Prohibition is an extraordinary prerogative writ of preventive nature. It seeks to prevent courts, tribunals, quasi judicial authorities and officers and persons exercising judicial and quasi judicial powers from usurping jurisdiction or exercising jurisdiction not vested in them.
The object of writ of prohibition is to prevent encroachment of jurisdiction. Its function is to restraint courts, tribunals and quasi judicial authorities exercising judicial or quasi judicial powers from exceeding their authority and exercising powers not vested in them and by confining them within limits of law.
Grounds for issuing writ of prohibition
- Absence or excess of jurisdiction– In case of absence or total lack of jurisdiction, writ of prohibition would be available against a judicial and quasi judicial authority prohibiting it from exercising jurisdiction not vested in it. Thus in case of levy of licence fee without authority of law, prohibition was issued.
- Violation of natural justice– In case where the principle of natural justice have not been observed or if observed there is a violation of those principles. For example, if the opposite party have not been served with the notice and not been heard. Then the writ of prohibition can be issued.
- Unconstitutionality of Statute– whenever any tribunal or court proceed to act under law which is ultra vires or unconstitutional, a writ of prohibition can be issued against the proceedings.
- Infringement of Fundamental Right– where the impugned action is infringing any fundamental right of the petitioner then the writ of prohibition can be issued.
- Error of law Apparent on the face of Record
Writ of prohibition is issued to the court or any tribunal to bar them from doing something what they are about to do. This bar is applied whenever a subordinate court or tribunal hears the matter beyond their jurisdiction or on matters on which they have no jurisdiction.
East India Commercial Co. Ltd. v Collector of Customs
In the given case an observation is given by the Supreme Court that writ of prohibition is an order directing inferior courts and tribunals to stop from proceeding therein on the ground that the proceeding are taking place with excess jurisdiction or lack of jurisdiction.
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