Habeas corpus: The words habeas corpus literally means “to have a body”. The writ is a direction to a person who is detaining another, commanding him to bring the body of the person in his custody at a specified time at a specified place. The writ has the purpose to set at liberty a person confined without legal justification. It does not punish the wrong doer. The writ can be issued against state or private individuals or organizations.
Mandamus: meaning “command”. It is an order by the Supreme Court or High Court to a person or a body to do what is his/its duty to do. It is an order directing the performance of ministerial act.
*ministerial act is the act which a person or a body is obliged by law to perform under the given circumstance.
Prohibition: Issued by High Court or Supreme Court to the inferior court forbidding the later to continue the performance of proceedings therein in excess of jurisdiction or to usurp a jurisdiction with which it was legally not vested.
Certiorari: Prerogative writ which orders the removal of a suit from the inferior court to a superior court. It might be used to before trial to remove an excess jurisdiction and to remove the case to a higher court for trial.
Quo warranto: The court enquires into the legality of the claim which a party assents to a public office or to remove him from its enjoyment if the claim is not well found. The fundamental basis of this writ is to see that an unlawful claimant does not usurp a public office.