Very often, you’re part of a group that uses legal terminology to better express themselves. While the rest of your group understands these terms, you’re completely at sea. Well, now you needn’t be. We’ve put together some of the most commonly used legal words and expressions to familiarize you with and prepare you better for what you often read in the papers and hear your friends say. More power to you!
It is an order issued by a court in a written format. The Constitution has authorised courts to issue 5 kinds of writs – Habeas Corpus, Mandamus, Prohibition, Certiorari and Quo Warranto. If your fundamental rights are threatened then these writs are what you can count on. A writ petition can be filed in the High Court or the Supreme Court.
2. Habeas corpus
This translates from Latin to “that you have the body” and is an order that an individual who might be unlawfully detained be presented before the court for examination.
Mandamus (“We command”) is an order issued by a court of higher jurisdiction to instruct (or command) a lower court, commission, tribunal or an individual to either perform or refrain from committing an action required under law.
Here, a higher court orders a lower court or quasi-judicial body to act only within its jurisdiction. This is also known as a Stay Order.
Literally translated to “to be certified“, it refers to a writ issued by a High or Supreme Court quashing the order passed by a lower court, quasi-judicial body or tribunal.
6. Quo warranto
This translates from Medieval Latin to “by what warrant?” and is a writ sent out to an individual who holds a particular civil office not entitled to him or her to step down from holding that office.
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