Fundamental Duties

  • The rights and duties of the citizens are correlative and inseparable
  • The original constitution contained only the fundamental rights and not the fundamental duties.
  • Framers of the Constitution did not feel it necessary to incorporate the fundamental duties of the citizens in the Constitution
  • They incorporated the duties of the State in the Constitution in the form of Directive Principles of State Polity
  • Later in 1976, the fundamental duties of citizens were added in the Constitution.
  • In 2002, one more Fundamental Duty was added.
  • The Fundamental Duties in the Indian Constitution are inspired by the Constitution of erstwhile USSR.
 
 
Swaran Singh Committee Recommendations
  • In 1976, the Congress Party set up the Sardar Swaran Singh Committee to make recommendations about fundamental duties,
  • Need and necessity was felt during the operation of the internal emergency (1975–1977)
  • The committee recommended the inclusion of a separate chapter on fundamental duties in the Constitution.
  • It stressed that the citizens should become conscious that in addition to the enjoyment of rights, they also have certain duties to perform as well.
  • The Congress Government at Centre accepted these recommendations and enacted the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act in 1976.
  • This amendment added a new part, namely, Part IVA
  • This new part consists of only one Article, that is, Article 51A which for the first time specified a code of ten fundamental duties of the citizens
 
 
List of Fundamental Duties
  • According to Article 51 A, it shall be the duty of every citizen of India:
  1. to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem
  2. to cherish and follow the noble ideals that inspired the national struggle for freedom;
  3. to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India
  4. to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so
  5. to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities and to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women
  6. to value and preserve the rich heritage of the country’s composite culture;
  7. to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures;
  8. to develop scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform
  9. to safeguard public property and to abjure violence
  10. to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavor and achievement; and
  11. to provide opportunities for education to his child or ward between the age of six and fourteen years (86th Amendment)
 
 
Features of Fundamental Duties
  • Some of them are moral duties while others are civic duties.
  • For instance, cherishing noble ideals of freedom struggle is a moral precept and respecting the Constitution, National Flag and National Anthem is a civic duty.
  • They refer to such values which have been a part of the Indian tradition, mythology, religions and practices. In other words, they essentially contain just a codification of tasks integral to the Indian way of life.
  • Fundamental Duties are confined to citizens only and do not extend to foreigners.
  • Like the Directive Principles, the fundamental duties are also non-justiciable.
  • The Constitution does not provide for their direct enforcement by the courts.
  • However, the Parliament is free to enforce them by suitable legislation.
 
 
Criticisms of Fundamental Duties
  • The list of duties is not exhaustive as it does not cover other important duties like casting vote, paying taxes, family planning and so on.
  • In fact, duty to pay taxes was recommended by the Swaran Singh Committee.
 
 

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