When we talk in the context of Indian society then we found that the concept
of duty is not a new one. In India, the tradition of performing their duties is
from the ancient times. Our holy books like The Bhagwad Gita and The Ramayana
ask people to perform their duties. In Gita it is mentioned as:
कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन।
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि॥
It means that:
We should do our duties without expecting any fruit.
concept of duty is such old in India but it failed to have space in the
constitution when it was originally formed. However, it was later on added by 42
Singh Committee when the need and necessity was felt during the operation of the
internal emergency (1975-1977).
The committee suggests that the citizens should have to perform certain duties
alongside enjoying the fundamental rights.
By the preamble the constitution secures to all the citizens:
thought, expression, belief faith and worship" .These are the fundamental rights
of the citizens. The rest of the preamble emphasizes only the duties, “justice,
social, economic and political.
Just like a coin has two sides which are absolutely inseparable same is rights
and duties. Whenever, wherever we have any rights, then there we must have
corresponding duties. In any democratic country, the democracy cannot be succeed
till the citizens of that country take active participation in assuming
responsibility and discharging their duties. Duty is just like a sine qua non
for right because duty for one person is another person's right.
Fundamental duties are borrowed from the constitution of USSR and at the time of
borrowing it, Japan was the only state who has the duties of the citizen.
Fundamental duties are embedded in part-IV-A of the Indian constitution under
article 51A. Originally the duties were ten in number, later on by 86 th
amendment in 2002, they increased to become eleven in number.
Fundamental Duties in India
Article 51A said that every citizen has been obligated to perform certain duties
called the fundamental duties. These are the moral obligations which promote the
spirit of patriotism and the brotherhood for upholding the unity of India.
The 10 fundamental duties are as follows:
- To oblige with the Indian constitution and respect the national anthem
- To cherish and follow the noble ideas that inspired the national
struggle for freedom.
- To protect the integrity, sovereignty and unity of India.
- To defend the country and perform national services if and when the
- To promote the spirit of harmony and brotherhood amongst all the people
of India and renounce any practices that are derogatory to women.
- To cherish and preserve the rich national heritage of our composite
- To protect and improve the natural environment including lakes,
wildlife, rivers, forests etc
- To develop scientific temper, humanism and spirit of inquiry.
- To safeguard all public property.
- To strive towards excellence in all genres of individual and collective
- 11th fundamental duty which was added by 86th amendment in 2002 in this list is,
To provide opportunities for education to children between 6to 14 years of
age, and duty as parents to ensure that such opportunities are being awarded
to their child.
However, these duties are non- enforceable it means no legal action will be
taken by court to protect them. But it was also a wise decision to make
fundamental duties non- enforceable, reason behind not making these duties
enforceable is because the majority of the population being illiterate in India.
Many are unaware of their constitutional obligations. In this present scenario,
if the fundamental duties were enforceable it would resulting in causing chaos
and harassment among people. Also implementation of these duties is tough
because they lack proper explanation it wholly dependent on the performance of
state and the DPSPs.
Although these duties are non- enforceable, but they are also important because:
These duties make citizens of the country a responsible citizen; because of the
citizens are the country's ladders to the development. Just like U.S.A. and
Singapore. In U.S.A., The Citizens' Almanac, issued by U.S.A. citizenship and
immigration services, details the responsibilities of its citizens. And in
Singapore, its growth story has been filled by its emphasis on the relentless
pursuit of duties by its citizens. As a result, Singapore has transformed from a
less developed nation to highly developed nation one in a short span of time.
Relevance of Fundamental Duties in Present Time:
Even three decades after the fundamental duties were incorporated there's no
adequate awareness among citizens. For the proper enforcement of duties, it is
necessary that it should be known to all. This should be done by a systematic
and intensive education of the people that is by publicity or by making it a
part of the syllabi and curriculum of education.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s govt. appointed the Justice J.S. Verma committee to
initiate the movement to teach fundamental duties to the citizens of the country
and the chairman of the committee Justice J.S. Verma once said that:
Human rights can best be realized when the corresponding duties are performed by
the state and individuals.
Article 51-A (g) talks about the duty to protect the environment but reality is
far from it, the air and water pollution's extreme condition reveals the same.
However, in the case M.C. Mehta v. Union of India
the supreme court held
that under art. 51A(g) it is the duty of the central govt. to introduce
compulsory teaching of lessons at least for one hour in a week on protection and
improvement of natural environment on all the educational institution of the
According to article 51-A (a) it is the duty of the citizens to respect the
national anthem of the country. A case also explains the same is:
Shyam Narayan Chouksey v. Union of India
the supreme court in a PIL held
that, one is compelled to show respect whenever wherever the national anthem is
played. It is the elan vital of the nation and fundamental grammar belonging to
a nation state.
As the rights and duties are correlative, so when there is a right there is a
duty lies behind that. So first of all it is the duty of govt. also to make
fundamental duty a part of curriculum of the schools so each and every student
gets to know about it and government should start various campaigns to aware the
citizens about their duties and ask citizens to follow them. Because as the
rights are important same as the duties are also important so awareness will be
the better for the country to promote the relevance of duties in the present