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Fundamental Duties

How are rights and duties related?

1. Every right comes with a corresponding duty.

2. If a person has some right recognized under the law, it also means that the person is under a legal duty to comply with that right.

3. Fundamental rights are guaranteed under Part III of the Indian Constitution and the duty lies upon the state to protect these rights.

4. The Constitution also provides for certain fundamental duties under Part IV A that are to be performed by the citizens.

5. They were introduced in 1976 by the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution after the recommendations of Swaran Singh Committee.

6. This was done in line with Article 29 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

7. According to Universal Declaration of Human Rights “Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of the personality is possible”.

8. 10 duties from these rights have been incorporated in the Indian Constitution of India in 1976, while the 11th was included in the year 2002 by the 86th Amendment.

Where Directive Principles come in?

1. Part IV of the Indian Constitution provides for Directive Principles of State Policy.

2. There is a common link among Part III, Part IV, and Part IV A of the Indian Constitution as they lay down the fundamental rights, fundamental principles of governance and fundamental duties of the citizens respectively. (Chandra Bhavan Boarding vs. The State of Mysore, 1969)

3. So, while the state is obliged not to infringe the rights of the individuals, the individuals are under a duty towards the state and to contribute for the social welfare and nation building.

What are the features of Fundamental Duties?

1. The duties remind the citizens to follow the noble ideals and strive for excellence.

2. The mandate of Article 51A is obligatory and not compulsory in nature.

3. Some of these duties include respect of national flag, safeguard forests and wildlife, develop scientific temper, safeguard public property, maintain the dignity of women in the society etc.

4. There is no provision for enforcement of these duties nor there is any sanction for the violation of these duties under the Constitution.

5. But there are provisions under the Indian Penal Code, which punishes for the act done against the interest of the nation and other issues.

Why effectiveness of duties is stressed upon?

1. The National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC) was set up by the Government in 2002 chaired by Justice M.N. Venkatachaliah.

2. This committee emphasized on the importance and enforcement of Fundamental Duties.

3. The Verma Committee (1999) also made recommendations for the effectiveness of Fundamental Duties.

4. The Preamble itself includes the objective resolution of the Constituent Assembly which inherently had duties in it.

5. Basic duties like respecting the sovereignty of India, protecting the unity of the nation and many others are expected to be naturally followed by the citizens.

6. But the inclusion of fundamental duties has still not achieved its objective.

Which are the measures to be taken?

1. Teaching Fundamental Duties is to be made mandatory in every educational institution as a part of curricular or co-curricular activity.

2. Citizens are expected to observe certain basic norms of democratic behaviour.

3. The feeling of fraternity and secular values need to be promoted.

4. The State is duty bound to educate its citizens about their duties, as a right balance can be maintained between the rights and duties.