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5 Must Know Writs For Cracking Legal Section in CLAT 2024

Author : Aparna

Updated On : April 17, 2023


Summary: Legal Aptitude questions do not test your knowledge of existing law. Instead, they test your ability to correctly interpret the given principle, strictly adhere to it and apply it to the given facts. You can expect a few questions based on Indian Constitution writs under the legal aptitude section. Most of you often panic about attempting these questions since you don’t have any Legal Knowledge. If you are one of those who want to know more about writs, this article is for you!

The Constitution of India guarantees certain basic rights to Indian citizens, known as Fundamental Rights, provided under Part III of the Constitution.

As we all know, the Supreme Court and the High Courts have been given many powers to provide justice to the people. One of the essential powers the Constitution has provided these courts is the power to issue writs.

Many of you might don't have prior knowledge about writs. Well, don't worry! This post shall guide you through the detailed concept of the writ, types of writs, and more.

So, why late? Let's dig into the post to learn five writs you should know for cracking the legal section in CLAT 2024 exam.

Before learning the types of writs, let us understand what writs are and why they are essential for the upcoming exam.

Must Know Writs For Cracking Legal Section in CLAT 2024 - Definition

A writ is a written order from the Supreme Court or High Court that commands constitutional remedies for Indian Citizens against violating their fundamental rights.

Fundamental rights provided under the Indian Constitution are majorly classified into six categories, namely: 

  • Right to equality (Articles 14-18),
  • Right to freedom of religion (Articles 25 to 28), 
  • Cultural and educational rights (Articles 29 and 30),
  • Right to constitutional remedies (Article 32),
  • Right against exploitation (Articles 23 to 24),
  •  Right to freedom (Articles 19 to 22).

Article 32 in the Indian Constitution deals with Constitutional remedies that an Indian citizen can seek from the Supreme Court of India and the High Court against violating their fundamental rights.

The same article gives the Supreme Court power to issue writs to enforce rights, whereas the High Court has the same power under Article 226. 

Read more: Short tricks to enhance your legal aptitude preparation for the CLAT exam

5 Types of Writs Under the Indian Constitution For Cracking Legal Section in CLAT 2024

In India, the Supreme Court defers people's fundamental rights. The Indian Constitution provides five kinds of writs, as explained below.

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

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1. Must Know Writs For Cracking Legal Section in CLAT 2024 - Habeas Corpus

First originated in 1215, King John signed the Habeas Corpus in the 39th clause of the Magna Carta. The Latin meaning of "Habeas Corpus" is "to have the body of." 

The Habeas Corpus writ enforces the fundamental right of individual liberty against unlawful detention.

While the need to issue a writ of habeas corpus arises mainly in cases of illegal detention by police authorities, it can also be issued against any private individual who has illegally detained someone.

The Supreme Court or High Court orders one person who has arrested another person to bring the latter's body before the court through this writ.

Both courts can issue this writ against both private and public authorities. Also, Habeas Corpus can not be issued in the following cases:

  • When detention is lawful.
  • When the proceeding is for contempt of a legislature or a court.
  • Detention is outside the jurisdiction of the court.
  • Detention is by a competent court.

Important Articles Related to Habeas Corpus in India's Constitution: 

  • Article 20 states Protection in respect of conviction for offences
  • Article 21 states Protection of Life and Personal Liberty

Article 22 mentions Protection against arrest and detention in certain cases. The court will check the detention after putting these articles in force.

If the detention violates the Constitution of India, it is unlawful or illegal. Anyone, irrespective of his/her caste, race, religion, sex, or place of birth, can file this petition on behalf of the detainee.

In the Sheela Barse vs State of Maharashtra case:
Sheela Barse, a journalist, filed the writ petition. She interviewed 15 women, prisoners, in a police lockup in the city of Bombay on May.11.1982. She found 2 women were assaulted there, so she filed the petition.

The court ordered and directed Dr (Miss) A.R.Desai, Director of the College of Social Work - to investigate it. Finally, it was proved, the officials were punished, and related safety measures were taken to safeguard the women prisoners.

Limitation for Habeas Corpus:

  • Though a writ of right, it is not a writ. In simpler terms, it means that it provides only procedural remedies. Hence, it guarantees any detention that is forbidden by law.
  • But it does not provide protection under any other rights, such as a fair trial and more. 

Read more: Important Critical Reasoning Questions for CLAT exam

2. Must Know Writs For Cracking Legal Section in CLAT 2024 - Mandamus

The Latin meaning of the Mandamus writ is "we command." The Supreme Court or High Court uses this writ to order the public official who has failed to perform his duty or refused to do his duty to resume his work.

All the persons who hold public office are eligible to be held liable under the Mandamus writ. The concerned official is responsible to the court to explain the reason for his incapacity. 

The identity of the person who files this writ is kept confidential. The possible cases to file this writ are as follows:

  • To test the validity of an elected person in a university syndicate
  • The Nomination of members to a Legislative Council by the Governor
  • Mayor in the municipal corporation
  • The appointment of a Chief Justice, Chief Minister, Attorney General, University Teachers,  Advocate, etc

Besides public officials, Mandamus can be issued against any public body, a corporation, an inferior court, a tribunal, or a government for the same purpose.

For issuance of a Mandamus writ, the following two conditions are essential:

1. The duty whose performance is sought to be enforced must be a legal duty of a public nature

2. Performance of the duty or act must not be discretionary.

Read morePreparation Tips for CLAT Quantitative Reasoning

Unlike Habeas Corpus, the Mandamus writ cannot be issued against a private individual.

Limitations for Mandamus:

Supreme Court cannot issue writs to:

  • President or State Governors
  • Duties on voluntary interest
  • Against any private individual
  • Chief Justice of High Courts

Remember, a Mandamus writ can not be issued in the following cases:

  • To enforce departmental instruction that does not possess statutory force.
  • Mandamus can’t be issued against the Indian President or State Governors.
  • To order someone to work when the kind of work is discretionary and not mandatory.
  • Against the Chief Justice of a High Court acting in a judicial capacity.
  • To enforce a contractual obligation.

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3. Must Know Writs For Cracking Legal Section in CLAT 2024 - Quo-Warranto

The Latin meaning of the Quo-Warrantos writ is "by what authority or warrant." Quo-Warrantos writ is used by the Supreme Court or High Court to prevent a person's illegal usurpation of a public office.

The Supreme Court or High Court enquires into the legality of a person's claim to a public office through this writ.

Suppose a person under investigation is found to be lacking the authority to hold the office in question. In that case, the court may restrain him from holding the office further and declare his appointment illegal.

  • Quo-Warranto writ can not be issued against the private or ministerial office.
  • This writ can be issued only when the substantive public office of a permanent character created by a statute or the Constitution is involved.

In the famous case of Purushottam Lal vs the State of Rajasthan, quo warranto was filed against the CM of Rajasthan. The reason for filing the writ was that the CM was not elected by fair and appropriate means to the house.

However, the court rejected the petition, stating that it breaches the constitutional provision if the CM holds office without authority.

The Indian Constitution creates the office of the Chief Minister. So, a CM's office's main purpose is not supposed to be an assembly member.

Hence, raising questions on the validity of the Election of the Chief Minister through this writ is improper. It must be raised through an election petition.

Conditions For Issue of Quo Warranto:

The following conditions must be kept in mind while issuing quo warranto. 

  • The office must be public, and the constitution must create it.
  • It must be a substantive one.
  • There must be a contravention in the constitution in appointing the person for that office.

Read moreCLAT English Preparation Tips.

4. Must Know Writs For Cracking Legal Section in CLAT 2024 - Prohibition

The Latin meaning of the Prohibition writ is "to forbid." A court that is higher in position issues a Prohibition writ against a court that is lower in position to prevent the latter from exceeding its jurisdiction or usurping a jurisdiction that it does not possess. It directs inactivity.

This writ can not be issued against administrative authorities, legislative bodies, and private individuals or bodies.

Prohibition writ can only be issued against judicial and quasi-judicial authorities.

Read moreShort Tricks to Improve Your CLAT Mock Score.

5. Must Know Writs For Cracking Legal Section in CLAT 2024 - Certiorari

The Latin meaning of the Certiorari writ is "to be certified" or "to be informed." This writ is similar to the Prohibition writ.

A higher court issues a certiorari writ in authority to a lower court or tribunal ordering them either to transfer a case pending with them to itself or quash their order in a case.

This writ is issued on an excess of jurisdiction, lack of jurisdiction, or error of law, and it not only prevents but also cures mistakes in the judiciary.

  • Pre-1991: The Certiorari writ used to be issued only against judicial and quasi-judicial authorities and not against administrative authorities
  • Post-1991: The Supreme Court ruled that the certiorari writ can be issued even against administrative authorities affecting the rights of individuals
  • Certiorari writ cannot be issued against legislative and private individuals or bodies.

Conditions For Issue of Writ of Certiorari:

  • There must be a court, tribunal or authorised person having a legal right to act judicially.
  • Such a court, tribunal, or officer must act or pass an order without jurisdiction or above judicial authority.
  • If the order was against the principle of Natural Justice.
  • If the order contains an error of judgement.
  • If it is against the constitution or contravention to the fundamental rights.

Summing Up - Revise all 5 writs for cracking the legal section in CLAT 2024. Know the limitation and the famous judgements related to all the writs. Good luck with your preparation! Happy Reading!

“Winners will fail over and over again until they succeed.”

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Frequently Asked Questions

How many types of writs are there udner Indian Constitution?

Which article in the Indian Constitution empowers Parliament to authorize any court to issue writ?

Which writ is called the defender of fundamental rights?

Can writ be issued against a private person?

Which writ is issued by a court to order an authority to perform a function which was not performing?


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