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This article is written by Aanchal Agarwal of 2nd semester of Bharati Vidyapeeth New Law College, Pune, an intern under Legal Vidhiya


This article delves into the concept of writ jurisdiction and its scope in the private sector. It begins by providing an introduction to the topic, defining writ jurisdiction, and discussing the types of writs with relevant case laws in detail. Later, this article delves into what private sector is and what is the scope of writ jurisdiction in the private sector. Lastly, it talks about the laws which are governed in the private sector then the article concludes by listing the references consulted in the article. Writ jurisdiction is important in democratic countries like India and United Kingdom as it helps to maintain a balance of power between the government and its citizens. Without writ jurisdiction, there wouldn’t be any fair way to hold the government accountable for their illegal and immoral actions, and to protect the rights of individuals.


Writ jurisdiction, Private sector, Habeas Corpus, Mandamus, Certiorari, Prohibition, Quo Warranto, Fundamental Rights, Legal Framework, Indian Constitution


Writ jurisdiction is a crucial part of legal systems that allow courts issue writs, which are like official orders. These writs help protect people’s rights, make sure the law is followed, and stop the government from going too far. Different types of writs do different jobs, like making sure freedoms are safe, making people do what they’re supposed to, and making sure the government stays accountable. But mostly, writ jurisdiction deals with things involving the government, so it’s not always clear how it applies to private businesses. In the Indian context, Part III of the constitution encompasses fundamental rights (Article 12-35). Article 32 of the Indian Constitution grants individuals the right to file a writ petition before the Supreme Court in case of any violation of fundamental rights. Similarly, Article 226 empowers individuals to file a writ petition before the High Court for the same purpose. These constitutional provisions serve as crucial mechanisms for ensuring the protection of citizens’ fundamental rights against encroachment by the state or any other entity, thereby upholding the principles of justice and equality before the law.


Writ jurisdiction refers to the authority which the court has to issue the writs. Writ jurisdiction is a fundamental aspect of the legal system, particularly in common law jurisdictions such as India and the United Kingdom. It empowers courts to ensure the protection of individual rights, uphold the rule of law, and prevent governmental overreach.

At its core, writ jurisdiction encompasses the power of a court to issue various types of writs, each serving different purposes and addressing specific legal issues. Writs are essential tools that enable courts to safeguard individual liberties, enforce legal obligations, and maintain the balance of power within the governmental structure.

Writ jurisdiction, basically aims in holding the public authorities or the government bodies who are held accountable for their actions which affects the citizens in any way such as their fundamental rights getting violated. Top of Form


A writ is a formal legal directive issued by a court, commanding specific actions to be taken or refrained from, according to prescribed procedures. It stands as a potent legal remedy, used directly by individuals or organizations when they perceive a violation of their fundamental rights. In India, the authority to issue writs rests with both the Supreme Court and the High Courts. These writs, including Habeas Corpus, Mandamus, Certiorari, Prohibition, and Quo Warranto, serve as pillars of justice, each designed with a distinct purpose. They empower individuals, organizations, and the judiciary to safeguard constitutional rights and uphold the rule of law. Writs play a pivotal role in restraining authorities from overreach or ensuring their compliance with legal obligations, thereby preserving justice and protecting individual liberties.


The five types of writs in details are as follows:

  • Habeas Corpus: Translating to “show me the body,” this writ is a cornerstone of individual rights, ensuring that no person is detained without lawful justification. It grants individuals the right to appear before a court promptly rather than being arbitrarily incarcerated. The court meticulously evaluates the legality of the detention, and if found unlawful, the individual is promptly released.

In the case of A.K. Gopalan v. State of Madras[1], the guidelines established were that the citizens could be detained without trial if they were considered to be a threat to the national security.

  • Mandamus: Meaning “we command,” this writ is a directive issued by a superior court to compel lower courts to fulfill their statutory obligations. It serves as a mechanism to prevent lower courts from overstepping their authority and ensures the efficient functioning of the judicial system.

In the case of State of Maharashtra v. Dr. Praful B. Desai[2], Dr. Praful was taken in the court by the government of Maharashtra as it was believed that he violated some of the rules related to his job i.e. his obligated duty. The government wanted the court to issue Mandamus writ so that Dr. Praful is ordered to fulfil his duty. The court agreed with the government and said that if the citizens who are obligated to perform to some duty, fail to perform their duty then the court can step in and make them perform their duty through the Mandamus writ legal order.

  • Certiorari: Literally translating to “to be informed,” this writ empowers higher courts to scrutinize the decisions, judgments, or orders of lower courts. It is invoked when there are concerns regarding errors or legal irregularities in the lower court’s ruling, allowing for a thorough review and potential correction.

In the case of State of Orissa v. Ram Chandra Dev[3], it was held that the certiorari could be issued if it is found that the lower court’s decision or order is illegal, beyond their authority or jurisdiction.

  • Prohibition: Signifying “to forbid,” this writ acts as a legal barrier against actions prohibited by law. Often referred to as a stay order, it is issued by higher courts to prevent lower courts from proceeding with cases that fall outside their jurisdiction or are deemed unlawful.

In the case of Daryao and Ors v. The State of UP and Ors[4], it was looked at when the higher court can use the writ of prohibition to make sure that the lower courts work legally and within their jurisdiction. This case was about a land dispute where the petitioners said that the court has no right to make judgement here as it was the job of the government authorities. So, therefore by issuing the writ of prohibition, the Supreme court stopped the lower court from making the decision as it was beyond their authority.

  • Quo Warranto: Meaning “by what authority,” this writ is deployed when an individual occupies a public office or position beyond their rightful authority. It challenges the legitimacy of their tenure, questioning factors such as exceeding retirement age, lacking necessary qualifications, or unlawfully assuming authority.

In the case of The University of Mysore v. C.D. Govinda Rao[5], Govinda Rao went to the Mysore High Court and prayed for a writ of quo warranto to be issued to check if the person who was a Reader in English had the right authority to hold that position. The argument was about whether someone appointed as a “reader” could be considered a “teacher” under the law.

These writs collectively embody the principles of justice, accountability, and the rule of law, serving as indispensable tools in upholding individual rights and ensuring the integrity of the legal system.


A private sector is that part of the economy, which is not run by the government, which is basically run by the companies or an individual profit and the government has no control over it. Whereas the organizations run by the state they are considered to be a part of the public sector. 


Article 12 of the Indian constitution explicitly outlines the state as the sector under governmental control or authorization, with any entity falling beyond this purview deemed part of the private sector.

Consequently, in most of cases, writs cannot be pursued against private entities. This delineation serves to establish a clear boundary between governmental authority and private enterprise, ensuring that legal remedies are primarily directed towards public bodies rather than private entities.[6] Disputes arising within the private sector typically find resolution through avenues such as civil litigation, arbitration, or other legitimate legal channels available to them.

However, if a private entity engages in activities of public significance or falls within governmental authority, writ jurisdiction may indirectly come into play to scrutinize their actions or decisions. In such instances, the petition often targets the public authority or governmental body controlling the actions of the private entity.

The distinction between the public and private sectors, along with the corresponding separation of writ jurisdiction, is rooted in the fundamental principles and societal functions each entity serves.[7] This delineation aims to strike a delicate balance between safeguarding public interests and respecting private rights and obligations. By maintaining this balance, the legal system ensures fairness and equity while navigating the complexities of governance and private enterprise in society.


Public sector entities which are distant from public authorities are primary governed by the laws which are applicable to them such as contract law, company, or labour and other such relevant statutes. Some laws which are applicable to the private entities include:

  • The Companies Act, 2013: The Companies Act, 2013 is a set of rules made by the Government of India to manage and oversee companies formed in India. It took over from the Companies Act, 1956, with the goal of updating and organizing how companies are run. This law focuses on making sure companies are managed well, keeping things transparent, and looking out for the people involved, like shareholders and employees. It covers everything from starting a company to how it’s managed, and even what happens if it needs to close down. The Companies Act, 2013 is a crucial part of India’s legal system, helping to ensure fair and responsible business practices.[8]
  • Indian Contract Act, 1872: Contract law sets the rules for agreements between people or businesses. These agreements can cover many things like buying or selling goods, getting a job, renting property, or forming partnerships. It’s all about how contracts are made, if they’re fair, what they mean, and how they’re enforced. If someone breaks a contract, there are legal ways to fix the problem, and the law makes sure everyone’s rights and duties are protected.[9]
  • Intellectual Property Rights: Legal frameworks make sure that people’s property rights are safe. This includes things like land, buildings, and personal belongings. There are also laws that protect intellectual property, which is stuff like inventions, creative work, and secret business information. These laws, like patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets, make sure that individuals and businesses have control over their ideas and creations. It’s all about giving credit where it’s due and making sure that people can benefit from their hard work and innovation.[10]
  • Labor Laws: Labor laws are rules that control how bosses and workers interact. They deal with things like how much money employees get, how safe their workplace is, and what happens if they’re treated unfairly or fired. These laws are meant to make sure workers are treated fairly and bosses know how to handle their employees properly. They also cover issues like discrimination and harassment to ensure everyone is treated with respect. By setting these rules, labor laws aim to create a fair and safe working environment for everyone involved.[11]
  • Consumer Protection Act, 2019: Consumer protection is all about making sure people are treated fairly when they buy things. It’s like a safety net for consumers, shielding them from shady business tactics that can happen in the market. The Consumer Protection Act has rules in place to stop consumers from being taken advantage of. The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 replaced the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 which widened the scope of the definition of consumer to include people who purchase goods and services through electronic or online means. These laws aren’t just for the person buying something, they’re for everyone, even if they’re not directly involved in the transaction. They set the bar for what’s considered fair in business, covering things like making sure products are safe, that ads are truthful, and that customers have certain rights. They’re there to make sure consumers have the right information and can fight back if they’re treated unfairly.[12]
  • Tax laws: Tax laws are rules that control how taxes are collected from both businesses and individuals. These taxes include income tax, which is based on how much money someone earns, sales tax, which is added onto the price of goods and services, and corporate tax, which businesses have to pay based on their profits. Financial regulations are another set of rules that oversee how banks, stock markets, and investments work. They’re designed to make sure everything is clear and stable in the financial world, and to protect people who invest their money. These regulations help ensure that financial institutions operate fairly and transparently, and that investors are safe from fraud or other harmful practices. Overall, both tax laws and financial regulations aim to create a fair and secure environment for businesses and individuals to operate in.[13]
  • Competition Law: Competition laws, also referred to as antitrust laws, are like referees in the marketplace. They keep an eye on how companies behave to make sure things stay fair and competitive. These laws say “no” to actions like forming monopolies, where one company dominates an entire industry, or price-fixing, where businesses collude to set prices artificially high. They also crack down on any other unfair tricks companies might try to gain an unfair advantage. The goal? To keep the market running smoothly, ensure consumers have choices, and make sure all businesses have a fair shot at success. In essence, competition laws are there to keep the playing field level and protect consumers from shady practices.[14]

In essence, the legal rules that govern private businesses form the bedrock of economic activity, enabling entrepreneurs to thrive, encouraging investment, fostering innovation, and paving the way for sustainable growth. By setting out definitive rights, duties, and standards of behaviour, this framework cultivates trust, stability, and assurance in the business landscape. This, in turn, fuels confidence among stakeholders, ultimately leading to the advancement and prosperity of societies as a whole.


In conclusion, writ jurisdiction is a crucial component of the legal system, empowering courts to uphold the principles of justice, protect individual liberties, and ensure the proper functioning of government. Through the issuance of writs, courts play a vital role in safeguarding the rule of law and maintaining the balance of power within society. As such, writ jurisdiction remains an indispensable tool for promoting justice, fairness, and accountability in the legal framework. Writ jurisdiction, basically aims in holding the public authorities or the government bodies who are held accountable for their actions which affects the citizens in any way such as their fundamental rights getting violated. Top of Form

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  1. https://legalvidhiya.com/exploring-writ-jurisdiction-navigating-the-private-sectors-legal-landscape/#Judgements
  2. https://www.studocu.com/in/document/guru-gobind-singh-indraprastha-university/constitutional-law-ii/writ-jurisdiction-and-private-sector/28144095
  3. https://optimizeias.com/article-32-and-article-226/
  4. https://www.indiacode.nic.in/bitstream/123456789/15240/1/constitution_of_india.pdf
  5. https://www.jagranjosh.com/general-knowledge/writs-and-their-scope-1437205347-1
  6. https://optimizeias.com/article-32-and-article-226/

[1] AIR 1950 SC 27; 1950 SCR 88; (1950) 51 Cri LJ 1383

[2] (2003) 4 SCC 601

[3] 1964 AIR (SC) 685

[4] 1 SCR 575

[5] 1965 AIR 491

[6] https://www.studocu.com/in/document/guru-gobind-singh-indraprastha-university/constitutional-law-ii/writ-jurisdiction-and-private-sector/28144095

[7] https://legalvidhiya.com/exploring-writ-jurisdiction-navigating-the-private-sectors-legal-landscape/#Judgements

[8] https://www.mca.gov.in/Ministry/pdf/CompaniesAct2013.pdf

[9] https://www.indiacode.nic.in/bitstream/123456789/2187/2/A187209.pdf

[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3217699/

[11] https://ncib.in/pdf/ncib_pdf/Labour%20Act.pdf

[12] https://ncdrc.nic.in/bare_acts/1_1_2.html#:~:text=The%20Consumer%20Protection%20Act%2C%201986,express%20additional%20rights%20on%20him.

[13] https://www.britannica.com/money/tax-law

[14] https://www.cci.gov.in/images/legalframeworkact/en/the-competition-act-20021652103427.pdf

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