Writs of the Indian Constitution

Writs of the Indian Constitution.

B.R. Ambedkar once said that the right to constitutional remedy is known as ‘heart and soul of the constitution’.         

Under Part III, Article 32 is the greatest safeguard of the fundamental rights of the citizens.

Article 32 is that the Supreme Court has the power to issue writs for enforcement of fundamental rights.

Writs are issued by both The Supreme Court and The High Court under Article 32 and 226. Both the courts have the power to issue directions, orders, and writs, including writs of Habeas corpus, Mandamus, Prohibition, Quo warranto, and Certiorari, for the enforcement of any of the rights.

It allows an individual to approach the Supreme Court if she or he believes that her or his fundamental rights have been violated or they need to be enforced.

Five types of writs

  1. Habeas Corpus
  2. Mandamus
  3. Prohibition
  4. Quo Warranto
  5. Certiorari

Habeas corpus – (“You shall have the body”)

  • The meaning of the word Habeas corpus is ‘You shall have the body’
  • A writ of habeas corpus means that the court orders that the arrested person should be presented before it.
  • It can also order to set free an arrested person if the manner or grounds of arrest are not lawful or satisfactory.
  • If a detained person is not in a position to file a petition, it can be moved on his behalf by any other person.

Mandamus – (“We command”)

  • The Meaning of the word Mandamus is “We command”.
  • This writ is issued when the court finds that a particular office holder is not doing legal duty and thereby is infringing on the right of an individual.


  • This writ is issued by a higher court (High Court or Supreme Court) when a lower court has considered a case going beyond its jurisdiction.
  • The writ is issued in both cases where there is excess of jurisdiction and where there is absence of jurisdiction.
  • This writ is often issued by a superior court to the lower court

Quo Warranto – (“by what warrant”)

  • If the court finds that a person is holding office but is not entitled to hold that office, it issues the writ of quo warranto and restricts that person from acting as an office holder.

Certiorari – (“to be made certain”)

  • Under this writ, the court orders a lower court or another authority to transfer a matter pending before it to the higher authority or court.
  • Writ is issued by a superior court to direct that the record of the lower court be sent to the superior court for review.
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