Individuals are the primary organs of a state, and each organ must work together to achieve the state’s welfare goals. Individuals have a critical role in the welfare of a state and are entitled to exercise their rights. Our country, India, has the world’s longest written constitution. India, the world’s largest democracy, whose Bible is the ‘Constitution,’ enshrines the principles of Justice, Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity in its Preamble for the “People of India.” The Fundamental Duties are a novel feature of the Indian Constitution in recent times. The Fundamental Duties of citizens serve a useful purpose. In particular, no democratic polity can ever succeed where the citizens are not willing to be active participants in the process of governance by assuming responsibilities and discharging citizenship duties, and coming forward to give their best to the country. Some of the fundamental duties enshrined in Article 51A have been incorporated into separate laws.
NEED FOR FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES:
Our Constitution has given us different privileges in exchange for which we must do certain duties. Article 51(A) discusses these Fundamental Duties and lists 11 responsibilities that citizens are obliged to do. One may easily comprehend the need for the fundamental duty in our constitution based on these 11 essential duties. It is necessary to safeguard our country’s sovereignty. Our nation’s unity and integrity must be preserved. Rights and duties are inextricably linked and cannot be separated at any cost. Fundamental duties and fundamental rights are two sides of a coin that cannot be separated, as we all know.
SOURCE OF FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES:
SWARAN SINGH COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS:
In 1976, the Congress Party set up the Sardar Swaran Singh Committee to make recommendations about fundamental duties, the need, and necessity of which were felt during the operation of the internal emergency (1975–1977). The committee recommended the inclusion of a separate chapter on fundamental duties in the Constitution. It stressed that the citizens should become conscious that in addition to the enjoyment of rights, they also have certain duties to perform as well. The Congress Government at the Centre accepted these recommendations and enacted the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act in 1976. This amendment added a new part, namely, Part IVA to the Constitution. This new part consists of only one Article, that is, Article 51A which for the first time specified a code of ten fundamental duties of the citizens.
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.
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, the National Flag and the National Anthem;
(b) to cherish and follow the noble ideals that inspired the 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 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 violence;
(j) to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavor and achievement; and
(k) to provide opportunities for education to his child or ward between the age of six and fourteen years. This duty was added by the 86th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2002.
IMPORTANCE OF FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES IN INDIA:
- They serve as a reminder to citizens that while exercising their rights, they must also be aware of their responsibilities to their country, society, and fellow citizens.
- They serve as a deterrent to anti-national and anti-social behaviors such as flag burning, destruction of public property, and so on.
- They serve as a source of inspiration for citizens, encouraging them to be disciplined and committed. They give the impression that citizens are not only spectators but active players in the achievement of national objectives.
- They help the courts inspect and decide a regulation’s established legitimacy. In 1992, the Supreme Court decided that in deciding the definability of any regulation, assuming a court finds that the law being referred to tries to give impact to a crucial obligation, it might consider such regulation to be ‘sensible’ corresponding to Article 14 (balance under the steady gaze of regulation) or Article 19 (six opportunities) and subsequently save such regulation from unlawfulness.
- They are enforceable by regulation. Subsequently, the Parliament can accommodate the inconvenience of proper punishments or discipline for the inability to satisfy any of them.
- The significance of central obligations is that they characterize the ethical commitments of all residents to help in the advancement of the soul of enthusiasm and to maintain the solidarity of India.
VERMA COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS:
The Verma Committee on Citizens’ Fundamental Duties (1999) discovered that certain of the Fundamental Duties have legislative mechanisms for their fulfillment. The following are some of them:
1. The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act (1971) protects the Indian Constitution, the National Flag, and the National Anthem from being disrespected.
2. The many criminal laws in effect include penalties for inciting hatred amongst different groups of people based on language, race, place of birth, religion, and other factors.
3. The Protection of Civil Rights Act 4 (1955) establishes penalties for crimes involving caste and religion.
4. Imputations and declarations that are harmful to national cohesion are illegal under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
5. The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of 1967 allows a communal organization to be declared an unlawful association.
6. The Representation of People Act (1951) allows members of Parliament or state legislatures to be disqualified for engaging in corrupt practices, such as soliciting votes based on religion or promoting enmity between different groups of people based on caste, race, language, religion, or other factors.
7. Trade-in rare and endangered animals is prohibited under the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972.
8. The Forest (Conservation) Act of 1980 prohibits indiscriminate deforestation and forest area diversion for non-forest activities.
JUDICIAL DYNAMICS: –
- M.C. MEHTA (2) V. UNION OF INDIA (1983) 1 SCC 471: –
The Supreme Court has held that under art.51-A(g) the central government must introduce compulsory teaching of lessons at least one hour a week on the protection and improvement of the natural environment in all the educational institutions of the country. It directed the central government to get textbooks written on that subject and distribute them to the educational institute free of cost. To arouse amongst the people, the consciousness of cleanliness of the environment, it suggested the desirability of organizing – keep the city clean week, keeps the town clean, keeps the village clean week in every city, town, and village throughout India at least once in a year.
- AIIMS STUDENT UNION V. AIIMS AIR 2001 SC 3262: –
In this case importance of fundamental duties enshrined in art 51A has been shown while striking down the institutional reservation of 33% in AIIMS coupled with 50% reservation disciplinaries as violative of art.14 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court said that they are equally important like fundamental rights. Tough fundamental duties are not made enforceable like fundamental rights but they cannot overlook as “duties” in Part IV are prefixed by the same word “fundamental” which was prefixed by the founding fathers of the constitution to “right” in Part III. Every citizen of India is fundamentally obliged to develop a scientific temper and humanism. Though art. 51A does not cast any fundamental duty on the state. The fact remains that the duty of every citizen is the collective duty of the state. Any reservation apart from being substantive on the constitutional anvil must also be reasonable to be permissible. In assessing the reasonability one of the factors to be taken into consideration would be whether the character and quantum of reservation would stall or accelerate in achieving the ultimate goal of excellence enabling the nation constantly rise to a higher level. It was also held that fundamental duties though not enforceable by a writ of the court, provide a valuable guide and aid to the interpretation of constitutional and legal issues. In case of doubt or choice of people’s wish as manifested through art.51A can serve as a guide not only for resolving the issues but also for constructing or molding the relief to be given by courts.
3. ARUNA ROY V. UNION OF INDIA AIR 2002 SC 3176: –
In this case, the validity of the National Curriculum Framework for School Education was challenged on the ground that it was violative of art.28 of the constitution and anti-secular. It provides imparting of value development education relating to basics of all religions. The court held that the NCFSE does not mention imparting “religious instruction” as prohibited under art.28. what sought to be imparted is incorporated in art.51A(e) which provides “to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounces practices derogatory to the “dignity of woman”. And to see those universal values such as truth-related conduct, peace, love, and non-violence be the foundation of education. Accordingly, the court held that such education is neither violative of art. 28 of the constitution nor is against the concept of secularism.
4. GOVERNMENT OF INDIA V. GEORGE PHILIP AIR 2007 SC 705: –
In this case, the respondent has challenged his compulsory retirement from service. He was granted leave by the department to pursue advanced research training. He was granted leave by the department to pursue advanced research training. He was granted leave for two years. He overstayed in a foreign country despite repeated reminders to come and join his duty after the expiry of his leave. An inquiry was instituted against him and the charge of overstaying in a foreign country was proved. He was compulsorily retired from service. The tribunal and the high court granted him a remedy of joining his service without back wages. The Supreme court set aside the order of the high court. The Supreme court held that art.51A(j) imposed a duty on the citizen to strive towards excellence in all spheres and it cannot be achieved unless employees maintain discipline and devotion to duty. The courts should not pass orders that instead of achieving the underlying spirit and object of part IV A of the Constitution tends to negate or destroy the same. Overstay of leave and absence from duty by a government employee and granting him six months to join duty amount to not only giving him a premium to indiscipline but wholly subversive of work cultures in the organization.
5. Dr. Dasarathi Vs. State of Andhra Pradesh (AIR: 1985 AP 136): –
It was held that under Article 51A (j) of the Constitution, we all owe a duty to ourselves to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that this nation may constantly rise to higher levels of Endeavour and achievement. When the State undertakes to promote excellence, it can do so only through the methods which our Constitution permits to adopt. Rewarding sycophancy only helps to retard the growth of efficiency and excellence.
In conclusion, this article will give you a clear understanding of the necessity and importance of basic obligations by learning all aspects of basic obligations and reading all aspects. It was written in our Constitution when our government realized that civil society could not be created by the state alone. Citizens of our country have an important role to play in achieving the basic goals of our Constitution. They can do this by fulfilling their obligations to the country under Article 51A of our Constitution.
- SCC Online.
- M Laxmikanth- “Indian polity”
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