SC says can’t issue mandamus for job promotions quota:What is mandamus?

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News:The Supreme Court has ruled that reservation in the matter of promotions in public posts is not a fundamental right and the court cannot be compelled to issue mandamus directing state governments to provide reservations.

Facts:

About Writs:

  • A Writ is a formal written order issued by the Supreme Court or High Court in the name of the sovereign power.
  • Article 32 empowers the Supreme Court and Article 226 empowers the High Courts to issue writs to a person or authority including the government.

Types of Writs:

Mandamus:

  • Mandamus is a Latin word which means We Command.It is a command issued by the court to a public official asking him to perform his official duties that he has failed refused to perform. 
  • It can also be issued against any public body, a corporation, an inferior court, tribunal or government for the same purpose.

Limitations of Mandamus:

  • Under Article 361, mandamus cannot be granted against the President or Governor of a State for the exercise and performance of the powers and duties of his office or for any act done or purporting to be done by him in the exercise and performance of those powers and duties.
  • It also cannot be issued against a private individual or body except where the State is in collusion with the private party for contravening a provision of the Constitution or a statute.

Other writs:

Habeas Corpus:

  • Habeas Corpus is a Latin term which means you may have the body.It is an order issued by the court to a person who has detained another person to produce the body of the latter before it. 
  • The court then examines the cause and legality of detention.It would set the detained person free, if the detention is found to be illegal.Thus, this writ is a bulwark of individual liberty against arbitrary detention.

Prohibition:

  • Prohibition means ‘to forbid’. It is issued by a higher court to a lower court or tribunal to prevent the latter from exceeding its jurisdiction or usurping a jurisdiction that it does not possess.
  • The writ of prohibition can be issued only against judicial and quasi-judicial authorities.It is not available against administrative authorities, legislative bodies and private individuals or bodies.

Certiorari:

  • Certiorari means to be certified.It is issued by a higher court to a lower court or tribunal either to transfer a case pending with the latter to itself or to squash the order of the latter in a case. 
  • It is issued on the grounds of excess of jurisdiction or lack of jurisdiction or error of law.Thus, unlike prohibition which is only preventive,certiorari is both preventive as well as curative.

Quo Warranto:

  • In the literal sense, it means ‘by what authority or warrant’.It is issued by the court to enquire into the legality of a claim of a person to a public office.Hence,it prevents illegal usurpation of public office by a person.