made by a person who is unlawfully detained or by a person on behalf of the prisoner. If a person who is arrested is not produced before the Magistrate within 24 hours of his arrest, the detention becomes unlawful and he will be entitled to be released on the writ of 'habeas corpus'. 

The Supreme Court inKanu Sanyal v. District Magistrate, Darjeeling, AIR 1974 SC 510, held that production of the body of the person alleged to be illegally detained was not essential in case of the application of writ of 'habeas corpus'. 


"The Order" or "Mandamus". When there is a failure to perform a mandatory duty, a superior court by an order can issue the writ of 'mandamus' to a person or a public authority (including the Government and public corporation). This writ can be issued to public authority to restrain it from acting under a law which has been declared unconstitutional. A writ of 'mandamus' does not lie against a private individual or organisation. 


The writ of 'Prohibition' is issued in both where there is excess of jurisdiction and where there is absence of jurisdiction. The Superior Court can issue this writ to an inferior court or tribunal for the purpose of preventing inferior courts from exceeding its jurisdiction or acting contrary to the rules of natural justice. 


A writ of 'Certiorari' lies, whenever any body of persons having legal authority to determine questions affecting the rights of subject and having the duty to act judicially, acts in excess of their legal authority. The writ of 'Certiorari' is issued to a judicial or quasi-judicial body where there is want or excess of jurisdiction or where there is violation of procedure or contrary to the principles of natural justice or where there is error of law apparent on the face of the record but not error of a fact. The writ of 'Certiorari' cannot be issued against a private body. 


"What is your authority" or "Quo Warranto". To prevent a person to hold an office which he is not legally entitled to hold is the object of the writ of quo warranto. The writ of quo warranto is not issued in respect of a private office. 

In Jamalpur Arya Samaj Sabha v. Dr. D. Ram, AIR 1954 Pat. 297, the High Court refused to issue a writ of quo warranto against the members of the working committee of the Bihar Arya Samaj Sabha, a private association.

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