Writ Jurisdiction of High Court

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According to Article 226 of the Constitution, a high court may issue writs such as a quo warrant, mandamus, certiorari, prohibition, and habeas corpus in order to uphold the citizens’ fundamental rights as well as for any other reason. To enforce a regular legal right is meant by the phrase “for any other purpose.” If the cause of action occurs within the high court’s territorial jurisdiction, it has the authority to issue writs to any individual, organization, or government, both inside and outside of that territory.
The Supreme Court’s writ jurisdiction (under Article 32) and the High Court’s writ jurisdiction (under Article 226) are concurrent rather than exclusive. It means that when a citizen’s fundamental rights are violated, the aggrieved party has the choice of filing a direct petition with either the high court or the Supreme Court.

The high court’s writ jurisdiction is, nevertheless, broader than the Supreme Court’s. This is due to the fact that the Supreme Court can only issue writs for the enforcement of fundamental rights and not for any other reason; in other words, it does not apply in situations where the alleged violation of a regular legal right is involved.

The Supreme Court declared in the Chandra Kumar case (1997) that the writ jurisdiction of both the high court and the Supreme Court forms a part of the fundamental framework of the Constitution.
As a result, not even a Constitutional change can remove or exclude it.

In the majority of common law nations, high courts have the authority to issue a variety of writs, each with a specific function:

  1. Habeas Corpus: The most well-known writ in existence, habeas corpus, is a judicial procedure that defends a person’s right to personal liberty. A high court may issue a writ of habeas corpus ordering the custodian to bring the detainee before the court if they believe the person is being held or imprisoned illegally. If the detention is proven to be illegal, the court may then decide whether it is legal and issue an order for the person’s release.
  2. Mandamus: The writ of mandamus is used to compel a public person or government agency to carry out a specific legal duty that they are required to undertake but have neglected to do so. For instance, a high court may issue a mandamus order forcing a government agency to follow the law if it refuses to grant a license or permit without good cause.
  3. Certiorari: A writ that is used to appeal decisions made by administrative, judicial, or inferior courts. A party may ask the high court to issue a writ of certiorari, effectively “calling up” the case for review, when there is alleged legal mistake in a lower court’s judgment. The high court has the authority to overturn or cancel a lower court decision if it is determined to be legally defective.
  4. Prohibition: The writ of prohibition is used to prevent a subordinate court or tribunal from acting outside of its legal authority or exceeding its scope of jurisdiction. A party may ask the high court for a writ of prohibition to stop proceedings if they feel that a lower court is operating illegally.
  5. Quo Warranto: The phrase “quo warranto” is used to cast doubt on a person’s eligibility to hold a position in government. If it is believed that someone is holding a public office against the law, the high court may issue a writ of quo warranto, ordering the person to provide proof of their legal right to hold the position.
  6. Injunctions: High courts can also impose injunctions, albeit they aren’t necessarily regarded as traditional writs. Orders known as injunctions prevent a party from taking a particular action or compel them to conduct a particular activity. High courts utilize injunctions to enforce equitable remedies or stop irreparable harm.

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