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Author: Khushi Sehgal, III year of B.B.A.,LL.B.(Hons.) from Bennett University, Greater Noida


The Fundamental Duties are defined as every citizen’s moral responsibility to contribute to the promotion of patriotism and the preservation of India's unity. Individuals and the nation are both affected by the duties outlined in Part IV–A of the Constitution of India.[1] This paper will highlight the constitutional role of the citizens of the country to bring Sovereignty, Integrity and Unity in the country. Fundamental Duties are the form of moral obligations for the citizens of the country which will help to encourage loyalty and unity among the country.[2]As we all know, where there is a right, there is an underlying responsibility, and hence rights and responsibilities are correlative. The fundamental responsibilities nudge every citizen of the country to recognise that when the Constitution specifically grants them certain fundamental rights, it also requires them to follow certain rudimentary democratic behaviour standards.[3]

Thus, under Article 51 – A of the Constitution of India, there are 11 fundamental duties which are prescribed by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1976. These includes:

(1) Abide by the Constitution and respect National Flag and National Anthem;

(2) Follow ideals of the freedom struggle;

(3) Protect sovereignty and integrity of India;

(4) Defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so; etc.

This paper will deal with all these duties of the citizens of the country. Further, there are various landmark case laws which includes the Supreme Court case of Shyam Narayan Chauksey v. Union of India; AIIMS Student Union v. AIIMS; MC Mehta v. Union of India and many others which are mentioned below.

So, as Indian citizens, everyone have certain rights and are obligated to fulfil certain obligations. It is our job as responsible citizens to follow these laws and fulfil our responsibilities. Furthermore, knowing our core responsibilities is critical in upholding India's sovereignty, unity, and integrity.[4]

In short, Fundamental Duties are moral obligations which must be followed by each and every citizen of the country and this paper will critically examine all the fundamental duties and their relationship with Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles of State Policies along with various amendments, committees and case laws.


Fundamental Duties are the moral obligations that all citizens of a country have to follow. It is defined under Article 51 – A in Part IV – A of the Constitution of India. The Constitution provides 11 fundamental duties or responsibilities for the citizens of the country to foster patriotism and strengthen India's unity. The 42ndand 86thConstitutional Amendment Acts introduced India's basic obligations, which were not previously listed in the Indian Constitution. The Indian Constitution contains sections detailing the states' significant obligations to its residents, as well as their responsibilities and rights as Indian citizens, such as the list of basic rights and duties and the Directive Principles of State Policy.[5] These duties which are listed under the Constitution of India are taken from the Constitution of Russia (USSR) and this addition has made Indian Constitution parallel to Article 29 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which provides the duties and rights of the citizens.[6]

It should be noted that the recommendation of ten Fundamental Duties in the Constitution of India was firstly given by Swaran Singh Committee in 42nd Amendment Act, 1976 [7] and later,

The eleventh fundamental duty in the Constitution of India was added by 86th Amendment Act, 2002, which however also added a duty for all the parents / guardians to make sure that their children get education from six to fourteen years.[8]

The fundamental duties which are stated under the Constitution of India are stated below:[9]

It shall be the duty of every citizen of India —

1. To abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem;

2. To cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;

3. To uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity, and integrity of India;

4. To defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;

5. 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;

6. To value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;

7. To protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures;

8. To develop the scientific temper, humanism, and the spirit of inquiry and reform;

9. To safeguard public property and to abjure violence;

10. 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;

11. 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 to fourteen years of age.[10]

In short, all citizens are required under the Fundamental Duties to respect India's national symbols, to love its legacy, to retain its composite culture, and to contribute to its conservation. All Indians must also foster a spirit of common brotherhood, safeguard the environment and public property, cultivate a scientific temperament, avoid violence, and strive for excellence in all areas.[11]


Origin of Fundamental Duties in the Constitution of India

The Swaran Singh Committee recommended that the fundamental duties be added to our Indian Constitution, which was done by the 42nd Amendment of 1976. The fundamental obligations were initially ten, but the 86th Amendment expanded the number to eleven in 2002. The 11th duty made it mandatory for all parents and guardians to give educational opportunities to their children who are over the age of six but under the age of fourteen. These responsibilities are taken from the Russian (USSR) Constitution.[12]

Scope of Fundamental Duties in the Constitution of India

There is no clear provision in the Constitution for the enforcement of these duties, and there are few legal sanctions in place to prevent these duties from being violated. These responsibilities are inherently necessary. The following facts demonstrate the significance of essential responsibilities:

1. A person should treat fundamental rights and responsibilities equally because, in any situation, if the court learns that a person who wants his or her rights enforced is neglectful of his or her responsibilities, the court will not be sympathetic to his or her case.

2. Fundamental obligations can be used to understand any confusing statute.

3. If the law gives effect to any of the fundamental obligations, the court may find it reasonable. In this method, the court can prevent an unconstitutional statute from being enacted.


There are various features of Fundamental Duties which are provided under the Constitution of India as follows:

1. Under the fundamental duties, moral and civic responsibilities have been established, such as "Indian people should not only embrace the great concepts that led to the liberation movement, but they should also respect the Constitution, the National Flag, and the National Anthem."

2. Fundamental rights apply to foreigners as well, while fundamental duties are solely applicable to Indian nationals.

3. In nature, the fundamental duties are not enforceable. In the event that they are violated, the government has no legal recourse.

4. These duties are also linked to Hindu mythology or traditions, such as showing respect to the country or encouraging the sense of oneness.


The Constitution of India was adopted in 1949, but it lacked provisions for fundamental duties. The Indian Parliament not only saw the need to include fundamental obligations (duties) in the Constitution of India, but also believed that everyone should carry them out. The 42ndAmendment Act, 1976, added a new component, Part IV – A, which outlines a number of fundamental duties that Indian citizens must fulfil.[13]

These duties are classified as "directory" in nature, since they do not cast any public duty and hence cannot be enforced by a writ of mandamus. Fundamental duties serve as a constant reminder of our country's ideals and political norms.They motivate people to develop a sense of social responsibility in themselves. According to the Supreme Court, the fundamental obligations / duties can be applied to interpret any statute that is unclear. These duties bring intellectual and psychological benefits to Indian citizens. These responsibilities preserve democracy and patriotism.The court held in the landmark case law of Ramlila Maidan Incident[14]that the word "basic" is employed in our Indian Constitution in two different definitions. When this term is applied to rights, it signifies that these rights are extremely important, and any law that violates these rights will be ruled void. However, when this word is used to describe duties, it is employed in a normative meaning, as it establishes specific objectives for the state to strive for.


Advantages of Fundamental Duties

There are various advantages of Fundamental Duties which are stated as follows:[15]

1. Fundamental duties serve as a constant reminder to individuals that, while exercising their fundamental rights, they must not forget their responsibilities to the nation.

2. These duties serve as a deterrent to persons engaging in antisocial behaviour.

3. These duties allow people to take an active role in society rather than watching from the spectator.

4. These dutiespromote a sense of discipline and social responsibility.

5. Fundamental duties can be used by courts to determine whether a statute is constitutional. If a law's constitutional validity is challenged in court, and the law is enforcing any of the fundamental duties, the law will be deemed reasonable.

An example of Fundamental Duties is that the Supreme Court of India has orderedall the cinema theatres to play the National Anthem, while showing the National Flag. The Supreme Court took a tremendous stride in emphasising the relevance of fundamental duties.

Disadvantages of Fundamental Duties

There are various Disadvantages of Fundamental Duties which are stated as follows:

1. The sophisticated words in the essential duties, such as composite culture, are incomprehensible to the common person. The true meaning cannot be determined due to a lack of knowledge. Such words are tough for him/her to comprehend. Furthermore, some responsibilities are inherently vague.

2. Because these duties cannot be enforced by a court of law, some argue that including them in the Constitution is pointless.

3. The list of core duties is not considered exhaustive by critics. They believe that many more vital duties, such as paying taxes and voting, were not included in this list, as advised by the Swaran Singh Committee.

4. These duties are listed after the Directive Principles of State Policy in Part IV – A of the Indian Constitution, therefore they aren't given significant weight. It should, according to opponents, be put after the Fundamental Rights in Part III.


There are various landmark judgements which are falling under the purview of Fundamental Duties. They are stated as follows:

Three children of the Jehovah's Witnesses were dismissed from school for refusing to sing the National Anthem in schoolin the case of Bijoe Emmanuel v. State of Kerala[16], often known as the National Anthem Case. The Director of Instructions, Kerala, issued a circular making it mandatory for school kids to sing the National Anthem. These three children did not sing along with the National Anthem, but they did stand up in respect. They didn't sing the National Anthem because their religious beliefs forbade it and it was against their faith.They were expelled because they disobeyed their basic responsibilities and committed an offence under the Prevention of Insult to National Honours Act, 1971. The court overturned the High Court's ruling because they did not commit any crime and were not charged under the Prevention of Insult to National Honours Act of 1971 because they did not sing the National Anthem but stood in respect.

The Supreme Court held in M.C.Mehtav. Union of India[17] that it is mandatory for all educational institutes to organise a teaching lesson of at least one hour per week on environmental protection and improvement, and that it is the responsibility of the Central Government under Article 51A (g) to introduce this in all educational institutes. The central government should also provide free literature on the same subject to all institutes and create public awareness about the importance of maintaining a clean environment. At least once a year, the government should organise a "keep the city clean" week.

The Supreme Court held in the case of AIIMS Students Union v. AIIMS[18] that fundamental duties are just as important as fundamental rights, so the Court struck down the AIIMS institutional reservation of 33 percent, which was also coupled with a 50 percent discipline-wise reservation, which was a violation of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution. The court further stated that simply because they are responsibilities, they cannot be ignored. They are held in the same regard as fundamental rights.

The validity of the National Curriculum Framework for School Education, which was challenged on the grounds that it violated Article 28 of the Indian Constitution and was anti-secular because it provided for value development education relating to the basics of all religions, was upheld by the court in Aruna Roy v. Union of India[19]. According to the court, the NCFSF makes no mention of imparting religious instruction, which is forbidden under Article 28, and education does not violate either Article 28 or the concept of secularism.


1. Globalization has a significant impact on governments. We have a tendency to give up our economic, social, and political interests in favour of what is popular. This puts our sovereignty at jeopardy. Several states have similar authorities, and the power appears to be concentrated in the hands of those with the most economic development. Everything is decided by international markets, from what to produce to what rules to follow. Instead of pursuing international standards, Indians should devote their time and energy to their own country. Projects such as "Make in India" and others should be supported. Citizens should support and fund the development of their country.[20]

2. "The desire of people who live in a particular region of a country to have more independent control over political and economic decisions," according to regionalism. There are many types of regionalism, including economic regionalism, linguistic regionalism, and political regionalism. A nation's cohesiveness and integrity are shattered by this fragmentation of groups. People are divided into classes, and solidarity is no longer present. Citizens should be open-minded and overcome this barrier. People should be accepted and treated equally.

3. Conflicts between states and their citizens contribute to the country's instability. People's engagement is reduced as a result of these disagreements, and their unity is jeopardised. Citizens should put an end to these squabbles and work out their differences. Decisions that benefit all parties should be made. Citizens are obligated to safeguard the country from within, just as the government is required to send troops to defend the country's boundaries.

4. Factors from outside – Economic, legal, social, and technological disputes between neighbouring countries have direct and indirect repercussions on the state. The nation's and citizens' safety are in jeopardy. During such circumstances, it is critical to maintain communal harmony and solidarity.


The fact that the fundamental obligations are not enforceable has no bearing on their value. Fundamental duties are an important part of a democratic state because they remind citizens of their responsibilities to the nation while simultaneously allowing them to enjoy their rights. The word 'basic' is connected to the responsibilities, which makes them extremely significant and necessitates that they be followed by everyone. Many duties have been established as separate laws and are enforced by the law, but this does not diminish the importance of the other duties outlined in Article 51A.It is not merely the government's responsibility to deliver everything outlined in the Constitution; citizens should also be aware of their role in society. Even basic responsibilities such as paying taxes and exercising one's right to vote must be fulfilled by every citizen of the country. Everyone is instilled with a sense of social duty as a result of these responsibilities. These essential responsibilities are always taken into account while interpreting fundamental rights.

"Ask not what the country can do for you, always ask what you can do for the country," remarked former American President John F. Kennedy in his Inaugural Address. We must acknowledge that the land in which we live in liberty today is the consequence of many people's blood and sweat. The liberation warriors and others have poured their hearts and souls into it. In any society, there are conflicts and controversies. However, we must not be enslaved by this. We achieve success by overcoming obstacles and carrying out our responsibilities. As ardent citizens of our country, we must carry out our fundamental responsibilities in accordance with the Constitution. The privileges we have now are a result of the responsibilities we fulfilled yesterday.

[1],_Directive_Principles_and_Fundamental_Duties_of_India#Fundamental_Duties [2] [3] [4]Supra note 4. [5]Supra note 3. [6]Basu, Durga Das (1993). Introduction to the Constitution of India (15th ed.). New Delhi: Prentice Hall of India. p. 475. ISBN 81-203-0839-5. [7]Basu, Durga Das (2003). Shorter Constitution of India (13th ed.). Nagpur: Wadhwa & Co. p. 1972. ISBN 978-81-8038-206-2. [8]86th Amendment Act, 2002 Archived 9 December 2011 at the Wayback Machine. [9] "PART IV A Fundamental Duties, The Constitution of India" [10] "The Constitution of India (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002". [11]Supra note 4. [12] Shivani Verma, ‘Fundamental Duties’ July 31st , 2019,of%20Article%2014%20of%20the [13]Supra note 13. [14]Ramlila Maidan Incident v. Home Secretary, In re, (2012) 5 SCC 123 [15]Supra note 13. [16] Bijoe Emmanuel v. State of Kerala, 1987 AIR 748, (1986) SCR (3) 518 [17] M.C. Mehta v. Union of India and Ors, AIR (1999) SC 1501 [18] AIIMS Students Union v. AIIMS, (2002) 1 SCC 428 [19] Ms. Aruna Roy and Others v. Union of India, Writ Petition (civil) 98 of 2002 [20]


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