SIGNIFICANCE AND RELEVANCE OF FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES
-Dr. Naresh Waghmare488
All citizens are bound by the fundamental duties prescribed by Article 51A of the Constitution of India to respect the faith of each and, therefore, promote the harmony and spirit of common fraternity in a pluralist society like India. These are some of the basic duties that the students should instill and incorporate. The true source of right is duty. When the courts were asked to examine the reasonableness of a legislative restriction on the exercise of a liberty, the fundamental duties referred to in Article 51A are of pertinent consideration. Fundamental rights should not be read separately. They should be read together with the chapter on the Directive Principles of State Policy and Fundamental Duties. Although Article 51A does not expressly establish any fundamental duty for the State, the fact is that the duty of every citizen of India is the collective duty of the State.
Two concepts, namely the constitutional fraternity and the fundamental duty, constitute basic constitutional values. Respect for the dignity of another is a constitutional norm. It would not be an exaggeration if it is stated that the constitutional fraternity and the intrinsic value inherent in the fundamental duty proclaim the constitutional guarantee of mutual respect and concern for the dignity of others. The individual interest of each individual serves the collective interest and, consequently, the collective interest improves individual excellence.
The action against the state is different from an action taken by one citizen against another. Constitutional value helps to structure individual and community interest. Individual interest is strongly established when constitutional values are respected. The preamble balances different and divergent rights.489
Art. 51A requires all citizens by Cl. (h) to develop the scientific temper, humanism, the spirit of inquiry and reform and Cl. (J) enjoins as fundamental duty to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavor and achievement; (a) respect for national flag and national anthem; (e) to promote. Harmony and spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the Indian people transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities to renounce practice derogatory to the dignity of woman; (f) to value and preserve rich heritage of our composite culture, etc. These are some of the basic duties that budding students should instill and incorporate. They should be planted in the receptive minds in their training periods to have deep roots in maturity. The teacher needs not only training in the beginning, but a periodic guide in this regard so that the children benefit from it.490
FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES AND DEMOCRACY
Art. 51A. Fundamental duties in Chapter IV-A brought by the Constitution 42nd Amendment Act, 1976 enjoins as a fundamental duty every citizen to promote harmony, spirit of brotherhood amongst all the people transcending sectional diversities etc. to develop scientific temper, humanism, the spirit of inquiry, reform and to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavor and achievement.
Poverty, illiteracy and the caste system are positive threats to democracy. Democracy is essentially a form of society. Political democracy without social democracy can not last long. The elevation of the less privileged to the level of other sections of society is essential, otherwise democracy would be in danger. Political and economic democracy would be useless if social inequalities were not eliminated. The Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 is a tool for exercising the civil, social, cultural, economic and constitutional rights of the Dalits.491
FUNDAMENTAL DUTY AND SECULARISM
The word ‘secularism’ used in the preamble to the Constitution is reflected in the provisions contained in Articles 25 to 30 and in the Part IV-A added to the Constitution which contains Article 51A which prescribes the fundamental duties of citizens. It must be understood on the basis of the experience of over 50 years in the functioning of the Constitution. Total neutrality towards religion and apathy from all types of state religious education institutions have not helped to eliminate misunderstanding and mutual intolerance between sections of people of different religions, religions and beliefs.
Therefore, “secularism” is susceptible to a positive meaning which is developing understanding and respect towards the different religions. The essence of secularism is the non discrimination of people by the state on the basis of religious differences. “Secularism” can be practiced by adopting a complete neutral approach to religions or a positive approach by making sure that a section of religious people understands and respects the religion and faith of another section of people.
On the basis of this mutual understanding and mutual respect for religious faith, mutual distrust and intolerance can be gradually eliminated. Therefore, the study of religions in scholastic education cannot be considered an attempt against the secular philosophy of the Constitution.492
FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS, DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES OF STATE POLICY AND THE FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES
Fundamental rights should not be read separately. They should be read together with the chapter on the Directive Principles of state policy and fundamental duties as set forth in Art. 51A. Under the Art.38. The State will strive to promote the well-being of people and develop a social order enabled in distributive justice: social, economic and political. Under Art. 47, the State will promote with particular attention the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people and, in particular, the constitutionally down-trodden. Under Art. 47, the state will consider that the elevation of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its inhabitants and the improvement of public health are its main functions.
None of these high ideals can be achieved without the control of the population to the extent that our material resources are limited and the applicants are many. The concept of sustainable development is born as a fundamental duty of the various clauses of Art. 51A also requires that population expansion is kept within reasonable limits.493
FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES OF CITIZENS – DUTIES OF STATE
Almost a quarter century after the people of India have given the Constitution unto themselves, a chapter on fundamental duties came to be incorporated in the Constitution. Fundamental duties, as defined in Article 51A, are not made enforceable by a writ of Court just as the fundamental rights are but it cannot be lost sight of that ‘duties’ in Part IV A. Article 51A are pre-fixed by the same word ‘fundamental’ which was prefixed by the founding fathers of the Constitution to ‘rights’ in Part III. All the citizens of India are fundamentally obliged to develop scientific temperament and humanism.
It is fundamentally obliged to seek excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity, so that the nation constantly increases to higher levels of commitment and results. The State is, all citizens are together and, therefore, although Article 51 A does not expressly establish any fundamental duty for the State, the fact is that the duty of every citizen of India is the collective duty of the State. Any reservation, as well as being sustainable in the constitutional anvil, must also be reasonable to be admissible.
In assessing reasonableness, one of the factors that will be taken into consideration would be if the nature and quantity of the reserve were paralyzed or accelerated to reach the ultimate goal of excellence, allowing the nation to constantly rise to higher levels of globalization, where the nation as a whole must compete with other nations of the world to survive, excellence cannot take an unreasonable step and, of course, not engage in its entirety.
The fundamental duties, even if not required with a order of the Court, provide valuable guidance and help in the interpretation of constitutional and legal matters, in case of doubt or choice, the desire of the people, as established in Article 51A, can act as a guide not only to solve the problem but also to build or model the relief that will be granted by the Courts The Constitutional promulgation of such fundamental duties, if it must have and a meaning, should be used by the courts as a tool to control, even a taboo, on the action of the state outside the constitutional values.494
FUNDAMENTAL DUTY TO ABIDE BY THE CONSTITUTION
The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 (Act No. 69 of 1971) enacted by the Parliament makes it an offence for whoever intentionally prevents the singing of the Indian National Anthem or causes disturbance to any assembly engaged in such singing. Article 51A of the Constitution of India, inserted by Forty- second Amendment, provides for it being the fundamental duty, amongst others, of every citizen of India to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem. The Constitution of India, its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem have been treated almost on par. From the language of Clause (a) of Article 51A, it is clear that the National Anthem is an ideal and an institution for the Indian citizens.495
RESTRICTIONS ON FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOM AND FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES
The true source of right is duty. When the courts are asked to examine the reasonableness of a legislative restriction on the exercise of a liberty, the fundamental duties referred to in Article 51A are of pertinent consideration. Article 51 A requires that a person respects the law, protects public property and abandons violence. It also requires that the individual defend and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of the country.
All these duties are not insignificant. Part IV of the Constitution refers to the Directive Principles of State Policy. Article 38 was introduced into the Constitution as an obligation for the State to maintain the social order for the promotion of the welfare of the people. Under the Constitutional Act (42nd Amendments) of 1976, Article 51A was added to fully establish the fundamental duties of citizens in respecting the obligations of the state. Therefore, all these duties are of constitutional importance.
Therefore, it will be difficult for any court to exclude from consideration any of the Articles of the Constitution mentioned above while examining the validity or otherwise of any restriction on the right to freedom of expression and expression available to a citizen under Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution. The restriction of a fundamental right should be examined with reference to the concept of fundamental duties and non-interference in the freedom of others. Therefore, a restriction on the right to assemble and raise protest has also to be examined on similar parameters and values.496
PRESERVATION OF ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGICAL BALANCE – OBLIGATION OF GOVT. AND CITIZENS
Naturally, natural resources must be used for social development purposes, but we must not forget at the same time that resources must be realized with the care and attention necessary to ensure that ecology and the environment are not seriously affected. There may not be a depletion of water resources and long-term planning must be undertaken to maintain national wealth.
We must always remember that these are permanent assets of humanity and are not destined to end in a generation. The conservation of the environment and the maintenance of ecological balance are not affected, it is a task that not only governments, but also all citizens must undertake. It is a social obligation and every Indian citizen is reminded that it is their fundamental duty enshrined in Art. 51A (g) of the Constitution.497
FUNDAMENTAL DUTY TO PROTECT NATURAL ENVIRONMENT
The water bodies must be maintained. This requirement is provided not only in view of the fact that the right to water, as well as the quality of life, is contemplated in Art. 21 of the Indian Constitution, but also in consideration of the fact that it was recognized in Arts.47 and 48-A of the Constitution of India.
Article 51-A of the Indian Constitution also requires all citizens to have a fundamental duty to protect and improve the natural environment, including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife. The natural resources of water storage must not only be protected, but measures must also be taken to restore it if it has fallen into disuse.498
By enacting clause (g) in Article 51-A and giving it the status of a fundamental duty, one of the objects sought to be achieved by the Parliament is to ensure that the spirit and message of Articles 48 and 48-A is honoured as a fundamental duty of every citizen. The Parliament availed the opportunity provided by the Constitution (Forty-second Amendment) Act, 1976 to improve the manifestation of objects contained in Article 48 and 48-A.
While Article 48-A speaks of “environment”, Article 51-A(g) employs the expression “the natural environment” and includes therein “forests, lakes, rivers and wild life”. While Article 48 provides for “cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle”, Article 51-A(g) enjoins it as a fundamental duty of every citizen “to have compassion for living creatures”, which in its wider fold embraces the category of cattle spoken of specifically in Article 48.499
FUNDAMENTAL DUTY TO ELIMINATE GENDER BASED DISCRIMINATION
Equality, the dignity of the person and the right to development are innate rights of every human being. Life in its extended horizon includes everything that gives meaning to a person’s life, including culture, heritage and tradition with the dignity of the person. The fulfillment of that inheritance in its entirety would include the right to life. Because of their meaning and purpose, all women have the right to the elimination of obstacles and to gender-based discrimination for human development.
Women have the right to enjoy economic, social, cultural and political rights without discrimination and on equal terms. Likewise, to fulfill the fundamental duty to develop the scientific temperament, humanism and the spirit of research and strive to achieve excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activities, as set out in Article 51 A, ( h ) and (j) of the Indian Constitution, not only must structures and opportunities be provided, but all forms of gender discrimination must also be eliminated.
It is a mandate for the state to do these acts. Property is one of the important natural resources or resources to grant opportunities, a source to develop personalities, to be independent, a right to the equality of conditions and the dignity of the person. Therefore, the state must create favorable conditions and services for women to realize the right to economic development, including social and cultural rights.500
FUNDAMENTAL DUTY AND REMOVAL OF SOCIAL DISABILITY
The Supreme Court, considering the historical perspective faced by the framers of the Constitution in drafting the Constitution, declared that one of the important objectives to be translated into action was to pay special attention to the backward classes and to the members of the Dalits and the tribes carrying them in the foreground through the pragmatic and providing adequate opportunities for improvement and development, education, employment and the like.
The Hindu social structure was erected by impregnable separation walls with gradual inequalities between different sections of the Hindus. Caste became the result of birth and not of volition. Nobody wants to be born in a particular caste or religion. It is the result of the biological act of parents. However, in the Hindu social structure, caste is the result of birth and has become a nightmare for the individual impulse, prosperity and improvement of excellence, a fundamental duty under Article 51A (j).
The practice of untouchability, which had been growing for centuries, denied the social and economic status and cultural life of the Dalits, and the programs evolved according to Articles 14, 15 (2), 15 (4) and 16 (4) to bring the Dalits to national reality. The mainstream offers equal opportunities and structures.
They are designated as “Schedule Castes”, by definition under Article 366 (25) read with Articles 341 and 342 respectively. The Constitutional philosophy, policy and goal are to remove handicaps, disabilities, suffering, restrictions or disadvantages to which Dalits/Tribes are subjected, to bring them into the national mainstream by providing facilities and opportunities for them.501
IMPLEMENTATION OF FUNDAMENTAL DUTY
When an action or administrative provision of the government involves the problem of the environment and the government is aware of the various considerations that require reflection and deliberation and has reached a conscious decision after taking into consideration, it cannot be for the Court to interfere in the absence of mala fides. On the other hand, if not taken into account the relevant factors and irrelevant considerations influence the decision, the Tribunal can intervene to avoid any damage to the public.
Whenever a problem arises before the Court, the Court is obliged to take into consideration Art. 48-A of the Constitution, the directive principle, which provides that “the State shall endeavour to protect and improve the natural environment and to safeguard the forests and wild life of the country”, and Art. 51-A (g) which states that it is a fundamental duty of every citizen of India “or to protect and improve the natural environment, including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures.” When the Court applies the directive principles and the fundamental duty is required, it must not shrug and say that the priorities are a question of politics, so it is a matter of authority policy.
The least you can do is to check if the Court takes into account appropriate considerations and if irrelevant are excluded. In appropriate cases, the Court could go further, but how much must depend on the circumstances. The court can always give the necessary directions. However, the Court will not attempt to properly balance the relevant considerations. When the application involves a good balance of the relevant considerations, the Court can justify its refusal of the decision of the competent authority.502
Rights and duties are correlative to each other. Fundamental rights are incomplete without fundamental duties. For effective exercise and enforcement of fundamental rights, fundamental duties must be performed by citizens. Although, fundamental duties are not enforceable in the courts of law, these are significant and relevant. These are fundamental in nature. The Preamble, fundamental rights, directive principles and fundamental duties are core constitutional values.
Any legislative, executive or judicial decision must be in accordance with these values. Fundamental duties are equally applicable to State, as well. Any contemporary issue, for example, reservation policy must be consistent with the goal of promoting fraternity among all citizens, guaranteeing the dignity of the individual and the unity of the nation.