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Relevance of Fundamental Duties in Present Scenario

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.

The 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:
liberty of 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:

  1. To oblige with the Indian constitution and respect the national anthem and flag
  2. To cherish and follow the noble ideas that inspired the national struggle for freedom.
  3. To protect the integrity, sovereignty and unity of India.
  4. To defend the country and perform national services if and when the country requires.
  5. To promote the spirit of harmony and brotherhood amongst all the people of India and renounce any practices that are derogatory to women.
  6. To cherish and preserve the rich national heritage of our composite culture.
  7. To protect and improve the natural environment including lakes, wildlife, rivers, forests etc
  8. To develop scientific temper, humanism and spirit of inquiry.
  9. To safeguard all public property.
  10. To strive towards excellence in all genres of individual and collective activities.
  11. 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 country.

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 time.

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