Fundamental duties were added to the Indian constitution in 1976 by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act. Later, in 2002, one more fundamental duty was added. These duties form part of Part IVA of the Indian constitution under only one article, Article 51 A. The recommendations of the fundamental duties were done by Sardar Swaran Singh Committee. Later, the Verma Committee on fundamental duties of the citizens (1999) looked into legal provisions for implementing the fundamental duties of the citizens.
Following are the Fundamental Duties listed under Article 51 A of the Indian Constitution:
- To abide by the Constitution and respect its ideal and institutions;
- 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;
- 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 diversities, to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;
- To value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;
- 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; and
- To provide opportunities for education to his child or ward between the age of six and fourteen years. This duty was added to the Indian Constitution by the 86th Amendment of the Constitution in 2002.
Features of the Fundamental Duties
- Some of the duties are moral, while others are civic duties.
- The duties are added in such a way so as to fit in the Indian way of life.
- Fundamental Duties are confined to citizens only and do not extend to foreigners.
- Fundamental Duties are non-justiciable. Parliament is free to enforce them by suitable legislation, but they cannot be directly enforced by the courts.
Significance of Fundamental Duties
- Fundamental Duties serve as a reminder to the citizens that while enjoying their rights, they should also be aware of the duties they owe to their country, society and citizens.
- They serve as a warning against anti-national and antisocial activities like burning the national flag, destroying public property etc.
- They act as a source of inspiration to its citizens and promote discipline among them.
- They can be enforced by law. Parliament can provide for a penalty in case of failure to fulfil any of them.
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