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Fundamental Duties of the Citizen

Context:

The Supreme Court has allowed the Centre’s request for two months’ time to file a reply to a petition seeking the enforcement of fundamental duties of citizens, including patriotism and unity of nation, through “comprehensive, and well-defined laws”.

Relevance:

GS II- Polity (Indian Constitution)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Details
  2. How were the fundamental duties incorporated in the Constitution?
  3. What are the fundamental duties of the citizen?
Details:
  • The need to enforce fundamental duties arises due to new illegal trend of protest by protesters in the garb of freedom of speech and expression.
  • Vandalism, blocking of road and rail routes in order to compel the government to meet their demands is a sheer violation of the FDs which are generally not enforceable.

How were the fundamental duties incorporated in the Constitution?

  • The fundamental duties were incorporated in Part IV-A of the Constitution by The Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act, 1976, during Indira Gandhi’s Emergency.
  • Article 51(A) describes 11 fundamental duties — 10 came with the 42nd Amendment; the 11th was added by the 86th Amendment in 2002, when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was Prime Minister.
  • These duties are not enforceable by law.
    • However, a court may take them into account while adjudicating on a matter.
  • They were made a part of the Constitution to emphasise the obligation of the citizen in return for the fundamental rights that he or she enjoys.

What are the fundamental duties of the citizen?

Article 51(A) says it shall be the duty of every citizen of India:

  • to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, 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 the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; 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;
  • 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 six and fourteen years.

The last subsection, (k), on the education of children, was added in 2002 by The Constitution (86th Amendment) Act. The same amendment also introduced Article 21A in the Constitution: “The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine.”

-Source: The Hindu


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