From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : FDs
Mains level : Significace of FDs
Over the last one week, the government has been making a pitch for Fundamental Duties (FD).
- FDs are described in the Constitution — an Emergency-era provision that was introduced by the Indira Gandhi government.
- These are statutory duties, not enforceable by law, but a court may take them into account while adjudicating on a matter.
- The idea behind their incorporation was to emphasise the obligation of the citizen in exchange for the Fundamental Rights that he or she enjoys.
- The concept of Fundamental Duties is taken from the Constitution of Russia.
How were FDs incorporated in the Constitution?
- The FDs were incorporated in Part IV-A of the Constitution by the Constitution 42nd Amendment Act, 1976, during Emergency under Indira Gandhi’s government.
- Today, there are 11 Fundamental Duties described under Article 51-A.
- Of these 10 were introduced by the 42nd Amendment and the 11th was added by the 86th Amendment in 2002, during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government.
Various Fundamental Duties
The 11 Fundamental Duties are:
- 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 — it is one of the preeminent national obligations of all the citizens 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 — our cultural heritage is one of the noblest and richest, it is also part of the heritage of the Earth
- 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.
Under what circumstances was the 42nd Amendment passed?
- The amendment came at a time when elections stood suspended and civil liberties curbed.
- The government arrested thousands under MISA (Maintenance of Internal Security Act) and carried out anti-poverty programmes, slum demolition drives, and a forced sterilization campaign.
What other changes did 42nd CAA make?
- Apart from adding the FDs, the 42nd Amendment also changed the Preamble to the Constitution to include the words ‘Socialist and Secular’ to describe India, in addition to its being ‘Sovereign Democratic Republic’.
- New ‘Directive Principles’ were added and given precedence over Fundamental Rights.
- Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and High Courts to review constitutionality of the laws was curtailed.
- High Courts were prohibited from deciding on the constitutional validity of central laws.
- A new Article 144A was inserted, prescribing a minimum of seven judges for a Constitution Bench, besides stipulating a special majority of two-thirds of a Bench for invalidating central laws.
How many of the changes made under the 42nd Amendment are still in effect?
- In the 1977 elections, the manifesto of the Janata Party promised to restore the Constitution to its pre-Emergency form.
- However, after being voted to power, the Morarji Desai government did not have the numbers for a complete reversal. Reversal happened only in bits and pieces.
- In 1977, the 43rd Amendment restored the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and High Courts to review the constitutional validity of laws.
- The following year, the 44th Amendment changed the grounds for declaring Emergency under Article 325, substituting “internal disturbance” with “armed rebellion” besides requiring of the President that he shall not do so unless the decision of the Union Cabinet is communicated in writing to him.
- Right to Liberty was strengthened by stipulating that detention under the Preventive Detention Act shall not be for more than two months.
- Right to Property was converted from a Fundamental Right to a legal right, by amending Article 19 and deleting Article 31.