Part: 4A – FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES
Article 51A – Fundamental duties
It shall be the duty of every citizen of India–
(a) to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem;
(b) to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;
(c) to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;
(d) to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;
(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;
(f) to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;
(g) to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures;
(h) to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;
(i) to safeguard public properly and to abjure violence;
(j) 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.
(k) who is a parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to hi s child or, as the case may be, ward between the age of six and fourteen years. [Inserted by Constitution 86th Amendment Act, 2002.]
The Fundamental Duties of citizens were added to the Constitution by the 42nd Amendment in 1976, upon the recommendations of the Swaran Singh Committee that was constituted by the Government of India earlier that year to study the question of amending the Constitution. The recommendations were passed in 1976 and came into effect on 3rd January, 1977. Originally ten in number, the Fundamental Duties were increased to eleven by the 86th Amendment in 2002.
Although these duties are non justifiable and non legally enforceable it is expected that every Indian citizen follows them diligently.
Some of them are moral duties while others are civic duties. For instance, cherishing noble ideals of freedom struggle is a moral precept and respecting the Constitution, National Flag and National Anthem is a civic duty.
They refer to such values which have been a part of the Indian tradition, mythology, religions and practices. In other words, they essentially contain just a codification of tasks integral to the Indian way of life.
Unlike some of the Fundamental Rights which extend to all persons whether citizens or foreigners, the Fundamental Duties are confined to citizens only and do not extend to foreigners.
Like the Directive Principles, the fundamental duties are also non-justiciable. The Constitution does not provide for their direct enforcement by the courts. Moreover, there is not legal sanction against their violation. However, the Parliament is free to enforce them by suitable legislation.
They serve as a reminder to the citizens that while enjoying their rights, they should also be conscious of duties they owe to their country, their society and to their fellow citizens.
They serve as a warning against the anti-national and antisocial activities like burning the national flag, destroying public property and so on.
They serve as a source of inspiration for the citizens and promote a sense of discipline and commitment among them. They create a feeling that the citizens are not mere spectators but active participants in the realisation of national goals.
They help the courts in examining and determining the constitutional validity of a law. In 1992, the Supreme Court ruled that in determining the constitutionality of any law, if a court finds that the law in question seeks to give effect to a fundamental duty, it may consider such law to be ‘reasonable’ in relation to Article 14 (equality before law) or Article 19 (six freedoms) and thus save such law from unconstitutionality.
They are enforceable by law. Hence, the Parliament can provide for the imposition of appropriate penalty or punishment for failure to fulfil any of them.