Fundamental Duties

Fundamental Duties are provided under Part IV-A of the Constitution. Part IV-A contains only one article, i.e. Article 51-A. Fundamental Duties are provided as a reminder to the citizens that while there are fundamental rights of every citizen, there are some duties which every citizen must perform. The Article 51-A provides 10 Fundamental Duties for citizens, which are:-

  • To abide by the Constitution and to respect its ideals, institutions, the National Flag and National Anthem.
  • Cherish and follow the ideals of the freedom struggle
  • To protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India
  • To defend the country and to provide national service when called upon to do so
  • To preserve the composite culture
  • To promote the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India and to renounce the practices disrespectful to the dignity of women
  • To protect the natural environment
  • To safeguard public property
  • To develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform
  • To strive toward excellence in all fields of life

The Fundamental Duties were added upon the recommendation of the Swaran Singh Committee in the year 1976. The chairman of the committee was Sardar Swaran Singh who was the India’s longest serving Union Cabinet Minister.

Need for Fundamental Duties

The Fundamental Duties intends to serve as a constant reminder to the citizens that while the Constitution provides them fundamental rights, it also requires them to observe certain basic norms of conduct. The constitution not only gives rights to the citizens, but also provides certain duties that the citizens must comply with.

Sources of Fundamental Duties

None of the constitutions of the western countries mentions about the duties and obligations of the citizens. The Constitution of Japan provides for certain duties of the citizens. However, in Britain, Australia and Canada the duties of the citizens are governed by the Common laws and judicial decisions. The Constitution of France only makes a passing reference to the duties of the citizens. The American Constitution provides only for the fundamental rights of the citizens.

Importance of Fundamental Duties

  • They remind the citizens of their duty towards the society and their fellow citizens
  • They warn the citizens against the anti social and anti national activities
  • They help the courts in examining the constitutional validity of any law
  • They inspire the citizens
  • They promote a sense of discipline and commitment among the citizens

Criticism of Fundamental Duties

Though the fundamental duties are an important part of our life, yet there are many criticisms in them, such as:-

  • The critics are of the opinion that they are a code of moral precepts due to their non justiciable characteristic.
  • The critics describe their addition in the Constitution as unnecessary.
  • Critics consider some of the duties to be vague, ambiguous and difficult to be understood by common man.
  • Critics recommend that the list of fundamental duties is not exhaustive as t does not cover certain other duties like vote casting, tax payment and so on.
  • Critics are of the opinion that the fundamental duties should have been added after Part III of the Constitution to keep them on par with the Fundamental Rights.

Despite of the many critics, it is fair to say that the inclusion of Fundamental Duties in the Constitution has been a great move by the makers of the Constitution and every citizen must abide by these duties. If a citizen expects to get the rights mentioned in the Constitution, then they must also abide by the duties given in the Constitution.

Aishwarya Says:

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