The Fundamental Duties are a novel and an important part of the Indian Constitution in recent times. The Constitution was formed on the 26th of November in 1949 by the Constituent Assembly and came into force on the 26th of January 1950.
Democratic rights are based on the theory that rights are not created by the state, individuals are born with right. It is on this theory that the Indians before independence raised the slogan that “freedom is our birth right.”
Originally, the Constitution of India did not contain these duties. The Forty Second Constitution Amendment Act, 1976 has incorporated ten Fundamental Duties in Article 51(A) of the constitution of India. The Eighty-Six Constitution Amendment Act, 2002 has added one more Fundamental Duty in Article 51(A) of the constitution of India. As a result, there are now 11 Fundamental Duties of the citizen of India.
The following are the Eleven Fundamental Duties of every citizen of India:
- To abide by the Constitution and respect the National Flag and the National Anthem;
- 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 people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities and 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 wild life 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.”
- to provide opportunities for education by the parent the guardian, to his child, or a ward between the age of 6-14 years as the case may be.
An analysis of the above duties reveals that they are applicable only to citizens and not to the aliens. It is expected that a citizen of India, while enjoying fundamental rights, should also perform these duties. Although there is no provision in the constitution for direct enforcement of any of these duties, yet the courts are guided by these duties while interpreting various laws. These duties have Sanctity as these are included in the Directive Principles of State policy.
In a vast and multi-cultural country like India, it is a reminder to citizens that the rights cannot exist without duties.