The power to issue writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari, among others, should not be restricted only to the Supreme Court and the High Courts. Even the District Courts should be permitted to exercise the writ jurisdiction as provided under the Constitution, according to senior counsel K.M. Vijayan.

Delivering a lecture on ‘Writ of Certiorari' organised jointly by the Indian Law Institute and the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court Bar Association here on Thursday, the senior counsel pointed out that Article 32(3) of the Constitution enabled the Parliament to enact a law empowering any court to exercise the writ jurisdiction within the local limits of its jurisdiction.

He said that it was high time to bring in a law in accordance with Article 32(3) as it would help provide speedy justice to the common man who could approach the district courts to ventilate his grievances against the administration. He also said that the High Courts could be designated as the appellate courts to review orders passed by the lower courts.

Stating that writ petitions were the major reason for the docket explosion in the High Court, he pointed out that nearly 4,700 such petitions had been filed in the Madurai Bench in the last three months. “When I took up the profession 30 years ago, around 7,000 writ petitions were filed in the Madras High Court in a year. But now, more than 40,000 writ petitions were being filed,” he said.

Mr. Vijayan was of the view that the High Courts would be relieved of their burden if the writ jurisdiction was given to district courts too. Judicial officers would also get an opportunity to get accustomed with the writ proceedings and it would help them as and when they get elevated to the High Court. “They need not take two to three years to settle down. They can straight away carry on with the work,” he said.

The senior counsel also said that the stature of district judges would be raised if they were empowered to issue writs against the Collectors, Superintendents of Police and other Government officials. Stating that district judges in many countries, including France, were authorised to issue writs against the public authorities, he said that a similar arrangement should be made in India too.

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