The origin of writs in India can be traced back to the British colonial period. The introduction of writ jurisdiction in India is primarily influenced by English common law and legal principles.
During British rule, the East India Company established courts in various parts of India. These courts were initially guided by the principles of English law, and writs were an integral part of the English legal system. Writs were formal written orders issued by the courts to enforce the rights and remedies available under English law.
The Charter Act of 1833 marked a significant development in the administration of justice in India. It established the Supreme Court in Calcutta, which had jurisdiction over the presidency towns of Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras. The Supreme Court was empowered to issue writs for the enforcement of fundamental rights.
The power to issue writs was further expanded with the enactment of the Indian High Courts Act, 1861. This act established High Courts in various provinces of India, including in Bombay (now Mumbai). The High Courts were vested with the power to issue writs, including habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, certiorari, and quo warranto.
After India gained independence in 1947, the power to issue writs was incorporated into the Constitution of India. Article 32 of the Constitution guarantees the right to move the Supreme Court for the enforcement of fundamental rights through the issuance of writs. Similarly, Article 226 provides for the power of High Courts to issue writs for the enforcement of fundamental rights as well as for other purposes.
Over the years, the Indian judiciary has expanded the scope and reach of writ jurisdiction, including the introduction of public interest litigation (PIL). Writs have become an essential part of the Indian legal system, ensuring the protection and enforcement of fundamental rights and serving as a mechanism for judicial review and accountability.