Types of Writs

Types of Writs

The Indian Constitution provides 5 types of writs which can be issued by the Courts. They are:

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

Meaning of the writ of habeas corpus

The writ of habeas corpus is the legal procedure which acts as a remedial measure for the person who is illegally detained.

The term habeas corpus is the Latin word which means to bring or present the body before the court. It is the most important right available to the person detained unlawfully.

The basic purpose for which this writ is used is to release a person from unlawful detention or imprisonment. This writ is of great importance as it determines a person his right to freedom and personal liberty.


A has been taken into custody by B a police officer without a warrant. All the efforts made by A’s family to know the whereabouts of A turned out to be futile. As he was detained wrongfully by B (police officer), the writ of habeas corpus can be filed in court by A’s family on his behalf.


There are five types of writs in our constitution those are as follows:

  • Writ of habeas corpus

Habeas corpus is the Latin term which means ‘you must have the body’. It is the order issued by the court to present the detenu before the court and to check whether the arrest was lawful or not.

  • Writ of Mandamus

The writ of mandamus is the order or command issued by any statute or any authority sanctioned by law to any person, corporation or any other authority in order to perform any public duty.

  • Writ of prohibition

The writ of prohibition means is a writ issued by the higher authority to its subordinate authority in order to stop something which the law prohibits. This writ can only be issued against a judicial and quasi-judicial body.

  • Writ of certiorari

The term certiorari is a Latin word which means to be informed. This writ is issued by the higher court to review the actions of the lower court.

Important Conditions for Certiorari

For the Writ of Certiorari the following conditions should be fulfilled:

  1. The body or person has legal authority.
  2. Such authority is related to determining those questions which affect the rights of the people.
  3. Such a body or person has a duty to act judicially in doing its functions.
  4. Such a person or body has acted in excess of their jurisdiction or legal authority.
  • Writ of quo warranto

Writ of quo warranto means by what authority. This writ is issued which requires a person to show by what authority he has exercised his powers or rights.

The supreme court under Article 32 and the high court under Article 226 have the power to issue writs of these nature. Though under Article 32 the supreme courts issue the writs if there is any violation of the fundamental rights of a person but the High Court under Article 226 has a wider jurisdiction to issue the writ for both a violation of the legal as well as the fundamental rights.

Difference between Prohibition and Certiorari

Both the Writs Certiorari and Prohibition appear to be the same but there is one major difference between the two. In the Writ of Prohibition, the superior court issues the writ before the final order is passed by the inferior court and therefore this is a preventive remedy, while in Writ of Certiorari the superior court issues the Writ after the inferior court has made the final order. Thus the Writ of Certiorari is a corrective remedy by which the order of the inferior court is quashed.

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