Originally, the constitution of India did not contain any list of fundamental duties. In other words, enjoyment of fundamental rights was not conditional on the performance of fundamental duties.
- Democratic rights are based on the theory that rights are not created by the state. Individuals are born with the right. It is on this theory that the Indians before independence raised the slogan that “freedom is our birthright.” It is in this sense again that Prof. Laski asserts that the “state does not create rights, it only recognizes rights.”
- It was on this Soviet model that fundamental duties were added to the Indian Constitution by 42nd amendment of the constitution in 1976. The fundamental duties are contained in Art. 51A.
- The Fundamental Duties of Indian Citizen were added/ inserted only after 27 years.
- Originally the following 10 Fundamental Duties were given vide the 42nd Amendment to the Constitution of India, under Article 51 A, in the year 1976:-
It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to:-
- Abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem;
- Cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;
- Uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;
- Defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;
- Promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood among all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;
- Value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;
- Protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creatures;
- Develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;
- Safeguard public property and to abjure violence;
- Strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement;
In the year 2002 vide the 86th Amendment the following was added as the 11th Duty of the Indian Citizen:-
- Every Indian Parent or Guardian must ensure that their child or ward was provided opportunities for education between the ages of 6 and 14 years
Why are fundamental duties important?
We should all acknowledge our responsibility to perform our fundamental duties. The importance of fundamental duties are highlighted below:-
- The fundamental duties enumerated in Article 51A constitute a constant reminder to the citizens that they have duties in building up a free, egalitarian, healthy and responsible society. These are expected to act as a damper to reckless and anti-social activities on the part of some individuals.
- India is a multi-racial and multi-regional country. Such a vast democratic country like India can prosper only when the citizens of this country respect its integrity and promotes cultural harmony.
- Environmental pollution has become a great cause of concern, not only for Indian but for the entire humanity. Unless we all take the pledge to keep our environment free from pollutants, there remains the threat of undesirable consequences.
- The inclusion of providing opportunity for education for children as a Fundamental duty is a big step forward towards safeguard of human-rights and abolition of social injustices
Non-enforceable and Non-justiciable: The fundamental duties, however, are non-enforceable and non-justiciable in character. This means that no citizen can be punished by a court for violation of a fundamental duty. In this respect, the fundamental duties are like the directive principles of the constitution in part IV.
Conclusion: These fundamental duties are not mere expressions of pious platitudes. Courts will certainly take cognizance of laws seeking to give effect to fundamental duties.