Relationship between rights and duties

What do you mean by Rights?

Legal Rights – These are the privileges that the people have under the law of the land.[1]

 “A right or an interest recognised and protected by a rule of right,” according to Salmond. It is a right, whose observance is a duty and whose violation is unlawful. In a society, rights are a necessary building block. It is something you do or refrain from doing to support the rights of another individual. The creation of rights establishes the dual concepts of anti-dehumanization and anti-hierarchy. India’s constitution, which has a chapter on fundamental rights, reflects this.

Rights as a bulwark against dehumanisation:- The founders of the Indian Constitution held the view that every person should have access to fundamental equality and dignity, which could not be taken away by the state when discussing Fundamental Rights. Indians were treated as subjects throughout the colonial era, which led to the necessity for fundamental rights in that country. For instance, certain people were treated as second-class citizens by the colonial government because they were classified as members of Criminal Tribes.

Rights as a stand against hierarchy: – Indian society has been divided along gender, caste, and religious lines. At their most basic level, fundamental rights guarantee that all citizens are safeguarded from the societal majority as well as the state. For instance, fundamental rights sought to change Indian society by, among other things, guaranteeing freedom from “untouchability,” forced labour, and unequal access to public areas.

What do you mean by Duties?

Legal Duty – It is said to as a duty that results from a legal requirement. These are the obligations that demand that we follow the law. There are various hypotheses put forth by various academics. We have a number of duties as citizens that we must carry out on a daily basis. Both the state and the people are owed these duties. Taxes must be paid, violence against fellow citizens is prohibited, and other rules passed by Parliament must be followed. If these legal requirements are broken, financial penalties (fines) or punitive actions like jail may be taken. The fundamental concept of duties is that harmonious cooperation requires some level of self-sacrifice, which must, if necessary, be imposed by a series of consequences.

Correlation between Rights and Duties

Austin’s and Salmond’s perspectives are the two most significant ones discussing whether or not rights and obligations are related. No right “may exist without any matching duty and vice versa,” according to Salmond. He held the opinion that every obligation that is fulfilled has a corresponding right linked to it.

Austin, on the other hand, asserts that there are two different kinds of duties: absolute duties and relative duties. In contrast to absolute responsibilities, which are independent and unrelated to any rights, relative duties have equivalent rights.

Austin claims that a number of obligations fall within the category of absolute obligations. duties to one’s self, duties to one’s sovereign, etc. These are specific obligations that must be met and do not relate in any way to rights. But Austin’s point of view has recently come under heavy strain. According to Salmond, duties to oneself become legal obligations and part of criminal law, while duties to a sovereign or state always correspond to the rights that are bestowed upon us by states.

And the most widely held belief on rights and obligations throughout time is that they must be related in some way. They are the two elements that make up modern civilization the most inescapably. As we can see, responsibility is a burden imposed by law that compels obedience for the benefit of society, but a right is a power or privilege bestowed by law that people enjoy. Additionally, for a right to be adequately enjoyed, it must be taken into account and respected by others. Therefore, in this sense, we can say that the exercise of a right by one person imposes a responsibility on another to respect that right. They, therefore, operate in consequence. They function as the two halves of one coin. To further the welfare of society, the state grants certain rights to each and every one of its citizens, and it is the responsibility of the state to defend these rights. Additionally, while the government upholds rights, it is the responsibility of the people to respect the government and not obstruct its operations. It becomes everyone’s responsibility to give the state whatever they have.

Correlation between Rights and Duties by Prof. Laski

My rights imply your dutyPeople are granted rights, and these rights include commensurate obligations from others. For instance, if I have the right to life, everyone else has a responsibility to preserve it. Another illustration is that everyone has a responsibility to respect my right to live in a safe and clean environment.

My right implies that I have a duty to acknowledge the same right in others- just as they have a responsibility to uphold and defend my own rights. Since other people have the same rights that I do, I owe it to them to do the same for me.

The method I exercise my rights should be such that it does not contravene social norms and laws. Rights should be exercised to further the greater good. As a result, everyone has a responsibility to the entire society. For instance, I cannot foment racial hatred using my freedom to profess religion.

The state has guaranteed us rights, so we have a duty towards the state tooSince the state is the institution that has granted each person their rights, it is ultimately the responsibility of each person to safeguard and uphold the interests of the state. We can thus state with certainty that both rights and duties always go hand in hand and that it is impossible to live in a society where they cannot coexist based on the study we have conducted throughout this essay. Thus, the relationship between rights and obligations is crucial for every society’s overall development.

What is the relation between rights and duties?

The relationship between rights and obligations is immutable. Rights and responsibilities are mutually exclusive. Both are effective together. They represent the two sides of the same coin. When a citizen is granted the right to life, the state also places on him the duty to respect the lives of others and not put his own life in jeopardy. Since I have the right to work and make money, it is also my duty to respect other people’s rights.[2]

The rights of a citizen entail duties on his part. Individual liberties are not the property of one person. These are distributed equally to everyone. This means that “others have the same rights that I do, and it is up to me to make sure that they also exercise those rights.” Laski was right when he said that a man’s right is also his obligation.

One’s rights are also others’ duties. One can only have rights in the world of obligations. Every privilege carries a corresponding duty. All of a person’s rights are rendered useless if they don’t fulfil their obligations properly. “I can only use my rights if other people also let me use them.”

State-related responsibilities: All citizens are required to be devoted to the state since it upholds and defends rights. They are accountable for adhering to local laws and paying taxes on time. The state should always be protected by the public. A citizen, therefore, has both rights and obligations. He observes his obligations and has rights. Rights and obligations are two sides of the same coin.

Rights must be used for the greater good: The source of rights involves society. We must therefore constantly work to advance public interest while exercising our rights. Each of us has a duty to exercise our rights in a way that advances the welfare of society as a whole. It is crucial to keep in mind Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s remarks from the Constituent Assembly, which said that the person continues to be the fundamental building block of the Constitution. The responsibilities of those in positions of leadership should be included in the discussion and interpretation of the word “duties.” Other people in authority positions shouldn’t abuse their power to take advantage of the people they are in charge of. Only after ensuring that everyone has the full measure of humanity, dignity, equality, and freedom guaranteed by the Constitution can we ask them to do their duties. Only after guaranteeing humanity, dignity, equality, and freedom for all, as promised by the Constitution, should citizens be required to “follow the duties.”

Humans are only right holders, and states have obligations to protect them from being violated, infringed upon, or deprived of their rights by other states or individuals. This obligation is stated in several domestic and international laws. By putting in place various safeguards, such as laws, the police, courts, etc., protection is achieved. The second obligation is to advocate for rights, which mostly entails attempting to educate the public and running campaigns against rights violations. Third, the state has a responsibility to treat people fairly, respect their inherent worth and dignity, and as a result, not interfere with or limit their legally recognised rights. The provision of pricing and marketing infrastructure for people with endowments such as labour and produce from their land to exchange them for value so that they may obtain the substance of rights such as health and education, among others, is an example of the duty to provide. This duty is also referred to as the duty to aid.

The universal declaration of human rights preamble indicates that each person’s duty-fulfilment is a requirement for the rights of all. In every human social and political activity, rights and obligations are interconnected. Duties convey the dignity of individual liberty while rights elevate it. A Declaration of Rights is also a Declaration of Duties via reciprocity. Any rights a person has as a man are also the rights of others, so it is the person’s responsibility to uphold their rights in addition to those they already have.[3] Article 29(1) offers a general statement of principle addressing the function of individual duties in international human rights, even while it does not specify the duties owed by individuals to the state or community: Everyone has obligations to the community because it is the only setting in which one can develop fully and freely.[4]

The national governments are expected to provide citizens with enough shelter, food, education, and other necessities. However, most countries, particularly those in the third world, fall short of meeting these obligations, and the majority of human rights are not upheld. According to Eva Brems, those who have rights-restrictive duties are the same as those who have human rights, i.e., persons first and foremost as well as corporate entities and occasionally groups. All human rights holders benefit from equivalent obligations, and the UDHR lays a particular emphasis on defending individuals because it was implemented in the wake of World War II[5].

[1] Webster’s New World Dictionary (1966, p. 452)

[2] R. B.Brandt(1964),  “The Concepts of Obligation  and  Duty” pg 381

[3] Paine, The Rights of Man(1791), p98

[4] Universal Declaration Of Human Rights

[5] Eva Brems human rights: universality and diversity pg 425

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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In the year 2021, we wrote about 1000 Inspirational Women In India, in the year 2022, we would be featuring 5000 Start Up Stories

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