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Supreme court Writs

Date: 12 February 2020 Tags: Constitution


The Supreme Court has ruled that reservation in the matter of promotions in public posts is not a fundamental right and it cannot issue Mandamus writ for implementing.



Mandamus is among the “prerogative writs” in English common law, meaning the extraordinary writs or orders granted by the Sovereign when ordinary legal remedies are inadequate.



  • In India, the Supreme Court can issue prerogative writs under Article 32 of the Constitution, and the High Courts under Article 226.

  • The writ cannot be issued unless the legal duty is of public nature, and to whose performance the applicant of the writ has a legal right.

Mandamus writ

  • Mandamus literally means ‘we command’. When issued to a person or body, the writ of mandamus demands some activity on their part. It orders the person or body to perform a public or quasi-public duty, which they have refused to perform, and where no other adequate legal remedy exists to enforce the performance of that duty.

  • When a public officer or government does an act that violates the fundamental right of a person, the court would issue a writ of mandamus against such authorities so that the person’s rights are not infringed.

  • Under Article 361, mandamus cannot be granted against the President or Governor of a State, “for the exercise and performance of the powers and duties of his office or for any act done or purporting to be done by him in the exercise and performance of those powers and duties”.

  • The writ also cannot be issued against a private individual or body, except where the State is in collusion with the private party for contravening a provision of the Constitution or a statute.

Other writs

Habeas Corpus

By this writ the court directs the person or authority who has detained another person to bring the body of the prisoner before the court so as to enable the court to decide the validity , jurisdiction or justification for such detention.


Quo Warranto

The term quo warranto means what is your authority . The writ of quo warranto is used to judicially control executive action in the matter of making appointments to public offices under relevant statutory provisions . The writ is also used to protect a citizen from the holder of a public office to which he has no right . The writ calls upon the holder of a public office to show to the court under what authority he is holding the office in question.



A writ of prohibition is normally issued when inferior court or tribunal (a) proceeds to act without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction (b) proceeds to act in violation of rules of natural justice or (c) proceeds to act under a law which is itself ultra vires or unconstitutional or (d) proceeds to act in contravention of fundamental rights.



A writ of certiorari or a writ in the nature of certiorari can only be issued by the Supreme court under Art. 32 and a High court under Art. 226 to direct , inferior courts , tribunals or authorities to transmit to the court the record of proceedings disposed of or pending therein for scrutiny , and , if necessary , for quashing the same.

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