Most people are aware of the Fundamental Rights that the Constitution of India provides to the citizens of India. However, not many have a clear idea about the Fundamental Duties we have towards the nation. As John F. Kennedy says, “Do not ask what the country can do for you but ask yourself what you can do for the country”, so one must be aware of his rights and fulfil his duties towards the nation with due diligence.
The Fundamental Duties, added to the constitution by the 42nd Amendment in 1976 on the recommendation of the Swaran Singh Committee, are contained in Article 51A under Chapter IVA of the Indian Constitution. Initially, there were ten duties, but the 11th duty was added by the 86th Amendment in 2002.
The 11 Fundamental Duties are:
To respect the Constitution, its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and National Anthem.
It is the duty of every citizen to respect and adopt the ideals like liberty, equality and most importantly, the democratic values of the constitution. The spirit of the constitution must always be upheld. The Legislative, executive and judiciary must be respected. No citizen should act in a way that maligns The National Flag or The National Anthem.
One should cherish the noble ideas that inspire the national struggle to gain independence.
Our country had a long struggle for freedom. So we must respect the various ideals that inspired the people to start the fight for freedom, peace, equality and adopted principles like truth, nonviolence, and brotherhood. We should always try to uphold these noble ideals and principles even in our lives.
One should protect and uphold the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India.
It is essential to maintain the sovereignty of a country for its functioning and development. Unity helps build the strength of the nation and protects it from internal and external disturbances. While the state must maintain the nation’s integrity, the responsibility also lies among the people to use their rights in such a manner that upholds the nation’s integrity.
One should respect the country and render national service when called upon
The citizens must consider it the duty to respect the country, its culture, ideals and laws. The soldiers in the borders, doctors, farmers, scientists, teachers, and other professionals contribute to nation-building. Apart from this, the country’s citizens must be ready to serve the motherland in extraordinary times.
One should promote harmony as well as the spirit of common brotherhood amongst the citizens of India, transcending religious, linguistic, regional or sectional diversities and renouncing practices that are derogatory to the dignity of the women
India is a diverse land where people of different religions, race, language and sections live together. To maintain peace and harmony, there must be a feeling of common brotherhood among all the people. India is referred to as our motherland; females are worshipped as forms of the divine feminine; hence it is the duty of all the people to respect women and maintain their dignity.
One should value and preserve the heritage of our composite culture
India’s rich culture and heritage, age-old traditions, monuments and glorious history make it a unique nation. So it is one of the most fundamental duties of Indian citizens to value, protect and preserve their culture and heritage.
One should protect and improve the natural environment, including forests, lakes, rivers, wildlife, and a citizen should have compassion for living creatures
Nature is the first home to humans; it protects us and provides all the resources necessary for our survival. Natural resources are essential for the nation’s security and development. Hence protecting, preserving and improving the natural environment must be one of the primary duties of citizens.
One should develop not only the scientific temperament and humanism but also the spirit of inquiry and reform
Scientific temperament is essential to find solutions to new problems and develop a nation and understand any issue- social, political or scientific, exploring its scopes and finding reforms play an equally important role.
One should always safeguard public property and abjure violence
Public property belongs to all the citizens of the country and is essential for a country’s image. Practising violence and damaging public property affects the country’s image and causes an economic burden on the government, so it is the fundamental duty of the Indian citizens to protect them from any violence.
One should always strive towards excellence in all spheres of life and also for the collective activity so that the nation continues with its endeavour and achievements
Its people build a nation; hence the development of people in various spheres of life contributes to the betterment of the nation in general. The nation and the people are synonymous with each other.
One should always provide the opportunity of education to his child or ward between the age of six to fourteen years
This duty was added by the 86th Amendment for the welfare of the children and prevented their various forms of child labour and abuse. This aims to provide an opportunity to the children for their betterment.
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Enforceability of Fundamental Duties of Indian Citizens
Fundamental duties of Indian citizens, unlike fundamental rights, are not enforceable in the courts of law by filing Writ Petitions. It is non-justiciable, and no sanction lies for violation of such duties. However, penalties can be imposed by parliament for non-compliance with such obligations. They are a set of codified guidelines about how a citizen must behave. Though not enforceable, courts in various cases have held that they must be taken into account while testing the validity of any statute, act or provision. In the Kesavananda Bharati case, the court held that fundamental duties have to be considered along with fundamental rights for the state’s overall welfare.
The Fundamental Duties play an essential role in guiding the behaviour of the citizens of a country. They act as a constant reminder that rights and duties are complementary to each other. These duties are sometimes criticized because they do not stipulate a clear objective or provisions, and the terms used are very vague, which can be considered in a vast scope. This poses problems in its interpretation. Many people who are not politically conscious do not even know what their fundamental duties are. There should be more awareness among the people so that people understand its importance and fulfil them.