Types of Writs: Habeas Corpus, Mandamus, Prohibition, and More

A writ is a formal written order issued by a body with administrative or judicial jurisdiction. The Supreme and High Court has the authority to issue the following writs to the offending party or parties. Let us learn about different types of writs in the Indian constitution.


Fundamental Rights are contained in Part III of the Indian Constitution. However what should be done if somebody violates these Fundamental rights? Merely providing for Fundamental Rights is not sufficient. It is essential that these Fundamental Rights are protected and enforced as well.

To protect Fundamental Rights, the Indian Constitution, under Articles 32, provides the right to approach the Supreme Court or High Court, respectively, to any person whose Fundamental Right has been violated. At the same time, the article gives the right to the highest courts of the country to issue writs in order to enforce Fundamental Rights.

What is Article 32?

Article 32 gives the right to Constitutional remedies. Articles 32 specifically provide for five kinds of writs.

So what is a writ?

Basically, Orders, warrants, directions, summons, etc. are all writs. A writ can be understood as a formal written order issued by a Court having authority to issue such an order.

The five types of writs are :
1. Writ of Habeas Corpus
2. Writ of Mandamus
3. Writ of Prohibition
4. Writ of Certiorari
5. Writ of Quo Warranto

Let us learn about all the types of writs in detail.

Writ of Habeas Corpus

Habeas Corpus – By issuing this writ, the court can order to release a person released if he or she has been unlawfully detained by any person, group of persons, or by the State.

Writ of Mandamus

Do you know what does ‘Mandamus’ means? Mandamus’ in Latin means ‘we command’. It is issued by the Court to direct a public authority to perform the legal duties which it has not or refused to perform. It can be issued by the Court against a public official, public corporation, tribunal, inferior court, or the government. It cannot be issued against a private individual or body, the President or Governors of States, or against a working Chief Justices.

Writ of Quo Warranto

Do you know what does ‘Quo Warranto’ means? ‘QuoWarranto’ means ‘by what warrant’. Through this writ, the Court calls upon a person holding a public office to show under what authority he holds that office. If it is found that the person is not entitled to hold that office, he may be ousted from it. Its objective is to prevent a person from holding an office he is not entitled to therefore preventing usurpation of any public office. It cannot be issued with respect to a private office.

Writ of Certiorari

Do you know what does ‘Certiorari’ means? ‘Certiorari’ means to ‘certify’. Certiorari is a curative writ. This writ is issued by the Supreme court to the inferior through which the former asks the latter to hand over the record of a particular case of the higher court. This writ is actually remedial in nature.

Writ of Prohibition

A writ of prohibition is issued by a superior court to prohibit the lower courts, tribunals, and other quasi-judicial authorities to stop proceeding in a case which in the opinion of the supreme court or High court might be in excess of the jurisdiction of that subordinate court. It is issued to direct inactivity and thus differs from the mandamus which directs activity.

Read More: Fundamental Duties of Indian Citizen | Article 51-A

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