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On the recommendation of Swaran Singh Committee, the fundamental duties were added by the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution in 1976.[1] Duties like such are not generally a part of the Constitution of any country. These imply a moral obligation on the citizens; they are not compulsory nor could be enforced in the court of law. These duties cannot be implemented through the writ of mandamus as they do not cast public duties. They are a reminder that there are some national goals and rules laid down by the public order.[2]

Originally there were ten fundamental duties the 86th Amendment added the 11th. But could be found in the Socialist Constitutions like China. But it was also seen as a part of the non-socialist Constitution like of Sri Lanka. Their inclusion in the Constitution could relate to with cultural traditions of the society. Thus, Asian and African community have given greater emphasis to duties than western civilization.[3]


In the case of Ramlila Maidan Incident, the court held that the word “fundamental” is used in two different senses in the Constitution of India. When Fundamental is used in respect of rights, it becomes essential, and any law that violates these rights will be declared as void. But when fundamental is used in relation to duty, it is in a normative sense to set specific goals before the state that the state will be obligated to perform.[4]

In M.C Mehta vs. Union of India [1987 AIR 1086; 1987 SCR (1) 819], the Supreme Court, held the following:

  1. It is compulsory for educational institutions to dedicate time to implant knowledge related to the environment and how to safeguards the environment as the duty of the individual.
  2. It said that it is the duty of the Central Government under Article 51-A (g) to introduce specific lessons concerning environmental protection in educational institutions.
  3. Including lessons is not only essential but including the distribution of books for free on the above lessons is also essential.
  4. Organize ‘keep the city clean’ week at least once in a year to keep the spirit of healthy environment alive and free among the citizens.[5]


Fundamental duties for the basic norms of democratic conduct and behaviour which must be followed by the citizens. India has placed more emphasis on rights than duties. The basic idea behind forming fundamental duties was to create a strong foundation of national character. These duties were added on the basis to increase cultural, moral and ethical code of conduct which is to be followed, safeguarded to build the integrity and unity of our country. It also helps the government in maintaining proper governance and enabling the appropriate functioning of a democratic society. If every person wants their fundamental rights to be realized, then everyone should fulfill their duties.

The importance of fundamental duties are as follows:

  1. The fundamental duties act as the constant reminder of one’s responsibility towards the nation.
  2. By performance of these duties, citizens ensure their participation and contribution to the nation and society as a whole.
  3. These duties are a set a constant reminder for all to build a healthy and safe environment and not to indulge in anti-social activities; this would lead to the growth of people and nation.
  4. They promote integrity and discipline in society.
  5. For the growth of the country as a whole, it the responsibility of the people to follow these duties. Providing a clean and safe environment, education for all becomes the basic necessity, as included under fundamental rights as well.
  6. These rights can be used to define the constitutionality of the law. The Supreme Court ordered cinema halls as a sign of portraying National integration to play National Anthem. This was done in consideration of the national duty.[6]


There were various grounds for criticism for fundamental duties. These include:

  1. As per critics, the fundamental duties are not exhaustive; there are many more to be added.
  2. A court of law cannot enforce duties, so many feel that they are not any use.
  3. Some think that some duties such as respect to National Flag and Anthem is general and there was no need for encoding them.


Fundamental Duties are included under Part IV of the Constitution with Directive Principles of State Policy they become unenforceable. Literacy level in India is low as compared to the other Western States so imposing moral obligations which many people are not aware of will not be right just as the case with a waiver of Fundamental Rights. If the above example would be genuine, then it would cause a lot of trouble and harassment.

But in few cases, such as Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan [(1997) 6 SCC 241; AIR 1997 SC 3011], the non-performance of duty by one citizen is leading to the violation of the right of another then the appropriate remedy will be provided.[7]


A valuable need is filled by the fundamental duties mentioned in the Constitution. A country which does not have a vote-based system will always fail if the citizens of that country do not accept the duties assigned to them by the administration and act accordingly. These duties are defined in article 51(A) of the Constitution. For instance, the most basic duty is to respect the National Anthem and National Flag.

To regard and secure the inheritance of the mosaic that is India should help with welding our kin into one nation anyway. Altogether more than Article 51A will be required to treat every individual correspondingly, to respect each religion and to tie it to one circle and prevent any conflict between different systems.

Significant endeavour is to oblige the instances of every citizen. To achieve this, it is vital to inform all the citizens about their citizenship and social commitments. This will result in shaping the overall population that we, as a whole, are insightful and generous about the expected benefits of our related citizens.

Author(s) Name: Palak Gupta (Symbiosis Law School, Nagpur)


[1] Diganth Raj Sehgal “Fundamental duties” (Accessed on 20th August at 5:00 pm)

[2] Diganth Raj Sehgal “Fundamental duties” (Accessed on 20th August at 6:00 pm)

[3] VN Shukla “The Constitution of India”, 13th edition, EBC, pg no. 392

[4] VN Shukla “The Constitution of India”, 13th edition, EBC, pg no. 392

[5] Diganth Raj Sehgal “Fundamental duties” (Accessed on 21st August at 6:54 pm)

[6] Diganth Raj Sehgal “Fundamental duties” (Accessed on 21st August at 7:36 pm)

[7] VN Shukla “The Constitution of India”, 13th edition, EBC, pg no. 393