What is Quo-Warranto?

By Shivank Goel|Updated : November 8th, 2022

In law, quo-warranto means "by what authority or warrant." The term Quo-Warranto comes from the Latin phrase "by what authority?" It is used to raise the question, "By what authority does a person hold office?" Quo-Warranto was a type of warrant that was commonly used in the past to question the authority of a public official. It legally assesses a person's eligibility to hold that office.

Definition and Meaning of Quo Warranto

The Quo-Warranto is a warrant that is issued by the Court to someone whose authority in a public office is questionable. It is a type of legal action used to determine whether a specific person has the legal right to hold the public office that he or she currently holds.

  • Quo warranto is used to determine a person's legal right to hold a position, not to assess the person's performance in the position.
  • In view of checking the righteousness of a public official, Quo-Warranto is brought into use.
  • If a Court finds that the concerned person who is holding office is not actually entitled to hold that office, it issues a 'writ' of Quo-Warranto and prohibits the person from holding that position.
  • A prerogative writ requires the recipient to demonstrate their legitimacy before exercising any rights, powers, or franchises they claim to possess.
  • The phrase 'Quo-Warranto' seldom appears in the statutes today, but the term is still used.

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FAQs on Quo-Warranto

  • A ‘Quo-Warranto’ is a warrant used to question one’s authority in a public office. The Court may issue a Quo-Warranto to a person whose legitimacy to hold a public office is in doubt.

  • A ‘Quo-Warranto’ is the best way to ensure there is no illegal occupation of a public office by any person. Although the term "Quo-Warranto" is no longer frequently used in statutes, it is still in use.

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