Legal Maxim

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Literal Meaning

To be more fully informed/ to be made certain in regard to.

Origin

Latin

Explanation

A writ of Certiorari is a decision of the Supreme Court to call up/ hear an appeal from an inferior court. It is a writ, issued by a higher or appellate court to review decisions made by a lower court for any irregularities in legal processes or procedures. Certiorari is regarded as the general remedy for the judicial control of both quasi-judicial and administrative decisions affecting rights.

The Indian Constitution empowers the Supreme Court and the High Court, to issue writs for enforcement of any of the fundamental rights conferred by Part III of the Indian Constitution under Article 32 and Article 226, respectively. The SC and the HC shall direct the inferior courts, tribunals or authorities to transmit to the court the record of proceedings disposed of or pending therein for scrutiny, and, if necessary, for quashing the same.

The Petition for Writ of Certiorari must include a list of all parties involved, the facts of the case, the legal questions to be reviewed, and reasons why the Supreme Court should grant the petition. By granting the petition and issuing a writ of certiorari, the Court agrees to hear the case. But a writ of certiorari can never be issued to call for the record or papers and proceedings of an Act or Ordinance and for quashing such an Act or Ordinance.

Case Laws

In Surya Dev Rai vs Ram Chander Rai & Ors, the writ of Certiorari was discussed as an exercise of its original jurisdiction by the High Court; an exercise of supervisory jurisdiction is not an original jurisdiction and, in this sense, it is akin to appellate revisional or corrective jurisdiction. Similarly, the record of the proceedings having been certified and sent up by the inferior court or tribunal to the High Court, the High Court if inclined to exercise its jurisdiction, may simply annul or quash the proceedings and then do no more.

In Hari Vishnu Kamath vs Syed Ahmad Ishaque And Others, the Supreme Court held that β€œAn error in the decision or determination itself may also be amenable to a writ of ‘certiorari’ but it must be a manifest error apparent on the face of the proceedings. It may, therefore, be taken as settled that a writ of certiorari could be issued to correct an error of law. But it is essential that it should be something more than a mere error; it must be one which must be manifest on the face of the record.

In Province of Bombay vs Kusaldas vs. Advani And Others, the Supreme Court held that β€œA writ of certiorari like the writ of prohibition is a judicial writ of antiquity and it is the ordinary process by which the Court of King’s Bench Division exercises control over the acts of bodies vested with inferior jurisdiction. The writ is intended to bring up before the High Court the records of proceedings or determinations of inferior tribunals and to quash them if the tribunals are found to have acted in excess of their jurisdiction.”