August 01, 2017

Article 51 A of the constitution specifies a code of ten Fundamental Duties for citizens. It was added to the constitution by the 42nd Amendment act, 1976. Article 51 states that, it is the duty of every citizen of India

a.    To bide by constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and National Anthem;
b.    To cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;
c.    To uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;
d.    To defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;
e.    To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;
f.     To value and preserve the right heritage of our composite culture;
g.    To protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creature;
h.    To develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;
i.     To safeguard public property and abjure violence;
j.     To strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavor and achievements

The Fundamental Duties are intended to serve as a constant reminder to every citizen that while the Constitution specifically conferred on them certain Fundamental rights, it also requires citizens to observe certain basic norms of democratic conduct and democratic behavior. However there are contentions that this view is wrong. The performance of one’s duties even in partial disregard of one’s rights and privileges has been traditional in this country.

The duties incorporated in the Constitution by the 42nd amendment are statutory duties and shall be enforceable by law. Parliament, by law, will provide penalties to be imposed for failure to fulfill those duties and obligations. For the proper enforcement of duties, it is necessary that it should be known to all. This should be done by a systematic and intensive education of the people that is by publicity or by making it a part if the syllabi and curriculum of education.

In M.C. Mehta v. Union of India, the Supreme Court has held that it is the duty of the central government to teach compulsory lessons at least for 1 hour a week on protection and improvement of natural environment in all the educational institutions in the country.


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