Writ of Mandamus in Indian Constitution

Writ of Mandamus in Indian Constitution – The term “Mandamus” is Latin for “We command.” The Writ of Mandamus originates from English common law and has been adopted by several legal systems, including India’s.

Writ of Mandamus in the Indian Constitution


The Indian Constitution is a living document that provides a comprehensive framework for the governance of the country. Among its various provisions, the writs are a crucial component that empowers citizens to seek justice and protect their fundamental rights. One such writ is the ‘Writ of Mandamus,’ a legal remedy that ensures public officials and authorities perform their duties in accordance with the law. This article delves into the concept, significance, and applications of the Writ of Mandamus in the Indian context.

Origin and Definition

The term “Mandamus” is Latin for “We command.” The Writ of Mandamus originates from English common law and has been adopted by several legal systems, including India’s.

It is enshrined under Article 32 and Article 226 of the Indian Constitution. Article 32 grants the right to move the Supreme Court for the enforcement of fundamental rights, while Article 226 extends a similar provision to High Courts.

Purpose and Scope

The Writ of Mandamus serves as a potent tool to ensure that government officials, authorities, and public institutions act within the boundaries of their legal authority and do not exceed their jurisdiction. When a person’s fundamental rights are violated due to the actions or inactions of a public authority, they can seek a Mandamus writ to compel that authority to perform its legal duty.

Conditions for Issuing a Mandamus Writ

For a Writ of Mandamus to be granted, certain conditions must be met:

Legal Duty: The petitioner must establish that the authority or official has a clear legal duty to perform the act in question. This duty should be enforceable by a court of law.

Violation of Right: The petitioner’s right must have been violated or denied due to the authority’s failure to perform its duty.

No Alternative Remedy: A Mandamus writ is generally issued when there is no other adequate legal remedy available to the petitioner.

Public Duty: The duty in question should be of a public nature and not a purely private matter.

Discretionary Acts: A Mandamus writ cannot be issued to control discretionary powers exercised by an authority.

Significance and Applications

The Writ of Mandamus plays a crucial role in upholding the principles of the rule of law and ensuring administrative accountability. It acts as a check against abuse of power by public authorities and prevents them from acting arbitrarily or unlawfully.

The scope of the Mandamus writ is broad and covers a range of scenarios, such as:

Enforcing Fundamental Rights: If a fundamental right is violated by a public authority, a Mandamus writ can be sought to compel the authority to take corrective action.

Administrative Efficiency: Mandamus can be used to ensure timely and efficient administrative action, particularly in cases where delays can cause harm or injustice.

Judicial Review: The writ enables the judiciary to review administrative decisions and ensure they are made within the confines of the law.

Quashing Illegal Orders: When an authority issues an order beyond its jurisdiction or in violation of legal procedures, a Mandamus writ can be sought to quash such an order.

Compelling Duty: Mandamus can be used to force public officials to perform their statutory duties, which can be especially relevant in cases of negligence or dereliction of duty.


The Writ of Mandamus is a crucial tool for safeguarding the rights of citizens and upholding the rule of law in India. It empowers individuals to hold public authorities accountable and ensures that administrative actions remain within the bounds of legality and fairness. By invoking the Mandamus writ, citizens can seek timely relief when faced with violations of their fundamental rights or instances of administrative negligence. This writ stands as a testament to the Indian Constitution’s commitment to justice, equality, and the protection of citizens’ rights.

The following information provides a brief overview of writs and their importance in the context of the UPSC exam. It highlights their relevance as static topics in the polity syllabus for both UPSC prelims and mains, as well as their applicability in the current affairs segment of the IAS exam. The focus of this article is on the writ of mandamus as a significant concept within this subject. However, candidates are advised to consult official UPSC syllabus, recommended study materials, and updated sources for comprehensive and accurate preparation. This content aims to serve as a starting point for understanding the relevance of these topics in the UPSC exam.

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