Context: Former Chief Justice of India in an address stated the Fundamental Duties not merely serves a technical purpose, rather they guide citizens to to engineer social transformation.
About Fundamental Duties:
They were added in the Constitution through 42nd Constitution Amendment Act, 1976 based on recommendation of Swaran Singh Committee.
In 1976, only 10 Fundamental Duties were listed under Article 51-A under Part IV-A of Indian Constitution. Through 86th Constitutional Amendment Act, one more duty was added.
Significance of Fundamental Duties:
- Sense of Commitment: Fundamental Duties helps in realizing national goals where Individuals are encouraged to take active participation in democracy.
- Maintains Balance: They maintains balance in conduct of citizens and serves as reminder that the Constitution which provides fundamental rights also requires cooperation from citizens to observe basic norms of democratic conduct.
- Moral Obligation: They define the moral obligations of all citizens to help in the promotion of the spirit of patriotism and to uphold the unity of India.
- Determines Constitutionality of Law: They help the courts in examining and determining the constitutional validity of a law.
- In 1992, the Supreme Court ruled that in determining the constitutionality of any law, if a court finds that the law in question seeks to give effect to a fundamental duty, it may consider such law to be 'reasonable' in relation to Article 14 (equality before law) or Article 19 (six freedoms) and thus save such law from unconstitutionality.
Enforcement of Fundamental Duties:
- The Verma Committee on Fundamental Duties (1999) identified the existence of legal provisions which are already implemented under various laws such as Imprisonment for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, Wildlife Protection Act, Flag Code of India.
- Swaran Singh Committee suggested to make enforcement of Fundamental Duties compulsory, but the government did not accept the recommendation.
There is dire need for unform policy for sensitization, full operationalization and enforceability of fundamental duties which will help citizens to be responsible.