Fundamental Duties (Article 51A)

The fundamental duties act as a reminder to the citizen of the country to continue their duty toward their countries and societies. Fundamental Duties of the Indian Constitution is the constitutional concept to balance fundamental rights. All citizens have some responsibility for their country. Originally Indian constitution did not mention explicitly the fundamental duties of citizens but its implicit provisions were always there. The provision of fundamental duties was inserted in the Indian Constitution by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act in 1976. Now the fundamental duties are incorporated in Part- 4A of the Indian Constitution with Article 51A.

Fundamental Duties of the Indian Constitution are a very important topic in the Indian polity section of the UPSC, State PCS and SSC exams.

Fundamental Duties of the Indian Constitution

Unlike fundamental rightsfundamental duties are non-justiciable in nature. The idea and expression of fundamental duties in the Indian Constitution were inspired by the Russian Constitution (erstwhile USSR). The government of India set up a committee under the leadership of Sardar Swaran Singh for examining the scenario of fundamental duties in India. In 1976, Swaran Singh Committee recommended some fundamental duties. Of these recommendations, only 10 duties were included as the fundamental duties in the Indian Constitution. Hence initially there were 10 fundamental duties. Later on, the eleventh fundamental duty was added by the 86th Constitutional Amendment Act in 2002. Now there are a total of 11 fundamental duties that are listed under Article 51A of the Indian Constitution.

11 Fundamental Duties of an Indian Citizen

The fundamental duties got constitutional status by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act in 1976. At present, the Indian Constitution provides 11 fundamental duties for Indian citizens to follow. The list of fundamental duties of the Indian Constitution is as follows.

  1. To abide by the Indian Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag ‘Tiranga’ and the National Anthem.
  2. To cherish and follow the noble ideals and values that inspired the national freedom struggle.
  3. To protect and uphold the sovereignty, unity, and integrity of the country.
  4. To defend the nation and render national services when called upon to do so.
  5. To promote the harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic, and regional or sectional diversities, and to renounce practices that are derogatory to the dignity of women.
  6. To preserve and value the country’s rich heritage with its composite culture.
  7. To protect and improve the natural environment including the forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife, and to have compassion for the living creatures.
  8. To develop the scientific temper, humanism, and the rational spirit of inquiry and reform.
  9. To safeguard the property in the public domain and to abjure violence.
  10. To strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that India constantly rises to higher levels of endeavor and achievement.
  11. To provide educational opportunities to his child or ward between the age of six and fourteen years.

The last and 11th fundamental duty was included by the 86th Constitutional Amendment Act in 2002. Interestingly, the same 86th Constitutional Amendment Act entitled the fundamental right to free and compulsory education for children of age 6 to 14 years.

For a successful democracy, both fundamental rights and fundamental duties must co-exist. The fundamental duties are considered the inalienable provision of fundamental rights. The essence of the fundamental duties of the Indian Constitution can be understood by the following points.

  1. These awaken and aware citizens of the country about their duty to their society, fellow citizens, and the country.
  2. These motivate Indian citizens & build a sense of discipline, dedication, and commitment among them.
  3. These warn Indian citizens against any anti-national and anti-social activities.
  4. These help the judicial institutions for examining and monitoring the constitutional validity of a law.

Supreme Court has already commented that the fundamental rights, fundamental duties, and directive principles of state policy should be viewed as an organic hole as these all contain the spirit of the Indian Constitution.

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