top of page

Fundamental Duties in India

Ancient Traditions


The Indian civilisation's entire sociopolitical affairs have been based on the performance of duties. One of the distinctive features of our tradition is that it places a greater emphasis on duties than rights. People and their lives were based on noble conduct in ancient times where the four Vedas protected steadfast adherents to the prescribed division of duties and stages of life. It was thought that doing one's own duty would lead us to heaven and bestow one with infinite blessings.


The Vedas, including the Rigveda, Samveda, Yajurveda, and Atharva Veda, as well as other religious texts, specify the duties of the four Varnas and four stages of life.


They assign responsibilities in the form of commands. Failure to carry out one's responsibilities was thought to be a 'sin' for which there was a 'punishment' in another world. Thus,' religious commands' were the driving force behind the performance of duties in ancient Indian jurisprudence, as opposed to 'legal commands' in today's world. Duties were carried out in the shadow of unknown power. There was a belief in birth and rebirth, and that one's reincarnation life would be determined by one's Karma from the previous life.


Background


When the Constitution was first written, the authors of the document did not see fit to include those duties in the Constitution's original text. This omission could have been due to a variety of factors.


  • First and foremost, Indian society is steeped in the Dharma concept. Every Indian citizen is expected to uphold certain obligations as fundamental values, even if there is no penalty for failing to do so.


  • Second, citizens' responsibilities are outlined in the preamble, which includes the aspirations of the people (the nation's goals) and the guarantees of the Constitution. As a result, it is implied that every citizen is obligated to do whatever is necessary to achieve these goals.


  • In addition, the Constitution's list of fundamental rights implies a set of responsibilities necessary to their realisation. Human beings must fulfil their obligations if they want to enjoy these rights.


Rights and Duties go hand in hand:


A right generally implies a corresponding duty. They are two sides of the same coin. It is for this reason that the two concepts – Right and Duty, are considered correlative-sand therefore, inextricable. The two concepts are so interwoven that they cannot be divorced from each other. Therefore, it is pertinent that every right must be complemented by a duty.

No democratic polity can ever succeed if citizens are only concerned with their rights and are unwilling to be active participants in the governance process by assuming responsibilities, carrying out duties, and stepping forward to give their best to the country.


The Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, while commenting on the performance of duties had once said that:







The Fundamental Duties are, however, not legally enforceable, i.e. without any legal sanction in case of their violation or non-compliance.


The 11 Fundamental Duties are:


The concept of Fundamental Duties, thereafter introduced in Part IVA of the Constitution of India by the 42​nd Amendment is an attempt to reiterate the fact that the citizens have some duties towards the State, the society and towards each other.


  • To abide by the constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem


  • To cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom


  • To uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India — is one of the preeminent national obligations of all the citizens of India.


  • To defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so


  • 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


  • To value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture — our cultural heritage is one of the noblest and richest, it is also part of the heritage of the Earth


  • To protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures


  • To develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform


  • To safeguard public property and to abjure violence


  • 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.


  • 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 one on children’s education that was added in 2002 by the 86th Amendment that provided for the Right to Free and Compulsory Education for children in the age group 6-14, with the insertion of Article 21A.


Conclusion


The inclusion of citizens' Fundamental Duties was intended to serve a practical purpose. In particular, a democratic polity cannot succeed unless citizens are willing to participate actively in the governance process by taking on responsibilities and fulfilling citizenship obligations. As a result, the most important task ahead of us is to reconcile the individual citizen's claims with those of the civic society.


To accomplish this, citizens must be made aware of their social and civic duties, and society must be shaped in such a way that we all show the utmost respect for our fellow citizens' inalienable rights.


It is just as important to be aware of our duties as it is to be aware of our rights. As a result, the Fundamental Duties serve as the bedrock of human dignity and national identity. Our Constitution's conscience is made up of those duties.


New Fundamental Duties should be added to Part IV of the Indian Constitution because the country's sociopolitical structure is evolving. Members of society now have new obligations to one another and to the country as a whole as a result of technological advancement and societal norm evolution.



Comments


bottom of page