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Awareness of new implied fundamental duties of our citizens

Our Ancient Tamil Poet Thiruvalluvar, in his sacred verses “Thirukural” has mentioned about the concept of Duty as a social obligation to the society in the Introduction Chapter itself under “Arathupaal” and thus Duty is considered as a paramount entity in humanity.

Fundamental Duties were inserted vide  to “remove the difficulties in achieving the objective of socio­economic revolution and to end poverty, ignorance, disease, inequality.” It was an honest attempt to balance an individual’s civic ‘freedoms’ with his civic obligations. Though these duties have legal restrictions for its imposition it is expected that every Indian Citizen, while enjoying Fundamental Rights, should also perform these duties. Having adopted Article 29(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which provides that: “Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of the personality is possible.”  However the honest intentions of the framers of our constitution are clearly slipping away from its spirits due to the silence of majority of law abiding and peace loving citizens in our country.

Fundamental Duties are the essence of our Constitutional values and hence awareness of our citizenship is as important as awareness of our rights. Fundamental Duties act as the foundation of human dignity and national character which actually constitute the sanctity of our laws.

Knowingly or unknowingly it took nearly three decades to even think of this vital component as Fundamental Duties were inserted only by the Constitution (Forty-second Amendment) Act, 1976, (wef. 3-1-1977).  Further it took more than another three decades to include one more duty (provide education opportunities to children)vide Eighty Sixth Amendment of our Constitution vide S.O. No.427E dated 16.02.2010 to find place in the list of duties specified in Part IVA under Article 51A of our constitution.

There are many Visionaries and Legal Luminaries in our county striving hard to expand the scope of Fundamental Duties. Mr. Justice Kurien Joseph in all his public speeches since 2016 has even proposed new set of Fundamental duties that can go a long way towards instilling a reinvigorated sense of civic responsibilities among citizens. He articulated that it can be achieved only by adding Duty to Vote, Pay Taxes, Help Accident Victims, Keep the premises clean, prevent Civil Wrongs, raise voice against Injustice, protect Whistle Blowers, support bonafide Civil Society Movement as Fundamental Duties though they are yet to be tabled and debated by our Law makers. This led to a situation now that excessive emphasis on exercise of Fundamental Rights by citizens dents the importance of performance of their corresponding duties. Unfortunately there is a perception that since Fundamental Duties are not enforceable in courts of law and hence are irrelevant.

REVIEW OF OUR FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES NOT MANDATED BY LAW

    

FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES UNDER ART.51-A

SCOPE FOR ENLARGEMENT

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

(a) Laws made must be in consistent with our Constitution without dependingon Courts to get them validated even for Rules framed for National Flag and National Anthem

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

(b) Struggle for Freedom and its ideals must be documented with new laws for compliance and it should not be viewed as an optional  duty

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

(c) Though guaranteed under our Basic Structure of Constitution it is often put to test by new legislations that are even widely protested by Majority when it comes to enriching these three main facets of our Democracy.

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

(d) A Specific Law is the need of the hour especially when Pandemic, Natural Calamities, etc  breaks out

(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;

(e) Harmony is often put to challenges on accounts of Protests, Agitations, Strikes, etc even for legitimate issues related to enforcement of the Secularistic fabric of our country. The Regulatory process of promotion of these duties should be manifested through a written law.

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

f) Though there are specific guidelines put in place the spread of Awareness of these duties should be enlarged.

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

g) Protection and Improvement of Natural Environment is often kept under the purview of the Executives as this element should also figure as a Fundamental Right to Citizens through a law.

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

h) This is an optional topic even to schools as our Education Curriculum must mandatorily cover these aspects in toto.

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

(j) In letter and spirit it is thrown to winds by citizens in general hence this duty has to be mandated by a specific law

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;

j) The Results should speak of high volumes in terms of achievement over the last seven decades. There is a need to imbibe Analytical thoughts in our curriculum and engage every youth to take up Research mandatorily in all unconquered areas

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

i) Right to Education has become a fundamental right and child labour is barred under law. Still this fundamental Duty is totally ignored by citizens at large. Stringent statutes to ensure 100% literacy and Abolition of Child labour is the need of the hour.

NEED FOR NEW FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES TO BE EXPLORED

There is a desperate need find out more Fundamental Duties as this segment in our Constitution has not developed to the desired level of maturity. Still Courts are burdened to with increasing number of cases to adjudicate as there are many disputes on account of Dereliction of Fundamental Duties on account of blatant ignorance of Constitutional values by Citizens. Hence there is a need to explore new duties to uphold the spirit and values of the Rule of Law. Some of them are briefed as under:

1. Duty to Donate funds to the National Disaster Relief Fund in case of Pandemics, Natural Calamities like floods, earthquakes, droughts, etc

The State comes with a begging bowl even at the time of Health Emergencies or Natural calamities before citizens to take up relief measures and often financial constraints hamper these emergency operations. It must be mandated as a Fundamental Duty for every citizen to fill the Corpus during such crisis.

2. Duty to Promote Best Health Practices in society

Smoking, Drinking and Drugs are ruining our society. Hence, this Article must include this duty to promote society of the highest order in terms of Discipline and Values through practice of Yoga and adoption of Traditional Health Practices spelt out by our forefathers in the family.

3. Duty to Take Care of Aged Parents

Growth of Old Aged Homes is on the rise due to the fact that even filial duties are ignored or evaded by the children when they grow up. Hence there is a need to incorporate this aspect as a fundamental duty for every citizen.

4. Duty to curtail patronage for Obscenity, Pornography or Violence in all types of Entertainment forms  

All crimes in the society are directly or indirectly connected to these anti-social activities by the citizens and this has to be incorporated as a Duty and awareness spread across all ages in every Media.

5. Duty to Promote Organic Farming and encourage Agricultural activities in all forms.

Citizens are often left under the impression that it is only the duty of farmers to produce food for us. This duty would help citizens to cultivate at least one plant or sow one seed to grow trees at their own backyard or in a societal group.

6. Duty to develop Social Awareness in terms of updating of knowledge under Current Affairs

Politics, Law, Geopolitics, etc are considered only for academic purpose. This has led to imbalance in knowledge, influenced by fake media, patronage to a specific ideology promoted by powerful politicians, etc. Hence Duty to develop is facet of non-academic trait must be incorporated as a fundamental duty to develop knowledge under this part of Constitution.

7. Duty to expose Corruption in any form and legally safeguard women who suffered sexual crimes in the society.

The Victims of sexual crimes normally never come out openly to register or complain the committer due to several age-old social stigma.  Hence it is necessary to entrust the same as constitutional duty on the part of every citizen to support them and bring justice.

Our Lawmakers must debate to enlarge the meaning and concept of fundamental duty and propose suitable amendments therein besides revisiting other related laws that govern in the enforcement of these Fundamental Duties.

 

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Published in Constitutional Law
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