Analysis of Constitutional Threads: the Writ of Prohibition and Certiorari
The writs of certiorari and prohibition are a part of the judicial review mechanism. They are issued against the authorities that have the power to judge. While the writ of prohibition acts as a stay order, Certiorari gives the power to get the decisions of the lower court certified by the higher authority. The main difference between them lies in the stage at which these are issued. In this article, we will get clarity on the writs of prohibition and certiorari, the difference between them, and will also see if there lies a difference between the power to issue the writ of Certiorari and the power to act as an appellate court.
The Writ of Prohibition
The writ of prohibition is called a stay order in layman’s language. It is used to put a stay on the lower court from carrying out an action as ordered by the high court or supreme court.
It is issued against lower courts, tribunals, inferior courts, or quasi-judicial bodies to restrict or prevent these courts from acting against jurisdiction or from exercising powers that violate basic rights. This form of the writ is issued when these Courts’ jurisdictions are exceeded or their powers are breached. It can only be issued against judicial and quasi-judicial bodies, not against private individuals or entities and administrative bodies.
Thus, we can say that the prohibition writ serves as a preventive measure rather than a remedy. It will be issued for reasons like excess of authority or lack of jurisdiction created by the lower courts, and also when they act against their powers and natural justice.
The Writ of Certiorari
Certiorari is a type of writ issued by a higher court to a lower court, ordering the lower court to deliver its records for review. The writ of certiorari is used by the Supreme Court or High Court to review the decisions of lower courts. The HC/SC can decide to grant or deny the writ. If the writ is granted, the HC/SC reviews the decision of the lower court. If the writ is denied, the decision of the lower court stands.
By granting the writ, the Supreme Court can ensure that lower courts are interpreting the law correctly. If the Supreme Court finds that a lower court has misinterpreted the law, it can reverse the decision and issue a new ruling. The writ of certiorari is also an important part of the judicial process. It allows the SC/HC to review the decisions of lower courts and ensure that justice is served. In some cases, the Supreme Court may find that the lower court’s decision was wrong and grant the writ of certiorari. In other cases, the Supreme Court may find that the lower court’s decision was correct and deny the writ.
The writ of certiorari is an important tool for ensuring that the law is applied uniformly throughout By granting the writ, the Supreme Court can ensure that lower courts are interpreting the law correctly and that justice is served
Certiorari is basically a tool for judicial control and restraint. As mentioned above, it is issued by the Supreme Court or the High Court to quash an order passed by an inferior court, tribunal, or quasi-judicial authority, whenever the authority has acted in excess of its power, or without requisite jurisdiction, or has violated the principles of natural justice.
The writ of certiorari can be issued even in administrative cases. It can be employed in cases where there is an error of law, or when it can be shown that there has been a violation of the principles of natural justice. But not on the basis of an error of fact solely.
Difference between Prohibition and Certiorari
- Prohibition is issued white to stay the proceedings whereas Certiorari is issued after the judgment has already been delivered.
- Certiorari can also be issued against administrative cases however prohibition can only be issued against judicial and quasi-judicial bodies.
Can Certiorari be used as an Alternative to Appeal
The aim of the writ of Certiorari is not to re-hear the case and consider the facts once again. It can only be invoked in cases of error of law. Thus, it was held that judicial orders of civil courts are not amenable to a writ of certiorari
It is a part of the supervisory jurisdiction of the court and not the appellate jurisdiction. If the law does not allow an appeal in a particular case, then giving it a back-door entry via the writ of certiorari amounts to defeating the purpose of the law.
The writs enshrined in the Indian Constitution serve as powerful guardians of individual liberties and the rule of law. Designed to uphold justice and ensure the protection of fundamental rights, these judicial remedies play a pivotal role in safeguarding citizens from arbitrary actions of both the government and private individuals. By empowering the judiciary to intervene in exceptional circumstances, writs act as indispensable instruments for maintaining the balance of power and fostering a democratic society. The evolving jurisprudence surrounding these writs demonstrates the dynamism and adaptability of India’s constitutional framework, which continues to uphold the ideals of justice, equality, and liberty for all its citizens.