There are many parts of our constitution now, that weren’t originally there. For example:- Right to Education, Right to Information, 11th and 12th schedule and so on. These came into being because the implications of their absence were deeply felt, due to which people took effort to include them in Constitution. Fundamental Duties falls in the same category. It was included in Constitution as the result of Sardar Swaran Singh Committee’s (1976) recommendations through 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act. 1976. Through this amendment ten Fundamental Duties were provided, which was later increased to eleven after 86th Constitutional Amendment Act. 2002.
Other than Japan none of the major democracies in the world has Fundamental Duties. France has a passing reference only. Here are the eleven Fundamental Duties for citizen:
- To abide by and respect the Constitution, the National Flag and the National Anthem.
- To cherish and follow the noble ideals of the freedom struggle.
- To uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India.
- To defend the country and reader national service when required.
- To promote common brotherhood and establish dignity of women.
- To preserve the rich heritage of the nation’s composite culture.
- To protect and improve natural environment.
- To develop scientific temper, humanism and spirit of inquiry.
- To safeguard public property and abjure violence.
- To strive for excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity.
- It shall be duty of every citizen of India who is a parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child or as the case may be, ward, between the age of 6 and 14 years (Added by 86th Amendment 2002).
The Fundamental Duties like Directive Principles of State Policy are non justiceable, meaning, the court cannot be approached for their enforcement or violation. The parliament however, by law can provide for their enforcement. Fundamental Duties are significant because it’s Observance instills sense of discipline, fraternity and national unity amongst citizens.
Rights and duties are correlative. These serve as constant reminder to every citizen that while Constitution specifically confers on them certain Fundamental Rights, it also requires them to observe certain basic norms of democratic conduct and behaviors. The critics have described Fundamental Duties as a code of moral precepts due to their non-justiceable character. Interestingly, the Swaran Singh Committee had suggested for penalty or punishment for the non-performance of Fundamental Duties. They also tell that the list of duties is not exhaustive as it does not cover other important duties like casting votes, paying taxes, family planning and so on. In fact, duty to pay taxes was recommended by the Swaran Singh Committee. The critics said that the inclusion of Fundamental Duties as an appendage to Part IV A of the Constitution has reduced their value and significance. They should have been added after Part III so as to keep them on par with Fundamental Rights. It’s apparent that not all of the recommendations of the Committee were included.