Important Judgements In News

No need for laws to enforce duties on citizens: AG


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Fundamental Duties

Mains level : Read the attached story

Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal said that there was no need to enact specific laws to “enforce” fundamental duties on citizens.

What is the case?

  • The Supreme Court is entertaining a public interest litigation (PIL) petition to enforce the fundamental duties of citizens, including patriotism and unity of nation, through “comprehensive, well-defined laws”.

Precursor to AG’s remark

  • The Supreme Court has directed in the Ranganath Mishra judgment of 2003 regarding the implementation of the Justice J.S. Verma Committee’s report on the “operationalization of fundamental duties”.
  • The committee’s work was a part of a report of the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution.
  • The report had urged the government to sensitise people to, and create general awareness of, their duties and the protection of minorities and freedom of religion.

What are Fundamental Duties?

  • The fundamental duties of citizens were added to the constitution by the 42nd Amendment in 1976, upon the recommendations of the Swaran Singh Committee.
  • It basically imply the moral obligations of all citizens of a country and today, there are 11 fundamental duties in India, which are written in Part IV-A of the Constitution, to promote patriotism and strengthen the unity of India.
  • The FDs obligate all citizens to respect the national symbols of India, including the constitution, to cherish its heritage, preserve its composite culture and assist in its defence.
  • They also obligate all Indians to promote the spirit of common brotherhood, protect the environment and public property, develop scientific temper, abjure violence, and strive towards excellence in all spheres of life.

Judicial interpretation of FDs

  • The Supreme Court has held that FDs are not enforceable in any Court of Law.
  • It ruled that these fundamental duties can also help the court to decide the constitutionality of a law passed by the legislature.
  • There is a reference to such duties in international instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Article 51A brings the Indian constitution into conformity with these treaties.

Total FDs

  • Originally ten in number, the fundamental duties were increased to eleven by the 86th Amendment in 2002.

The 10 fundamental duties are as follows:

  1. To oblige with the Indian Constitution and respect the National Anthem and Flag
  2. To cherish and follow the noble ideas that inspired the national struggle for freedom
  3. To protect the integrity, sovereignty, and unity of India
  4. To defend the country and perform national services if and when the country requires
  5. To promote the spirit of harmony and brotherhood amongst all the people of India and renounce any practices that are derogatory to women
  6. To cherish and preserve the rich national heritage of our composite culture
  7. To protect and improve the natural environment including lakes, wildlife, rivers, forests, etc.
  8. To develop scientific temper, humanism, and spirit of inquiry
  9. To safeguard all public property
  10. To strive towards excellence in all genres of individual and collective activities

The 11th fundamental duty which was added to this list is:

  1. To provide opportunities for education to children between 6-14 years of age, and duty as parents to ensure that such opportunities are being awarded to their child. (86th Amendment, 2002)

Try this PYQ from CSP 2017:

Q. Which of the following is/are among the Fundamental Duties of citizens laid down in the Indian Constitution?

1. To preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture
2. To protect the weaker sections from social injustice
3. To develop the scientific temper and spirit of inquiry
4. To strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) Only 2

(c) 1, 3 and 4 only

(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4


Post your answers here.
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