Fundamental Duties

 Rights and duties of the citizens are Correlative and Inseparable,
 Original constitution contained only the fundamental rights
 Framers of the Constitution did not feel it necessary
 Duties of the State in the Constitution in the form of Directive Principles of State Polity.
 Later in 1976, the fundamental duties of citizens were added in the Constitution.
 In 2002, one more Fundamental Duty was added.
 Fundamental Duties -> Constitution of erstwhile USSR.
 None of-> Major democratic countries like USA, Canada, France, Germany, Australia and so on specifically contain a list of duties of citizens.
 Japanese Constitution is the only democratic Constitution in world which contains a list of duties of citizens.

SWARAN SINGH COMMITTEE
RECOMMENDATIONS

 1976, the Congress -> Sardar Swaran Singh Committee to make recommendations about fundamental duties
 Need and necessity of which was felt during the operation of the internal emergency (1975–1977).
 Recommended the inclusion of a separate chapter on fundamental duties.
 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act in 1976.
 Added a new part – Part IVA to the Constitution –Only one Article – Article 51A
 Ten fundamental duties of the citizens.
 Congress party declared-> Non-inclusion of fundamental duties in Constitution as a historical mistake and claimed that what the framers failed to do was being done now.

 Swaran Singh Committee-> Eight Fundamental Duties
 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act (1976) included ten Fundamental Duties.
 Certain recommendations of the Committee were not accepted by the Congress
These include:
1. The Parliament may provide for the imposition of such penalty or punishment as may be
considered appropriate for any non-compliance with or refusal to observe any of the duties.
2. No law imposing such penalty or punishment shall be called in question in any court on the
ground of infringement of any of Fundamental Rights or on the ground of repugnancy to any
other provision of the Constitution.
3. Duty to pay taxes should also be a Fundamental Duty of the citizens.

LIST OF FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES

 According to Article 51 A, it shall be the duty of every citizen of India:
(a) To abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, National Flag and National Anthem;
(b) To cherish and follow the noble ideals that inspired national struggle for freedom;
(c) To uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;
(d) To defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;
(e) To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities and to renounce practices derogatory(अपमानजनक) to the dignity of women;
(f) To value and preserve the rich heritage of the country’s composite culture;
(g) To protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures;

(h) To develop scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;
(i) To safeguard public property and to abjure(त्यागना) violence;
(j) To strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement;
(k) To provide opportunities for education to his child or ward between the age of six and fourteen years-> 86th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2002.
Like the Directive Principles, the fundamental duties are also Non-Justiciable.
The Constitution does not provide for their direct enforcement by the courts.
Parliament is free to enforce them by suitable legislation.

CRITICISM OF FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES

 Part VIA of the Constitution have been criticised on following grounds:
1. List of duties is not exhaustive as it does not cover other important duties like casting vote, paying taxes, family planning and so on.
• In fact, duty to pay taxes was recommended by the Swaran Singh Committee.
2. Some of the duties are vague, ambiguous and difficult to be understood by the common man.
• For example, different interpretations can be given to the phrases like ‘noble ideals’, ‘composite culture’, ‘scientific temper’ and so on.
3. Non justiciable character.
• The Swaran Singh Committee had suggested for penalty or punishment for the non-performance of Fundamental Duties.
4. Described by the critics as superfluous(ज़रूरत सेज़्यादा).
• Performed by the people even though they were not incorporated in the Constitution.
5. Inclusion of fundamental duties ->Part IV of the has reduced their value and significance.
• They should have been added after Part III so as to keep them on par with Fundamental Rights.

SIGNIFICANCE OF FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES

 In spite of criticisms and opposition, the fundamental duties are considered significant from the following viewpoints :
1. They serve as a reminder to the citizens-> Enjoying their rights, they should also be conscious of duties they owe to their country, their society and to their fellow citizens.
2. Warning against the anti-national and antisocial activities like burning the national flag, destroying public property and so on.
3. Promote a sense of discipline and commitment among them.
4. They help the courts in examining and determining the constitutional validity of a law.
5. They are enforceable by law-> Parliament can provide for the imposition of appropriate penalty or punishment for failure to fulfill any of them.

H R Gokhale-> Law Minister, gave reason for incorporating the fundamental duties in the Constitution after twenty- six years of its inauguration:
• ‘In post-independent India, particularly on the eve of emergency in June 1975, a section of the people showed no anxiety to fulfil their fundamental obligations of respecting the established legal order ….. Anti-national and Unconstitutional agitations in the past’.
 Indira Gandhi->Prime Minister, justified inclusion of fundamental duties in Constitution and argued that their inclusion would help to strengthen democracy.
 She said, ‘the moral value of fundamental duties would be not to smoother rights but to establish a democratic balance by making the people conscious of their duties equally as they are conscious of their rights’.

Opposition in the Parliament strongly opposed the inclusion of fundamental duties
The new Janata Government headed by Morarji Desai in the post-emergency period did not annul the Fundamental Duties.
 The new government sought to undo many changes introduced in the Constitution by the 42nd Amendment Act(1976) through – the 43rd Amendment Act (1977) and the 44th Amendment Act (1978).
 There was an eventual consensus on the necessity and desirability of including the Fundamental Duties in the Constitution.
 This is more clear with the addition of one more Fundamental Duty in 2002 by the 86th Amendment Act.

VERMA COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS

 Verma Committee on Fundamental Duties of the Citizens (1999) identified the existence of legal provisions for the implementation of some of the Fundamental Duties.
 They are mentioned below:
1. Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act (1971) prevents disrespect to the Constitution of India, the National Flag and the National Anthem.
2. The various criminal laws in force provide for punishments for encouraging enmity between different sections of people on grounds of language, race, place of birth, religion and so on.
3. The Protection of Civil Rights Act(1955) provides for punishments for offences related to caste and religion.
4. The Indian Penal Code (IPC) declares the imputations and assertions prejudicial to national integration as punishable offences.
5. The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of 1967 provides for the declaration of a communal organisation as an unlawful association.

6. The Representation of People Act (1951) provides for the disqualification of members of the Parliament or a state legislature for indulging in corrupt practice, that is, soliciting votes on the ground of religion or promoting enmity between different sections of people on grounds of caste, race, language, religion and so on.
7. The Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972 prohibits trade in rare and endangered species.
8. The Forest (Conservation) Act of 1980 checks indiscriminate deforestation and diversion of forest land for non-forest purposes.

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