Fundamental Duties of Indian Constitution

Background

  • Fundamental Duties of Indian Constitution are inspired by the Constitution of erstwhile USSR.

  • In 1976 the Sardar Swaran Singh Committee recommended about fundamental duties, the need and necessity of which was felt during the operation of the internal emergency (1975–1977). 

  • The 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act in 1976 enacted the Fundamental Duties and added a new part, namely, Part IVA which consists of only one Article, that is, Article 51A

  • Though the Swaran Singh Committee suggested the incorporation of eight Fundamental Duties in the Constitution, the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act (1976) included ten Fundamental Duties.

  • In 2002, one more Fundamental Duty was added.

Under Part IV ‘A’, Article 51A of the Indian Constitution describes the following “Fundamental Duties” (i.e. 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 wild life, 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 achievement; and
  • Who is a parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child or, as the case may be, ward between the age of six and fourteen years.

Key Facts

  • Fundamental Duties are confined to citizens only and do not extend to foreigners.
  • The Constitution does not provide for their direct enforcement by the courts.
  • Like the Directive Principles, the fundamental duties are also non-justiciable.
  • There is not legal sanction against their violation.
  • Parliament is free to enforce them by suitable legislation.

Criticism of Fundamental Duties

  • List of duties is not exhaustive
  • Some of the duties are vague, ambiguous and difficult to be understood by the common man
  • Non-justiciable character
  • Their inclusion in the Constitution was described by the critics as superfluous.
  • Inclusion of fundamental duties as an appendage to Part IV of the Constitution has reduced their value and significance.

Significance of Fundamental Duties

  • reminder to the citizens that while enjoying their rights
  • warning against the antinational and antisocial activities
  • source of inspiration for the citizens and promote a sense of discipline and commitment
  • help the courts in examining and determining the constitutional validity of a law
  • enforceable by law