The literal meaning of theword 'mandamus' is to command.
it is a juridical remedy inthe form of a command or order from supreme court or a High court to anyconstitutional, statutory or a non statutory agency to do or to forbear fromdoing some specific act, which that agency is obliged to do or refrain fromdoing under the law and which is in the nature of a public duty or a statutoryduty.
under the constitution of India, such power of writ jurisdiction is vested withsupreme court under article 32 and with the high court under article 226.
the writ of mandamus would not lie against the President of India and Governorof the state, private individuals or private body except where the state incollusions with the private party, any member of parliament or statelegislature in whom powers are vested for regulating procedure or the conductof the business of for maintainingorders
conditions which must exist in order to grant the writ of Mandamus:
1. there must be performance of public duties. A public duty is one whichcreated either by statute, the constitution or by some rule of common law. butdoes not lie on where the duty is ministerial in nature. A ministerial duty isone where the authority has to act on the instructions of his superiors. so mandamusnot apply on administrative direction unless they are binding by law
2.Mandamus lie against person or body whose duty is must be a public official oran official body, means any company constituted under a statute for the purposeof compelling it to fulfill its public responsibilities.
3. there must be a specific demand of duty and a refusal by the authority
4.Applicant should have the right to enforce the duty till the date of thepetition.
it means there is a statute which imposes a legal duty and aggrieved party hasthe legal right under the statute to enforce its performance.
Grounds on which it can issue
1.Mandamus can be issued on all those ground on which certiorari andprohibition can be issued.
1.lack of jurisdiction
2. excess of jurisdiction
3. abuse jurisdiction
4.violation of principles of natural justice
5. error of law apparent on the face of record.
It is a discretionary remedy and the high court may refuse to issue writ, ifalternative remedy exist except in case of infringement of a fundamental right.