Concept of Fundamental Duties in India

Concept of Fundamental Duties in India

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Concept of Fundamental Duties in India

Today’s state is a modern state. Earlier, governance was related to the legislation and judiciary. But today, modern government works for the welfare of society along with its primary functions. If government works for our benefits then some obligations also lie on the citizen’s part towards state and society.  These moral obligations are called Fundamental Duties in India. In this article, we will discuss the concept of Fundamental duties in India.

Introduction

Fundamental Duties in India are enshrined in part IV-A of Indian Constitution under article 51A. These duties can be defined as the moral obligations on the part of citizens to promote the patriotism and to uphold the unity of India.  Unlike fundamental rights, Fundamental Duties are not enforceable by law. In Chandra Bhavan boarding &lodging, Bangalore Vs State of Mysore[1], the court observed that it is wrong to think that under our constitution there are only rights and no duties. Part III and Part IV are complementary and supplementary.

These duties of citizens were added by 42nd amendment in the year 1976 upon the recommendation of Swaran Singh Committee. Originally they were 10 in number. Latest amendment was made in 2002 by 86th amendment. This amendment imposed a duty on the parents or guardian to provide an opportunity of education to their children from 6-14 years.

Sources

The concept of Fundamental duties in India has been taken from socialist countries like Yugoslavia. Fundamental duties of citizens in England can be observed in Common Law and judicial decisions. Interestingly. Fundamental duties cannot be found in many western countries like the USA. Chapter 7 of the Soviet constitution deals with the concept of fundamental duties. These include duties like the honest performance of public duties, respect rules and regulation of socialist societies, safeguarding of public property etc.

Enforcement of Fundamental Duties in India

There is no provision for violation of Fundamental Duties in India. By nature, fundamental duties are not practically enforceable. However, by suitable legislation, they can be enforced. They can also be enforced by departmental rules of conduct in public offices if not elsewhere. Departments can ask to penalise for disrespect of flag or any other non-performance of Fundamental Duties.

In M.C. Mehta Vs Union of India[2], the Supreme Court has held that it is the duty of Central Govt to introduce the compulsory teaching of lessons at least for one hour a week. The Apex court further directed Central Govt. to provide free books on the subject. Referring to clause (j) of Fundamental Duties, Supreme Court in Mohan Kumar Singhania & others Vs Union of India upheld the services rule giving weight to the training and penalizing the failure. In several cases, the court has upheld the laws pertaining to the preservation of environment and ecology. For instance, In Sachianand Pandey & Another Vs State of West Bengal & others court held that whenever cases related to environment and ecology are brought, the court should bear in mind Article 48 and 51-A(g) which provides for the duty of a citizen to protect and improve the natural environment.

Conclusion

Rights and duties work hand in hand. Arises of one give birth to other. These duties are a constant to us that if we have fundamental and other legal rights, there are also certain moral obligations on our part for the upliftment of society and democracy. Only proper working of government wouldn’t suffice the purpose, we as citizens also need to perform our duties well for a better tomorrow.

[1] (1969) 8 SCC 84

[2] (1983) 1 SCC 471

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