File Copyright Online - File mutual Divorce in Delhi - Online Legal Advice - Lawyers in India

Difference between Fundamental Rights and Fundamental Duties

Fundamental Rights and Fundamental Duties:

The Indian Constitution contains two crucial elements - fundamental rights and fundamental duties - that play distinct but complementary roles in shaping the dynamic relationship between the state and its citizens. While fundamental rights, outlined in Part III of the Constitution, form the bedrock of individual freedoms and ensure that citizens are treated with dignity and equality, fundamental duties, introduced through the 42nd Amendment Act, embody the principles of civic responsibility and national solidarity. These two components work together to create a balanced framework for governance and citizenship in India.

The fundamental rights granted by the Constitution empower individuals to live freely and seek legal recourse if their freedoms are violated by the state or fellow citizens. They are essential for fostering a democratic and just society, but their effectiveness relies on the judiciary, which acts as a guardian of these liberties.

On the other hand, fundamental duties, while not legally enforceable, serve as guiding principles for citizens to contribute positively to the nation's progress and uphold its core values. By promoting social harmony, environmental stewardship, and respect for diversity, these duties complement the rights-based framework of the Constitution and foster a sense of collective consciousness and citizenship among the populace.

Despite their inherent differences, fundamental rights and fundamental duties form a cohesive framework for governance and citizenship in India. While fundamental rights safeguard individual freedoms from state intrusion, fundamental duties underscore the reciprocal relationship between citizens and the state, emphasizing the importance of active participation and social cohesion.

Together, they uphold the democratic ethos of the Indian Constitution, balancing individual liberties with societal obligations. However, the effectiveness of this framework relies not only on legislative provisions but also on societal awareness and active citizenship. Thus, fostering a culture of respect for both rights and duties is crucial for realizing the full potential of India's constitutional values.


The main differences between fundamental rights and fundamental duties are given below:

  • The basic human rights of all citizens are known as Fundamental Rights. These rights, which are outlined in Part III of the Constitution, are applicable to all individuals regardless of their race, place of birth, religion, caste, creed, or gender. The moral obligations of all citizens to foster a sense of patriotism and maintain the unity of India are defined as the Fundamental Duties.
  • In contrast to fundamental rights, which can be regulated and restricted in the interests of public health and welfare, fundamental duties are absolute.
  • Fundamental rights form an integral part of our Constitution and, consequently, they cannot be taken away. In a national emergency, the fundamental rights may be deprived. Nonetheless, the rights accorded in Articles 20 and 21, still hold, it can't be revoked. Fundamental Duties may be curtailed. Nevertheless, suspension of Fundamental Duties in the emergency condition does not arise.
  • The Fundamental Rights are not equally given to all citizens of India. An example of such a situation is the Indian military personnel. Fundamental Duties are to be ensured for every Indian citizen, irrespective of their association with the Indian Military Services.
  • In India, the Supreme Court and High Courts serve as the final arbiters of justice regarding Fundamental Rights. Article 32 of the constitution empowers the Supreme Court to exercise jurisdiction in matters pertaining to the enforcement of Fundamental Rights. Similarly, as per Article 226, High Courts also have the power to issue writs to ensure that these rights are not violated. However, unlike fundamental rights, which are enforceable through courts, fundamental duties cannot be enforced through legal means.
  • The Fundamental Rights of the Constitution are available exclusively for Indian citizens, while a few Fundamental Rights are also given to foreigners. Fundamental Duties are provided only to the citizens of India. Fundamental Duties have no extension or obligations towards foreigners.
  • The Fundamental Rights are based on political as well as social aspects; the introduction of economic rights is not necessary, due to the absence of any mention about a guaranteed job. Fundamental duties are generally political, social, and economic in character.
  • Subject to basic structure, the fundamental rights are amenable, but the fundamental duties are also completely amenable.
  • There is a division between some of the Fundamental Rights that are enforceable against an individual and some of the Fundamental Rights that are enforceable against the State as well. The performance of the Fundamental Duties is anticipated more from an individual in particular and less towards a country or society in general.
  • The fundamental rights pertain to individual freedoms such as the right to equality, freedom of speech and expression, as well as the right to life. On the other hand, fundamental duties address collective responsibilities that stem from being a citizen, like safeguarding national unity and integrity, fostering harmony among citizens, and keeping the environment clean.
  • Part-III of the Indian Constitution outlines the Fundamental Rights granted to Indian citizens. The Fundamental Rights are covered in Articles 12-35 of the Constitution. Article 51-A, found in Part IV A of the Constitution, covers the Fundamental Duties.
  • Fundamental rights are guaranteed in the constitution right from its inception, whereas fundamental duties were later added to it by the 42nd Amendment Act of 1976.
  • A perfect equilibrium is created when citizens ensure that their fundamental rights safeguard them from the arbitrary use of power by the state while they fulfil their fundamental duties to contribute to national welfare and protect others' rights.
  • Rights and duties can be carried out by means of enforcement procedures, such as through writ petitions and judicial review, through which fundamental rights can be enforced. However, there is no mechanism in legal terms for the enforcement of fundamental duties.
  • The constitutional amendment procedure required for changing the fundamental rights not only involves a special majority in the parliament but also cannot violate the basic structure of the constitution, whereas amendments made to fundamental duties can be done by a simple majority in the parliament.
  • In the area of legal rights and duties, the fundamental rights mainly protect an individual from the state, while the fundamental duties are designed to build a sense of citizenship and societal accountability for each person.
  • With respect to the history of constitutional law, it has been observed that while fundamental rights have not changed significantly over time since the drafting of the constitution, fundamental duties have also evolved to some extent through amendments and other societal evolutions.
  • In terms of legal status, a breach of fundamental rights may result in legal actions such as being asked to pay compensation or being subject to court orders; however, violation of fundamental duties is not punishable under any law.
  • The concept of fundamental rights in the constitution of India has been borrowed from the constitution of the United States of America and the idea of fundamental duties has been taken from the constitution of the former Soviet Union (USSR), which is now called Russia.
  • While Fundamental Rights protect the personal freedoms of individuals, Fundamental Duties serve as a constant reminder that these rights should not infringe upon the rights of others or the well-being of society. They play a crucial role in maintaining balance and ensuring that our rights are exercised responsibly.

Criticism of Fundamental Rights and Fundamental Duties:

The criticism surrounding Fundamental Rights often revolves around the perceived imbalance between individual liberties and societal interests. Those who oppose these rights argue that placing too much emphasis on individual freedoms may result in neglect of the common good or the rights of marginalized communities.

Furthermore, there are concerns regarding the effectiveness of Fundamental Rights in tackling socioeconomic disparities and systematic injustices, particularly within a diverse and hierarchical society like India. Some critics also point out the challenges of enforcing and interpreting these rights, as well as instances where they may clash with each other or with other legal principles.

On the other hand, Fundamental Duties have been subject to criticism for their vague definitions and lack of enforceability. Critics argue that these duties are often overlooked or disregarded by citizens, thus diminishing their ability to promote a sense of civic responsibility. Moreover, there are concerns about the potential for the state to misuse Fundamental Duties in order to stifle dissent or suppress political opposition, especially in the absence of clear guidelines or mechanisms for implementation.

Overall, while the purpose of Fundamental Rights and Duties is to uphold the values of justice, equality, and democracy, criticism arises from their practical limitations, potential for exploitation, and the complex societal issues they aim to address.

Written By: Md.Imran Wahab, IPS, IGP, Provisioning, West Bengal
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9836576565

Law Article in India

Ask A Lawyers

You May Like

Legal Question & Answers

Lawyers in India - Search By City

Copyright Filing
Online Copyright Registration


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi Mutual Consent Divorce is the Simplest Way to Obtain a D...

Increased Age For Girls Marriage


It is hoped that the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which intends to inc...

Facade of Social Media


One may very easily get absorbed in the lives of others as one scrolls through a Facebook news ...

Section 482 CrPc - Quashing Of FIR: Guid...


The Inherent power under Section 482 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (37th Chapter of t...

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India: A...


The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is a concept that proposes the unification of personal laws across...

Role Of Artificial Intelligence In Legal...


Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing various sectors of the economy, and the legal i...

Lawyers Registration
Lawyers Membership - Get Clients Online

File caveat In Supreme Court Instantly