This writ is issued to prevent a court or quasi-judicial tribunal from exceeding its jurisdiction, or acting contrary to natural justice. Its object is prevention rather than cure.
It differs from certiorari not so much in nature as in the fact that it is issuable at a stage when the tribunal is proceeding with the matter and it has not yet disposed it off. After disposal, the proper writ is certiorari for it is the decision which is to be quashed.
Writ of prohibition is issued only if there are proceedings pending in a court or tribunal. The grounds on which the writ of prohibition is issued are the same on which a writ of certiorari is issued.
Difference between Prohibition and Certiorari
Prohibition and certiorari are much in common. Both the writs are issued with the object of restraining the inferior courts from exceeding their jurisdiction. The Supreme Court has expressed the difference of the two writs in Hari Vishnu Kamath vs. Ahmad Ishaque, AIR 1955 S.C. 233, in the following terms:
“When an inferior Court takes up for hearing a matter over which it has no jurisdiction, the person against whom the proceedings are taken, can move the Supreme Court for a writ of prohibition and that an order will be issued forbidding the inferior court from continuing the proceeding.
On the other hand, if the court hears the case or the matter and gives a decision, the party aggrieved would have to move the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari. On that an order will be made quashing the decision on the ground of jurisdiction.
“When the case is pending before the court but it has not been finally disposed of, the Supreme Court has to apply both prohibition and certiorari; prohibition to prevent the court to proceed further with the case and certiorari for what has been already decided.”
Prohibition like certiorari lies only against judicial or quasi-judicial bodies. It does not lie against a public authority which acts purely on an executive or administrative capacity, nor to a legislative body.
Thus, the object of the writ of prohibition is prevention rather than cure, while certiorari is used as a cure.