Mandamus literally means ‘we command’. It is a command issued by the court to a public official asking him to perform the official duties that he has failed or refused to perform. It can also be issued against any public body, a corporation, an inferior court, a tribunal or government for the same purpose.
The writ of mandamus cannot be issued (a) against a private individual or body; (b) to enforce departmental instruction that does not possess statutory force; (c) when the duty is discretionary and not mandatory; (d) to enforce a contractual obligation; (e) against the president of India or the state governors; and (f) against the chief justice of a high court acting in a judicial capacity.
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