Introduction to the Fundamental Duties
Rights and responsibilities move hand-in-hand. Though the citizens were given fundamental rights in Part III of the Indian Constitution, but there were no duties. Originally, there were no fundamental duties enshrined in the Indian Constitution. 10 fundamental duties were incorporated into the Indian Constitution by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment, of 1976 in Part IVA under Article 51A. 11th fundamental duty was added by the 86th Constitutional Amendment Act, of 2002. Therefore, there are 11 fundamental duties in the Indian Constitution.
Reasons for Incorporating Fundamental Duties
During the National Emergency from 1975 to 1977, it was felt that citizens should have some fundamental duties towards the nation after which Swaran Singh Committee was appointed which recommended more than 10 fundamental duties making them justiciable. However, not all of them were accepted as the Government did not want to impose them on citizens making them punishable. The sole object of incorporating fundamental duties was to develop a sense of responsibility in the hearts of citizens towards the constitution and the country.
Recommendations of the Swaran Singh Committee that were Not Accepted
The Swaran Singh Committee recommended that non-compliance with fundamental duties shall be a punishable offense. The Parliament would be empowered to decide the punishment for the violation of fundamental duties. The committee also said that there would be no judicial review regarding fundamental duties on the ground of violation of fundamental rights or on the repugnancy to any Article of the Indian Constitution. One of the fundamental duties that were also suggested was the duty to pay taxes.
Justiciability of Fundamental Duties
Indian Constitution is one of the most liberal constitutions in the world. Thus, the fundamental duties are not imposed on citizens, which means they are non-justiciable, and the constitution does not provide for their direct enforcement. In other words, it is up to the citizens to follow the fundamental duties.
List of Fundamental Duties
It is the duty of every citizen of India:
- To abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem;
- To cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;
- To uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity, and integrity of India;
- To defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;
- To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic, and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;
- To value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;
- To protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creatures;
- To develop the scientific temper, humanism, and the spirit of inquiry and reform;
- To safeguard public property and to abjure violence;
- 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;
- To provide opportunities for education to his child or, as the case may be, ward between the age of six and fourteen years.
The first 10 fundamental duties came into effect on 3rd January 1977, and the 11th fundamental duty came into effect on 1st April 2010. It is pertinent to note that fundamental duties only apply to Indian citizens and not to foreigners.
Importance of Fundamental Duties
Fundamental duties are an integral and inalienable part of the Indian Constitution. We can draw its importance from the object of incorporating them into the Indian Constitution. Some of the important features of fundamental duties are as follows:
- Fundamental duties remind citizens of their duties and responsibilities not only towards the nation but also towards society and other citizens.
- They prevent citizens from involving in anti-social and anti-national activities.
- They promote patriotism, discipline, and commitment towards the nation and fellow citizens.
- In some cases, they also help the judiciary while determining the constitutionality of a law.
The fundamental duties do not change the status of fundamental rights in any way. In other words, if a person is not complying with the fundamental duties then his fundamental rights would still be enforceable.
Fundamental duties are non-justiciable duties and responsibilities that go hand-in-hand with fundamental rights. The Indian Constitution enshrines two types of fundamental duties: Moral duties and Civic duties. It is the responsibility of every citizen to discharge the fundamental duties to the extent possible as the Indian Constitution does not impose them on the citizens. Though they have been criticized on various instances for being superfluous, obvious, and ambiguous, it can be observed that many people still don’t perform their basic duties towards the nation, like, keeping our country clean. Thus, it becomes the responsibility of every citizen to know and perform their fundamental duties.