Legal Guide

Are Fundamental Duties Enforceable by Law?

by Bhavya Choudhary · 4 min read

Fundamental duties which are Enforceable by Law

Introduction 

  • Recently, the Supreme Court gave the Centre and the states a notice to reply to a petition requesting that the Fundamental Duties are Enforceable by Law, including patriotism and national unity, by precise regulations.
  • Article 51A (Part IVA) of the Constitution outlines Fundamental Duties, which are enforceable by Law, and work to protect the nation’s goals and support its development.

Which Fundamental Duties Are Enforceable by Law?

  • The Russian Constitution served as an inspiration for the concept of Fundamental Duties, which are enforceable by Law. (erstwhile Soviet Union).
  • On the advice of the Swaran Singh Committee, they were added to Part IV-A of the Constitution by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1976 i.e., Fundamental Duties, which are enforceable by Law. 
  • One more Fundamental Duty which is enforceable by Law was introduced by the 86th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2002, bringing the total number of Fundamental duties which are enforceable by Law to 11.
  • The Fundamental obligations are non-justiciable, just like the Directive Principles of State Policy.

List of Fundamental duties which are Enforceable by Law

The following are the Fundamental duties that are enforceable by Law:

  • To uphold the Constitution, its principles, and institutions, as well as the National Anthem and Flag, is one of the Fundamental duties which are enforceable by Law. 
  • One of the Fundamental duties which are enforceable by Law is to uphold and adhere to the lofty principles that motivated the nation’s fight for freedom.
  • To safeguard and defend India’s sovereignty, unity, and integrity is one of the Fundamental duties which are enforceable by Law.
  • To protect the nation and provide national service when required is one of the Fundamental duties which are enforceable by Law.
  • To value and preserve the rich heritage of the nation’s composite culture, including its forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife; 
  • To protect and improve the natural environment, including its forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife; 
  • To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood among all Indians transcending religious, linguistic, regional, and sectional diversities;
  • To cultivate a scientific mindset, humanism, and the spirit of reform,
  • Protecting public property and abstaining from violence are Fundamental duties that are enforceable by Law. 
  • To pursue excellence in all areas of personal and societal endeavor so that the country continually climbs to new heights of endeavor and accomplishment, and
  • To provide his kid or ward between the ages of six and fourteen the opportunity to pursue an education (added by the 86th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2002) is also a Fundamental duty that is enforceable by Law.

These are the Fundamental duties that are enforceable by Law. 

What Matters Are Fundamental Duties which are enforceable by Law?

  • Rights and obligations are related to each other. 
  • The Fundamental duties, which are enforceable by Law, are meant to serve as a constant reminder to every citizen that while the Constitution specifically grants them certain fundamental rights, it also requires citizens to observe basic norms of democratic behavior and conduct. 
  • These serve as a warning to the people against anti-social activities that disrespect the nation, like burning the flag, destroying public property, or disturbing public peace.
  • These aid in fostering a feeling of discipline and loyalty to the country. They assist in achieving national goals by encouraging residents to actively participate rather than merely watch.
  • It aids the Court in deciding whether the statute is constitutional. For instance, any law issued by the legislatures would be considered reasonable if it upheld any Fundamental duty which is Enforceable by Law when it was challenged in court for its constitutional legitimacy.

Why is it necessary to enforce Fundamental Duties by Law?

  • According to the ancient texts, the Indian civilization has placed a strong focus on an individual’s “Kartavya” from the beginning.
  • Fulfilling one’s obligations to society, one’s nation, and especially one’s parents.
  • People are urged to carry out their obligations without regard for their rights in the Gita and the Ramayana.
  • The rights and obligations were treated equally under the former Soviet Union Constitution.
  • It is urgent to uphold and carry out at least some of the core obligations.
  • For instance, to support and protect India’s sovereignty, unity, and integrity; to defend the nation and do national duty when required; to spread a sense of nationalism, and to encourage the spirit of patriotism in order to preserve India’s unity.
  • These essential responsibilities become more important in light of China’s rise to superpower status.
  • The Verma Committee on Fundamental duties, which are enforceable by the Law of the Citizens (1999), noted that certain of the Fundamental Duties were subject to legal restrictions. 
  • The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act of 1971 prohibits insults to the national anthem, the Indian Constitution, or the flag, and the committee included measures to that effect.
  • The Protection of Civil Rights Act (1955) established penalties for any offense involving caste or religion.
  • It was contended in the petition that failure to uphold the Fundamental Duties directly affects the Fundamental Rights protected by Articles 14 of the Indian Constitution (equality before the Law), Article 19 (protection of certain rights related to free expression), and Article 21 (right to life).
  • For instance, the emerging criminal trend of protest by demonstrators disguising their actions as exercising their right to free speech and expression necessitates the enforcement of fundamental obligations.

What position on Fundamental Duties which are enforceable by Law does the Supreme Court take?

  • Ranganath Mishra, a 2003 ruling by the Supreme Court, stated that in addition to legal consequences, social sanctions should also be used to enforce basic obligations.
  • The Supreme Court ruled in AIIMS Students Union vs. AIIMS 2001 that basic obligations are just as significant as Fundamental Rights.
  • Although basic obligations are not subject to enforcement like fundamental rights, they must nonetheless be considered obligations under Part IV A.
  • They are preceded by the same term fundamental that the founders of the Constitution used to precede the word “right” in Part III.

Conclusion 

The blog discusses Fundamental duties which are enforceable by Law. A unified approach is required to “properly sensitise, fully operationalize, and enforce” essential obligations that “significantly enable citizens to be responsible.” 

Legal consultation must be taken in case of any dispute. Legal consultation not only makes your task easier but also makes you properly guided you. 

Legal consultation must be taken for any issue which cannot be solved without consulting a lawyer.

Bhavya Choudhary

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Bhavya Choudhary

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