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Fundamental Duties

The 42nd Amendment Act, 1976 added a Chapter IV-A which consist of only one Article 51-A which dealt with a Code of Ten Fundamental Duties for citizens. Fundamental duties are intended to serve as a constant reminder to every citizen that while the constitution specifically conferred on them certain Fundamental Rights, it also requires citizens to observe certain basic norms of democratic conduct and democratic behaviour because rights and duties are co-relative.

Fundamental Duties

Article 51-A Says that it shall be the duty of every citizen of India-

1. to abide by the constitution and respect its ideal and institutions;
2. to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our 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 diversities, to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;
6. to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;
7. to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, and wild-life and to have compassion for living creatures;
8. to develop the 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. Further, one more Fundamental duty has been added to the Indian Constitution by 86th Amendment of the constitution in 2002.
11. who is a parent or guardian , to provide opportunities for education to his child, or as the case may be, ward between the age of six and fourteen years.

Need For Fundamental Duties

India is a country where  people belonging to different castes, creed, religion, sects etc.  live together and in order  to maintain harmony and peace and to encourage the feeling of brotherhood and oneness among them following the Fundamental Duties on their part plays a vital role in upholding and protecting the sovereignty, unity and integrity of our country which is of inevitable importance. It reminds the citizens that rights and duties go hand in hand.

Sources of Fundamental Duties

It is significant to note that none of the Constitutions of Western Countries specifically provide for the duties and obligations of citizens . Among the Democratic Constitutions of the world we find mention of certain duties of the citizens in the Japanese Constitution. In Britain, Canada & Australia the rights and duties of citizens are governed largely by Common Law and Judicial Decisions. The French Constitution Makes only a passing reference to duties of citizens. The American Constitution provides only for fundamental rights and not duties of citizen.

But the Constitution of Socialist Countries, however, lay great emphasis on the citizen's duties  like Article 32 of the Yugoslavian Constitution and Chapter VII of the Soviet Constitution lays down Fundamental Rights & Duties and also Chapter II of the Constitution of Republic Of China. All the aforesaid Constitutions specifically lay down duties of the people, they also guarantee the "Right to Work" to every citizen which the Indian Constitution does not provide still today. The "right to work" should, therefore, be guaranteed to every citizen who are expected to do certain to the nation.

Enforcement of duties

The fundamental duties are statutory duties and shall be enforceable by Law. Parliament , y law , will provide penalties to be imposed for failure to fulfil those duties and obligations. The success of this provision would , however, depend much upon the manner in which and the person against whom these duties would be enforced and for its proper enforcement it is necessary that it should be known to all. In AIIMS Students Union v. AIIMS  AIR (1983) 1 SCC 471 it has been held that Fundamental Duties though not enforceable by writ of the court, yet provide a valuable guide and aid to interpretation of constitutional and legal issues.

Some of the duties are vague and terms used therein are complex which even a highly educated man would find difficult to grasp like it is difficult to identify the noble ideas that inspired our national struggle for freedom.
Some of the duties clash with religious principles of some religious sects in the country. In a Judgement the Supreme Court held that no person can be forced to join the singing of the National Anthem, if he has genuine religious obligations which place religious belief above the patriotism.

There is no specific provision  nor any sanction as to implementation and enforcement of Fundamental Duties.

The Fundamental Duties inherit some of the ideals, thoughts, beliefs of great saints philosophers, social reformers and political leaders thus in spite  of its vagueness the fundamental Duties fulfils a long standing need. It acts as a constant reminder that rights and duties go hand in hand. The Fundamental Duties are laid down to draw the attention of the citizens towards the duties they owe towards their Motherland. It clearly elaborates the thoughts of John .F. Kennedy ", Do not ask what the country can do for you, but ask what you can do for the country".

Author: Smriti Tiwari

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