Fundamental duties were added to our constitution by the 42nd constitutional amendment, 1976 on the recommendation of the Swaran Singh Committee. Initially, there were only ten duties but due to the passage of time it was felt that parents have the moral duty to give education to their children from the age of six to fourteen, so an eleventh duty was added in 2002 through 86th constitutional amendment.

Our forefathers or constitutional framers did not include Fundamental Duties in the original constitution. The need for these duties was present all the time but finally it was culminated when erstwhile Prime Minister of India Mrs Indira Gandhi felt the need for the same. She said that “the moral value of fundamental duties would be not to smoother rights but to establish a democratic balance by making the people conscious of their duties equally as they are conscious of their rights.” And finally, through 42nd constitutional amendment, 1976, fundamental duties were incorporated under newly created Part IV-A of the Indian Constitution.

Rights and duties are corelated. They are inseparable and are two sides of the same coin. One while asserting his rights, cannot give up their duties. The Supreme Court, in the case of Chandra Bhavan Boarding and Lodging v. State of Mysore, [(1969) 3 SCC 84] held that “It is a fallacy to think that our Constitution there are only rights and no duties. … The provisions of Part IV enable the legislatures and the Government to impose various duties on the citizens. … The mandate of [our] Constitution is to build a welfare society in which justice social, economic and political shall inform all institutions of our national life.”

They are non–justifiable and non-enforceable in nature which means breach of these duties do not follow any legal sanctions. From this point of view, they are at par with Directive Principle of the State Policy (DPSPs). DPSPs are also non-justiciable in nature. DPSPs on the one hand are obligation of State towards the citizens of India and fundamental duties on the other hand are the obligation of citizens.

 

List of Fundamental Duties

  1. To abide by the constitution and respect its ideal and institutions;
  2. To cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;
  3. To uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;
  4. To defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;
  5. To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional diversities, to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;
  6. To value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;
  7. To protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, and wild-life and to have compassion for living creatures;
  8. To develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;
  9. To safeguard public property and to abjure violence;
  10. 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.
  11. Who is a parent or guardian, to provide opportunities for education to his child, or, ward between the age of six and fourteen years.

Enforcement of duties

Fundamental duties under chapter IVA can be enforced if the parliament, by law, provides for penalties and fines for failure to perform the duties and obligation. But the main impediment is the illiteracy rate in India which needs to be improved. People in the country are not aware about their rights and obligations which is one of the main reasons why the parliament is not reluctant to make the duties enforceable. Systematic and intensive education must be given to the citizens and should be made a part of the curriculum in the schools and colleges.

In MC Mehta v. Union of India [(1983) 1 SCC 471.], the Supreme Court held that under Article 51-A (g) it is the duty of the government to introduce compulsory teaching of at least one hour per week on protection of environmental and natural species. To arouse cleanliness amongst the people, it is very much necessary to include the teaching of fundamental duties in the curriculum.

In AIIMS Students Union v. AIIMS [AIR 2002 SC 3262], the court said that though the fundamental duties are not enforceable like fundamental rights, but they cannot be overlooked as “duties” in Part IV-A is prefixed by the same “right” in Part III of the Indian constitution. The Court further said that though fundamental duties do not cast any duty on the State, it is the collective duty of every citizen along with State to oblige by it. Fundamental duties, though, not enforceable in court through writ petition, always provide a valuable guide and aid to interpretation of constitutional and legal issues.

In State of Gujarat v. Mirazpur Moti Kureshi Kassab Jamat [AIR 2006 SC 212], the state prohibited the slaughter of cows and because of which petitioners were arguing that it violates their right to carry on free trade under Article 19(1)(g) of the Indian constitution. The Supreme Court held that the State has the right to impose reasonable restriction on their business in the interest of the public. The Court further said that the restriction further promotes the objectives of the Article 48 and 51-A of the Indian constitution.

Conclusion

Fundamental duties, though, unenforceable in the court cast a duty upon the individual and State to perform their obligation. They are as much fundamental as fundamental rights. And one, while remembering his right cannot forget his duties. But the foremost thing that government should undertake is to educate masses because without which people will not get aware and will not understand their rights and responsibilities towards the country. So, it is imperative to prepare a comprehensive plan for creating awareness in the society about the fundamental duties.