Fundamental Duties

In India, privilege has been given to every citizen to live with liberty. But these rights are enforceable only when another person has some act which he does want to do. Also, the citizens have the duty to protect the rights of another person living in society. Therefore, duty and rights go hand in hand with each other. When there is a breach of duty from one person, there is a breach of the right of another person.

Classification of Fundamental Duties

Duties are classified under the following categories –

  • Primary and Secondary Duties – A primary duty which is independent of any other duty and does not have to depend upon other duties. On the other hand, secondary duty which is also known as a remedial duty which depends on other duties.
  • Positive and Negative Duties – Duties which is prescribed by Law is Positive Duty and which is prohibited by the Law is called the Negative duty.
  • Absolute and Relative Duties – Austin has classified duties into absolute and relative. Relative duties are that duty which is related to some right and absolute rights are those which does not relate with any right. Austin also given classify absolute rights –
    • Self-regarding duties such as a duty not to commit suicide or not to consume drugs or liquor, etc.
    • Duties towards society e.g., a duty not to commit a nuisance.
    • Duties towards other than human beings such as duty towards God or animals, birds, etc.
    • Duty towards the sovereign or the state.

The fundamental duties have been incorporated in the Constitution with the mere object to remind every citizen that while enforcing his fundamental rights, he must also be conscious of his fundamental duties. That, he cannot enforce his fundamental rights without adhering to the fundamental duties prescribed in Article 51A. Rights and duties are correlative. No right can exist without a co-relative duty. The right of one may be the duty of the other. It is fallacy to think that under our Constitution, there are only rights and no duties. These duties would help to strengthen our democracy. These provisions are made for dealing with anti-national activities, whether by individual or associations

Importance of Fundamental Duties

Indira Gandhi said: ‘The moral value of fundamental duties would be not to smoother rights but to establish a democratic balance by making the people conscious of their duties equally as they are conscious of their rights.

  1. 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.
  2. They serve as a warning against the anti- national and antisocial activities like burning the national flag, destroying public property and so on.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Features of the Fundamental Duties:

  • 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.
  • Unlike some of the Fundamental Rights which extend to all person 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.
Online Counselling
Table of Contents
Today's Current Affairs
This is default text for notification bar