What is a Writ?

A writ is a legal document similar to a written order issued by a higher court in India when a citizen’s fundamental rights are violated. Article 32 of the Indian Constitution allows the Supreme Court to issue writs, providing a way for individuals or authorities to seek relief or remedy against the government or any other entity. Similarly, Article 226 grants the High Courts the power to issue writs within their respective jurisdictions. These writs challenge judgments by lower courts or individuals and outline the types available, procedural steps, and prerequisites for petitioners in cases of fundamental rights violations.

In the Indian legal system, individuals can file a writ petition under Article 226 in the High Court or under Article 32 in the Supreme Court. Both articles elaborate on the process and significance of writ petitions. Alternatively, individuals can seek assistance from a legal expert to draft a writ petition. Writ petitions can be filed for criminal or civil matters in either the High Court or the Supreme Court, depending on the nature of the case. If unsatisfied with the High Court’s judgment, individuals can then appeal to the Supreme Court.

Writs serve as a legal recourse when fundamental rights are infringed upon or when individuals face injustice. They play a crucial role by:

  1. Protecting Individuals from Unjust Judicial Orders: Writ petitions shield individuals against unfair decisions made by the judiciary.
  2. Providing a Recourse in Case of Accusations: They offer an avenue for those accused, ensuring that even the accused receive a fair opportunity to defend themselves.
  3. Ensuring Unobstructed Justice: Writs guarantee that justice is served impartially and without hindrance.

Types of Writ-

In the Indian Constitution, there are several types of writs, detailed in Articles 32 and 226, which pertain to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and High Courts, respectively. Article 32 specifically provides a constitutional remedy against the violation of fundamental rights.

    1. Habeas Corpus Writ: This writ, often deemed crucial for individual liberty, means “Let us have the body” in Latin. It is sought when a person is arrested, directing the detaining authority to bring the detained person to court to verify the legality of their detention. The Habeas Corpus writ safeguards against unjustified or unsupported detention and can be pursued by the arrested individual or someone assisting them.
    2. Writ of Mandamus: Derived from Latin, meaning “we command,” Mandamus is a directive issued by a higher court to a lower law enforcement agency or public authority, compelling them to perform an act within their jurisdiction. It is issued to ensure the fulfillment of civic obligations and uphold private rights held by the government. This writ is a means to compel public officials to carry out their neglected duties.
    3. Writ of Prohibition: As the name suggests, the writ of prohibition is a court petition issued either by the Supreme Court or High Court to prohibit lower courts, tribunals, or any public authority from exceeding their jurisdiction. It is also known as a “Stay Order” and is employed when a lower court or authority attempts to overstep its jurisdiction or exercise its powers improperly.
    4. Writ of Certiorari: “Certiorari” translates to “certified.” The Supreme Court employs this writ to review decisions made by lower tribunals or courts. It is issued to overturn lower court decisions only after they have been rendered. Certiorari may be granted when lower courts or authorities misbehave, exceed their jurisdiction, or fail to exercise it. It serves to correct legal errors evident from the record and may also be invoked when the principles of natural justice are disregarded.
    5. Writ of Quo-Warranto: Meaning “by what authority,” this writ prevents someone from unlawfully exercising the right to hold a public office. It aims to thwart individuals from usurping or occupying a public office without legal permission, challenging their right to do so. For instance, if someone is appointed to a public office beyond the permissible retirement age, a writ of quo-warranto can be filed to remove them from that position.

    Each type of writ has specific conditions and purposes, as laid down by various judgments of the Supreme Court.

    Eligibility to apply for a Writ

    The fundamental principle is that a person allegedly being held unlawfully can file a writ application. In some situations, if someone you know is arrested or held in custody, requesting a writ of habeas corpus may be possible. This legal term refers to a petition made by a detained or imprisoned person to be brought before a court or judge. The writ requests that the person in custody be presented before the court, allowing for an examination of the evidence and determining whether the detention is lawful or unlawful.

    A third party may file a habeas corpus petition if there is a concern that the detainee is being held incommunicado. However, it’s important to note that there are limitations to the use of habeas corpus. While it is generally permissible to file a writ application for someone allegedly being held unlawfully, it primarily serves as a procedural remedy, protecting against unlawful detention. Sometimes, it may address other rights, such as the right to a fair trial, but its scope is limited in that regard.

    Filing of a Writ-

    Writs serve specific purposes, such as securing the release of individuals from illegal custody through habeas corpus or preventing lower courts from exceeding their jurisdiction through certiorari. These remedies are considered extraordinary and are used when other legal options are inadequate.

    • Protection of Rights: Writs primarily aim to protect fundamental rights and ensure justice is upheld when legal principles are violated.
    • Addressing Urgent Matters: Writs enable courts to promptly address urgent issues to prevent irreparable harm.
    • Enforcement: Writs are enforceable court orders, and failure to comply can result in legal consequences, including contempt of court.

    To file a writ petition, follow these comprehensive steps:

    1. Clarify the Purpose: Clearly define the purpose of your request. Specify whether you are seeking information on the grounds for filing a claim based on the violation of a fundamental right. Provide detailed information about the specific right that has been violated and the grounds for filing your complaint. Common grounds include violations of rights such as the right to life, liberty, equality, and freedom of speech.
    2. Choose the Correct Court: It is essential to file the writ petition in the correct court, either in a High Court or the Supreme Court, based on the nature of the case and the hierarchy of courts and jurisdictional limits.
    3. Seek Legal Assistance: If you are considering filing a Writ Petition, seek legal advice and guidance. It is recommended to have a legal professional draft the petition. Ensure thorough and detailed information is provided in the petition, including the petitioner’s details, respondent’s details, case facts, and legal grounds for the writ.
    4. Attach Supporting Documents: Include all relevant documents, affidavits, and evidence supporting the petitioner’s claims. These documents are crucial for substantiating the case. Provide an affidavit to verify the authenticity of the petition, signed either by the petitioner or their authorized representative.
    5. Filing the Petition: Submit the writ petition to the court, paying the prescribed filing fees and adhering to the court’s procedural requirements. Ensure that the submitted document fully complies with the court’s rules to ensure acceptance and efficient handling of the case.
    6. Service of Notice: After filing, the court may issue notices to the respondents, informing them about the petition. Respondents have the opportunity to present their side of the case.
    7. Hearing: The court schedules a hearing to listen to both parties involved, examine the evidence, and make appropriate interim orders or directions.
    8. Judgement: Based on the presented arguments and applicable legal principles, the court delivers a verdict.


    In conclusion, the Indian Constitution empowers the Supreme Court and High Courts to issue writs under Articles 32 and 226, respectively, with several distinctions in their writ jurisdiction. The Supreme Court primarily issues writs to enforce fundamental rights, whereas High Courts have the authority to issue writs for various purposes beyond fundamental rights enforcement. Regarding power, the Supreme Court cannot refuse to exercise its power to issue a writ when necessary, while High Courts possess the discretion to refuse the power to issue a writ in some instances. The Supreme Court can issue writs against any person or government within the Indian territorial jurisdiction, whereas High Courts can only issue writs against persons or governments within their jurisdiction. However, High Courts can extend their writ jurisdiction beyond their territorial limits only when the cause of action arises within their jurisdiction.

    Therefore, a writ is a powerful legal tool that ensures justice and protects the fundamental rights of citizens, served swiftly and impartially. It is important to note that legal procedures and requirements may vary, and it is highly advisable to seek guidance from legal professionals for specific cases based on the jurisdiction and nature of the matter.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This field is required.

    This field is required.


    The following disclaimer governs the use of this website (“Website”) and the services provided by the Law offices of Kr. Vivek Tanwar Advocate & Associates in accordance with the laws of India. By accessing or using this Website, you acknowledge and agree to the terms and conditions stated in this disclaimer.

    The information provided on this Website is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice or relied upon as such. The content of this Website is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between you and the Law Firm. Any reliance on the information provided on this Website is done at your own risk.

    The Law Firm makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, completeness, reliability, or suitability of the information contained on this Website.

    The Law Firm disclaims all liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this Website or for any actions taken in reliance on the information provided herein. The information contained in this website, should not be construed as an act of solicitation of work or advertisement in any manner.