Article 226 of the Indian Constitution confers upon the High Courts wide powers to issue orders and writs to any person or authority. Before a writ or an order is passed, the party approaching the court has to establish that he has a right and that right is illegally invaded or threatened. High court can issue writ and directions, to any Government, authority or person even beyond its territorial jurisdiction, if the cause of action partly arises within its territorial jurisdiction.
Wherever questions of facts are involved normally High Court does not exercise its power under Article 226.Similary when an alternative remedy is available to the petitioner, the Courts do not entertain petitions under Article 226. Also when there is an inordinate delay in approaching the court, the court may not give relief acting under this Article.
There are various types of Writs: – Habeas Corpus, Mandamus, Prohibition, Quo Warranto and Certiorari. Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution can exercise similar powers.
The basic idea in conferring powers under Article 226 upon High Court is to see that the rule of law is maintained in the society. The executive authorities are to be corrected whenever they transgress the limits of their power and encroach upon the rights of the citizen. Violations of human rights, natural rights etc., are instances where the High courts interfere using this powerful article of the Constitution.