Writ of Prohibition in India

Writ of prohibitio, also called as Writ of prohibition commands the court or tribunal to whom it is issued to refrain from doing something, which it is about to do. This Writ is issued by either Supreme Court or High Court to an inferior court forbidding it to continue proceedings in a case in excess of its jurisdiction.

Writ of prohibitio prevents a tribunal processing judicial or quasi-judicial powers from assuming or threatening to assume jurisdiction which it does not possess1.

Writ of prohibition prevents a tribunal processing judicial or quasi-judicial powers from assuming or threatening to assume jurisdiction, which it does not possess. Writ of prohibition has many common features as that of Writ of certiorari viz. the scope and the rules by which the Writ is governed.

Both the Writs of prohibition as well as certiorari have for their object the restraining of inferior courts from exceeding their jurisdiction and they could be issued not merely to court, but to authorities exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions2. Writ of prohibition will lie when the proceedings are to any extent pending and a Writ of certiorari for quashing after they have terminated in a final decision3.

When an inferior court takes up any matter for hearing, over which it has no jurisdiction, the person against whom the proceedings are taken can move the superior court for a Writ of prohibition. Upon such application, an order will issue for forbidding the inferior court from continuing the procedure.

For example; where, the Regional Transport Authority has no power under Section 62, of the Motor Vehicle Act, to entertain an application for a temporary permit during the pendency of an application for new permits, the grant of temporary permits was beyond the power conferred upon the Regional Transport Authority and a Writ of prohibition prohibiting Regional Transport Authority from proceeding with the application for a temporary permit was issued4.

Existence of an alternative remedy may be more appropriate in case of a Writ of certiorari, but where an inferior court OR tribunal has shown to have usurped jurisdiction, which does not belongs to it, that consideration is irrelevant and the Writ of prohibition has to issue as of right5.

  1. CCE v. National Tobaco Co. Of India Ltd., AIR 1972 SC 2563 []
  2. Hari Vishnu Kamath v. S. Ahmad Ishaque, AIR 1955 SC 233 []
  3. Id. []
  4. Hari Narain Roy v. Regional Transport Authority, AIR 1965 Pat 248 []
  5. Calcutta Discount Co. Ltd., v. ITO, AIR 1961 SC 372 []