Every citizen of India has to follow a set of rules and has to abide by the laws of the country in order to maintain the law and order of the state and to maintain the spirit of the constitution. As it is the responsibility of the Government towards the citizen to give every citizen their Fundamental rights, the same there are Fundamental duties which are the duties of every citizen to maintain the balance in the functioning of the Nation democratically.
The fundamental duties were adopted from the Constitution of Russia with the 42nd amendment in 1976 which are enshrined as Article 51A in the Indian Constitution upon the recommendation of the Swaran Singh Committee. Originally there were 10 fundamental duties but by 86th Amendment in 2002, the total fundamental duties were increased to 11.
The fundamental duties are the spirit of the constitution which ensure that every citizen takes active participation in the governance of the state.
The Fundamental duties in 51A—It shall be the duty of every citizen of India[i]—
(a) To abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem– It means that every citizen should respect the national flag and national anthem.
(b) To cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom– It is the duty of a citizen of India to respect the sacrifice of our freedom fighters who lead to the freedom of India.
(c) To uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity, and integrity of India– It is the duty of every citizen to maintain the spirit of the constitution.
(d) To defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so– It means case of war it is the duty of citizens to render their service whenever it is necessary.
(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– It is the duty of the citizens to maintain brotherhood irrespective of different religions believe, languages or sects of the society and abolish those activities which affects a woman dignity.
(f) To value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture–It is the duty of every citizen of India to protect the heritage and historical sites and maintain integrity towards the culture.
(g) To protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creatures–It is the duty of the citizen to work towards conserving the natural resources and develop a sense of gratitude towards the living creatures.
(h) To develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform–It means that it is the duty of the citizen to work towards development in the field of science and get evolved with the changing era.
(i) To safeguard public property and to abjure violence– It is the duty of the citizens to not violate the public property which is given for public enjoyment.
(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– An individual has a duty towards the Nation to ensure the development of the nation by his/her contribution.
(k) 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–It is the duty of every parent or guardian to ensure that their children are given the opportunity of being educated.
The main objective behind fundamental duty is to ensure that those who are anti-national can be identified and action can be taken against them as these duties ensure the peace and harmony of the state and those who are trying to go against the laws of the country. These duties are given to every citizen to respect the integrity and spirit of the constitution.
For the success of the nation’s governance, there is a need for active participation of the citizens by following the guidelines given under Article 51A to avail of their fundamental rights. As citizen we are supporting the government for maintaining peace, harmony and law and order by simply following the duties, for instance, there is right to education which is given to every citizen under Article 21A of fundamental rights but it is the fundamental duty of every parent of child to provide their child with the opportunity to be educated.
In present scenario, every citizen of India is aware of their rights, laws and consequences of any criminal act and what actions they can take in court of law for violation of their rights, but very few accept their duty towards their nation, for instance, when an individual is not given the right to practice their religion or beliefs they know about the action they can take to avail justice. But it is also the duty of every citizen to accept different ideologies for maintaining the incredibility of India.
When an individual starts acknowledging their duties then the violation of rights will also not take place. There are few duties which go hand in hand with the rights of the citizen, for instance, it is the duty of every citizen to maintain the dignity of woman and when everyone starts following it then the crime rate against the woman will also decrease.
However, state takes an active participation in spreading awareness towards their rights and the ways they can avail it, but there is no active participation for spreading awareness towards their duties and there are so many instances where the State government or Central government is blamed for not maintaining the law and order properly but as a citizen, we never talk about the duties which we have towards maintaining law and order.
Fundamental duties bring sensitivity among the citizen for acknowledging their responsibility and become responsible for their actions. Although fundamental duties cannot be enforced it is the moral duty of the citizens to follow it which means it is obligatory in nature but even the court cannot punish for violating the duties[ii]. In AIIMS Students Union v. AIIMS and Ors. (2002) 1 SCC 428[iii], a three-Judge Bench said that though fundamental duties not enforceable by writ of the court, yet provide valuable guidance and aid to interpretation and resolution of constitutional and legal issues.
Fundamental duties are given to us as a responsibility towards the government and government is also responsible for providing us with certain rights. A state cannot function until unless both citizens for whom government works understand its duty and the government should also not violate their duty. For instance, every citizen has a right to vote although there is no punishment for not voting during the time of the election, it is the duty of every citizen to cast their vote and it is also the duty of the state to ensure the free and fair voting.
All the fundamental duties which are provided to us as citizen of India must be followed from paying homage to the National flag and National anthem to protection of the sovereignty, unity, and integrity of India to providing education to their children, from conserving the biodiversity to maintaining historical sites so that the peace in the Nation prevails. With rights, duties too come and also as a citizen of India we need to be aware of our duties as we are aware of our rights.
Edited by Pushpamrita Roy
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje