Correlation between Fundamental Rights and Fundamental Duties


Rights and duties go hand in hand. Rights can only be enjoyed in the world of duties. For every right there is corresponding duty to be fulfilled. There is no right without duty. One’s right is another’s obligation. A fundamental right is a right to which an individual is entitled by virtue merely of being a member of the human species. The existence of a right, fundamental or otherwise, implies the existence of a duty on all others able to constrain the enjoyment of that right to refrain from doing so, or else the right is unenforceable and worthless. When Indian Constitution Provides 6 fundamental rights of citizens of India, it imposes 10 fundamental duties of each individual. When the citizens demand for their rights, in return the government will demand from its citizens their fundamental duties. It is often said that “With great power comes great responsibility”. While the fundamental rights empower the citizens, the fundamental duties remind the great responsibilities. So, we can say that the rights and duties of the citizens are correlative and inseparable. Fundamental rights and fundamental duties both are two sides of the same coin. Fundamental duties are a reminder to the citizens that while enjoying privileges, they also have duties to follow. The duties and rights give a chance to citizens to actively participate in a healthy democracy and move together towards the realisation of national goals.

The development of a society is credited to the constant evolution of law. When people come together, everyone has certain rights and duties obligated towards one another. Rights and duties are the pillars of law. According to Julious Stone, a right connotes a claim justifiable in words. Salmond defined right as a man’s capacity of influencing the acts of another, not by his own strength, but of the opinion on the force of society. According to Salmond, a duty is roughly speaking an act which one ought to do, an act opposite of which would be a wrong. Rights and duties are reciprocal. A right is a Demand and duty is an expectation.

The Fundamental Rights are defined as the basic human rights of all citizens. These rights, defined in Part III of the Constitution, applied irrespective of race, place of birth, religion, caste, creed, or gender. They are enforceable by the courts, subject to specific restrictions. The Fundamental Duties’ are defined as the moral obligations of all citizens to help promote a spirit of patriotism and to uphold the unity of India. These duties set out in Part IV–A of the Constitution, concern individuals and the nation.

Fundamental Rights

Rights are ethical principles of Freedom. Fundamental Rights is a charter of rights contained in Part III (Articles 12 to 35) of Constitution of India. The development of constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human rights in India was inspired by historical examples such as England’s Bill of Rights(1689), the United States Bill of Rights and France’s Declaration of the Rights of Man. It is a fallacy to regard fundamental rights as a gift from the State to its citizens. Individuals possess basic human rights independently of any Constitution by reason of the basic fact that they are members of the human race. These fundamental rights are important as they possess intrinsic value. The fundamental rights were included in the constitution because they were considered essential for the development of the personality of every individual and to preserve human dignity. These fundamental rights guarantee civil freedom to all the citizens of India to allow them to live in peace and harmony. These are the basic rights that every Indian citizen has the right to enjoy, irrespective of their caste, creed and religion, place of birth, race, colour or gender. These fundamental rights include:

  • Right to Equality, (Article 14 to 18)
  • Right to Freedom, (including Right to Education) (Article 19 to 22)
  • Right to Freedom of Religion, Cultural and Education Rights, (Article 25 to 30)
  • Right against Exploitation, (Article 23 and 24) and
  • Right to Constitutional Remedies. (Article 32)

Fundamental Rights cannot be diluted or abridged by any other ordinary legislation. It can only be diluted or abridged by amending the Constitution itself. And as ruled by the Supreme Court in many judgments, basic Structure of the Constitution cannot be altered. On the other hand, any other legal right may be diluted by ordinary legislation.

Fundamental Duties

Duty is an obligation to respect the Rights of others and the society. When the Constitution was adopted in the year 1949, it did not contain provision for Fundamental Duties. The fact remains that Fundamental Duties of the citizens were not incorporated into the draft Constitution, and when the Constitution of India came into force, there was no Chapter on Fundamental Duties. As a unfortunate result of this in the years after independence, the people of India became so much right conscious that they tended to forget their fundamental duties and responsibilities. A suggestion to define the duties of the citizen was mooted by Dr. Rajendra Prasad, who felt deeply disturbed on account of indiscipline and lawlessness in the country in general, and the irresponsible behaviour of some legislators. It seems that the people in the country had been so much obsessed with rights that they tended to forget the importance of their duties and obligations towards the society and the nation which enabled them to claim; and exercise their rights. Insertion of Part IV- A in the Constitution containing Fundamental Duties can hardly be called an innovation on the part of the Indian Parliament. Parliament realised the need for inserting the fundamental duties as a part of the Indian Constitution and required every citizen of India to adhere to those duties. By the 42nd Amendment to the Constitution, a new part (Part IVA) was inserted for providing Fundamental Duties of a Citizen of India. Article 51A was inserted to provide that it shall be the duty of every citizen of India-

(a) to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the national Flag and the National Anthem;

(b) to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our 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; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;

(f) to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;

(g) to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures;

(h) to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;

(i) to safeguard public property and to abjure 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

The 11th Fundamental Duty 51-1(K) was added by the 86the Constitutional Amendment Act, 2002 which reads as under:

(k) who is 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.

The fundamental duties are reflection of the ancient developed concepts of east but least adhered in modern era. This apart on analysis of fundamental duties as contained in the constitution of India, it can be gathered that some are mere declaratory, while few can be treated as remedial duties and some others as hybrid of declaratory and remedial duties. The declaratory duties declare the right without providing any remedy for its breach. The remedial duties create the duties and/or affirm the duties with remedy for the breach either in same statute or in already existing statute.

Relation Between Fundamental Rights and Fundamental Duties

Rights and duties are closely related and cannot be separated from one another. Both go side by side. These are the two sides of the same coin. The constitution of India gives the right to life to a citizen, it also imposes an obligation on him to not to expose his life to dangers, as well as to respect the life of others. If a person have a right to work and earn, it is also his duty to recognize the same right of others.

Rights can be enjoyed only in the world of duties. For every fundamental right there is corresponding fundamental duty. When the people fail to discharge their duties properly, the rights all become meaningless. “I can enjoy my rights only if the others allow me to do the same. I have” the right to life and it is the duty of others to respect my life and not to cause any harm to me.”

Fundamental rights are not the monopoly of a single individual. Everybody gets these equally. This means that “others also have the same rights which I have, and it is my duty to see that others also enjoy their rights.” Laski has rightly said that one man’s right is also his duty. It is my duty to respect the rights of others as well as the duty to use my rights in the interest of society.

Fundamental rights originated in society. Therefore, while enjoying fundamental rights, we must always try to promote social interest. It is the fundamental duty of every one of us to use our rights for promoting the welfare of the society as a whole. Since state protects and enforces rights, it also becomes the duty of all citizens to be loyal to the state. It is their duty to obey the laws of the state and to pay taxes honestly. Citizens should always be ready to defend the state. Thus, a citizen has both fundamental Rights and fundamental Duties. He enjoys his fundamental rights and performs his fundamental duties.

In Javed v. State of Haryana[1] It has been held that Fundamental rights are not to be read in isolation. They have to be read along with the chapter on directive principles of State policy and the fundamental duties enshrined in Article 51A.

Further, in State of Gujarat v. Mirzapur[2] while considering provisions of Articles 48, 48-A and also Article 51-A(g), the Supreme Court held: “It is thus clear that faced with the question of testing the constitutional validity of any statutory provision or an executive act, or for testing the reasonableness of any restriction cast by law on the exercise of any fundamental right by way of regulation, control or prohibition, the directive principles of State policy and fundamental duties as enshrined in Article 51-A of the Constitution play a significant role”.

In Ramlila Maidan Incident, In re[3], It was held: “There has to be a balance and proportionality between the right and restriction on the one hand, and the right and duty, on the other. It will create an imbalance, if undue or disproportionate emphasis is placed upon the right of a citizen without considering the significance of the duty. The true source of right is duty. When the courts are called upon to examine the reasonableness of a legislative restriction on exercise of a freedom, the fundamental duties enunciated under Article 51-A are of relevant consideration. Article 51-A requires an individual to abide by the law, to safeguard public property and to abjure violence. It also requires the individual to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of the country. All these duties are not insignificant.

In N.K. Bajpai v. Union of India[4], It was observed: A common thread runs through Parts III, IV and IV-A of the Constitution of India. One Part enumerates the fundamental rights, the second declares the fundamental principles of governance and the third lays down the fundamental duties of the citizens. While interpreting any of these provisions, it shall always be advisable to examine the scope and impact of such interpretation on all the three constitutional aspects emerging from these Parts”.


There is a close relationship between fundamental rights and fundamental duties and they cannot be separated from each other. If every individual pays his sole attention only to his fundamental rights and does not perform his fundamental duties to others, fundamental rights of every citizen will cease to exist. They are the same conditions viewed from different angles. They are the two sides of same coin. Fundamental Rights guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution are important natural rights necessary for development of human beings. They are enforceable through court of law. No law can be made which takes away or abridges any fundamental rights. On the other hand, Fundamental Duties though not enforceable, but always taken into account while interpreting any fundamental rights.


[1] AIR 2003 8 SCC 369

[2] AIR 2005 8 SCC 534

[3] AIR 2012 5 SCC 123

[4] AIR 2012 4 SCC 653

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.


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