We are entitled to certain privileges as well as obliged to certain duties as a
citizen of India. As responsible people, it is our responsibility to abide by
these laws and to carry out our duties. Furthermore, understanding our
fundamental duties is vital so as to uphold the Sovereignty, Unity & Integrity
The concept of obligation is not a new one, especially when it comes to Indian
society. For a long time, there has been an emphasis on performing one's "Kartavya"
towards society, parents and the country. As we all know underlying duty exists
when there is a right, and therefore rights and duties are correlative. The
fundamental responsibilities nudge every citizen of the country to ensure that
they recognize the fact that when the Constitution specifically confers certain
fundamental rights on them it also requires them to comply with certain
rudimentary standards of democratic behavior.
By the 42nd Amendment in 1976, as introduced by the Swaran Singh Committee, the
chapter on the fundamental duties of citizens was incorporated into the
Constitution. Article 51-A of the Constitution sets out the different
fundamental duties of the citizens of India, which were initially been ten in
number, but later the Fundamental Duties were further increased to eleven by the
86th Amendment in 2002.
The Fundamental Duties require all people to honour
India's national symbols, to cherish its heritage, to conserve its composite
culture and to assist in its protection. All Indians are also obliged to
cultivate the spirit of common brotherhood, protect the environment and public
property, develop scientific temperament, abjure violence, and strive for
excellence in all spheres.
Nonetheless, as per the provisions of the
Constitution, people are under a legal duty to perform these duties. However, as
in the case of the Directive Principles, there is no legal penalty in the event
of a failure or non-compliance with certain obligations.
Features of Fundamental Duties
Both spiritual and civic responsibilities were included in the fundamental
duties. For example, it is on moral leadership to cherish noble values of
freedom struggle, but it is on civic leadership to respect the constitution,
national flag, and national emblem.
However some of the fundamental rights are broadened to foreigners as well as
aliens but fundamental duties are merely constrained to Indian citizenship and
do extend towards foreigners.
Fundamental duties are also like the Directive principles that are
non-enforceable in nature. The government is unable to impose civil sanctions
for breaching them.
Essentially, the duties are taken from the culture, mythology, religions and
traditions of India. These were basically the roles of codifying activities
central to the Indian way of life.
Significance of Fundamental Duties
This needs all people to abide by the Constitution and support its principles
and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem; to respect and obey
the noble ideals that inspired the national struggle for liberty; to uphold and
protect India's sovereignty, unity and dignity; to defend and serve the country
when called upon to do so to foster peace and integrity; and to provide
opportunities for the education of a child between the ages of 6 and 14 for
those who are parents or guardians.
As can be seen from this list, while our democracy has been strengthened by
fundamental rights, fundamental duties remain necessary in order to strengthen
our society. Adherence to them would guarantee common fraternity, reinforce the
unity and dignity of India and boost the quality of life. A strong understanding
of basic obligations is also a must, since we are not only the world's largest
democracy, but also the world's most diverse society.
So these help to cultivate
a sense of discipline and loyalty towards the country. By the active
participation of people rather than mere observers, helps to achieve national
goals. In deciding the constitutionality of the statute, these duties help the
Court. For example, if any law enacted by the legislatures is taken to the Court
for the constitutional validity of the law, if it gives force to any fundamental
obligation, then such laws will be taken as fair.
Fundamental duties, despite their non-enforceability, are more essential for a
democratic state like India. A democratic state cannot survive unless its people
are able to take an active role in government and accept responsibility for the
country's best interests. Many of these duties are now incorporated as separate
laws and are enforceable by statute, but the importance of those duties referred
to in Article 51A is not reduced. The best aspect is the term 'Fundamental'
before duties, which gives equal status to and can be contrasted with
"Every right is married to a duty,Every freedom owes a corresponding
" - Rusell kirk