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The Fundamental Duties: Forgotten Chapter of Constitution

The Fundamental Duties: Forgotten Chapter of Constitution

By Digshikha Priyadarshani

Background of Part VI A of Constitution

“The only right man possessed to do his duty”

Fundamental duties were not enumerated in the original Constitution of India in 1949. Fundamental Duties was borrowed from the Constitution of USSR. The concept of Fundamental Duties brought our Constitution in line with article 29 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Part VI-A was included by Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act. 1976, in accordance with the recommendation of Swaran Singh Committee.  The Swaran Singh Committee report was discussed before AICC Session, Dr. Karan Singh spelled out some of the fundamental duties. The Swaran Singh Committee in its supplementary report inserted first ten fundamental duties in the form of suggestion to the Parliament. Suggestion of penal provision was rejected by Parliament. In 42nd Constitution Amendment Bill, 1976, 10 fundamental duties were incorporated and the bill was discussed before Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and The President’s assent was given on 18th December 1976.

The Janta Party wanted to scarp the 42nd Constitution Amendment Act, 1976 in 1977 after coming in to pawer.  But could not get success because of majority of opposition Congress in the Rajya Sabha and fundamental duties retained in Constitution of India.

The Fundamental Duties are duties towards nation, towards humanity, environment, duties towards self and the State.  The Fundamental Duties contain basic duty and responsibility of citizen of India to maintain constitutionalism. By constitutionalism implies to enrich the idea, objective and goal of Constitution of India by practice of tolerance, scientific temper, respect to the ideals and institution of constitution of India etc. The Fundamental Duties are given below:

Art. 51A  Fundamental duties

It shall be the duty of every citizen of India

(a)   to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the national Flag and the National Anthem;

(b)  to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;

(c)   to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;

(d)  to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;

(e)   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

(f)   to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;

(g)  to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures;

(h)  to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;

(i)    to safeguard public property and to abjure violence;

(j)    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

(k)  [1]who is a parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child or, as case may be, ward between the age of six and fourteen years.

All these fundamental duties imposed a moral and ethical duty on citizen to behave according to them but do not imposed any punishment or penalty for non- fulfilment of these. The Fundamental Duties are not enforceable by court neither court can issue writ of mandamus for non-observance of duties[2] but court may look at Article 51A to uphold the constitutionality of an Act.

Fundamental Duties and current scenario:

In present time specially in 3-4 years the observance of Part VI -A of Constitution by the citizens losing its significance. People are becoming intolerant, scientific temper is not appreciated, natural environment exploited, harmony sprit of common brotherhood demolished and many other duties are not followed.

(a)   to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the national Flag and the National Anthem.

This is the first Fundamental Duty, and there are numbers of incidents when it violated by citizens. Independence of judiciary, sovereignty of CBI, RBI, and investigation agency of nation infringed by the government action although it is trying to justified by the Government. But it violates this fundamental duty. Not following Supreme Court’s decision on Sabrimala Matter, Ban on fire cracker on Diwali festive sessions in Delhi and distribution of fire cracker against the Decision of Honourable Supreme Court’s Judgment is shows disrespect towards institution of Constitution.

 

(c)   to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;

(d)  to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;

practice of tolerance, non-violence, secularism, freedom of individual and respect for freedom of other, brotherhood, socialism and social solidarity etc. were basic principle which adopted in National Freedom Struggle and later incorporated in various provision of Constitution. Currently issues like Kashmir issue, Naxalist activity in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, hate speech by politicians against one religion and slogans like Hindu kahatre me hai, Pakistan chale jao are against the unity and integrity of India. For the internal sovereignty of State freedom if individual needs to be protected and respected. But now it is not done. Speaking against policies of government is now treated like being an antinational, asking question to the government sis treated like one is belong to opposition which he or she not actually. Arrest of two girl for tweet on social media, after this Shreya Singhal v. Union of India case held Section 66-A of Information Technology Act, 2005 ultra vires to Constitution, arrest of five activist in Bhima Koregaon Case (now in-house arrest), JNU matter (The Honourable Sessions Court question final report filed by Police) all are affecting our internal sovereignty.

Disrespect of freedom fighters and their ideology and principles is violative of Article 51A(b) to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom. Celebrating the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi at Alegar and re-enacting assassination of Mahatma Gandhi by Members of Hindu Mahasabha on 30th January 2019 (Case was registered against 12 person), constantly criticising Nehru and his policy. Jawahar lal Nehru was first Prime Minister of India and more over freedom fighter, socialist and historian. He had different opinion from Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel (first Home Minister of India) but for the national benefit they always worked together and played their role very well. Instead of blaming each other they always had mutual respect for each other. In a democracy, dissent is a tool which keep alive democracy and good governance.

Article 51-A (e) 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. India is country with many religion, belief and faith. This diversity is unique feature in Indian culture and therefore India is a Secular country. State has no religion and every citizen is allow to freedom of religion under Article 25 of Constitution. under Article 14 right to equality before law and equal protection of law is give to the person in India without discrimination. This is only possible by harmony and brotherhood and respect to woman. But communal violence, cast violence, hate speech and sexist comment are violative of this duty. Offence against women like sexual harassment, rape, stalking, domestic violence, dowry etc. Incident like Mujjafar Nagar riot, Buland Shehar incident in December 2018, statement given by politician for political benefit, all are shows ignorance and disrespect towards Part VI-A of Constitution.

Government order for cutting of thousands of trees in Sarojini Nagar area in June and July 2018, destroyed forest land and Trible area in Kevadiya colony, Narmada District in Gujrat, polluting Ganga, Yamuna and other rivers are violative of duty to protect environment. Distorting historical facts and monument, promoting people for violence and creating communal agenda for political benefit like Ram Mandir which is a land dispute, Hindu- Muslim hate speeches etc. these shows how individual is react towards his fundamental duties. Children are not getting benefit of education, child labour is still in practice, exploitation a damage caused to public property, collective work is not promoted by people.

All these shows that citizens have forgotten the Part VI – A of Constitution of India. But it can be followed by the practice of Constitutionalism and social solidarity. Provisions of fundamental duties can only be promoted by constitutional way.  To preserve and promote constitution fundamental duties are necessarily followed.


[1] Added by Constitution (86th Amendment) Act, 2002

[2] Mohan Kumar Singhania v. Union of India, AIR 1992 SC 1

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