Enumeration of fundamental duties is a Constitutional novelty. Such enumeration does not appear in any other constitution anywhere in the world. During the years, preceeding the emergency (1975-77) the entire opposition to the established Government of India was so severe that nobody could hold himself or herself responsible to anyone particularly to the state. It is under these circumstances, the parlament found it expedient to incorporate fundamental duties in the constitution. The reasoning is that those who claim protection and promotion of fundamental rights shall necessarily bind themselves by the duties of a citizen. It is to emphasize this aspect the following are listed as fundamental duties, under Art 51 A of the constitution which reads as follows:
“It shall be the duty of every citizen of India.
- To abide by the constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National flag and the National Anthem.
- To cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired on national struggle for freedom.
- To upheld and protect the sovereignty, Unity and integrity of India.
- To defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so.
- To promote harmony and sprit of common brotherhood among all people of India, transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities, to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women.
- To value and preserve the rich heritage of composite culture.
- To protect and improve natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life and to have compassion for living creatures.
- To develop scientific temper, humanism and a sprit of enquiry and reform.
- To safeguard public property and to abjure violence.
- To strive towards in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly raises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement.
There is no mechanism by which the fundamental duties can be enforced. They can be enforced only through non government organizations engaged in positive developments on good citizenship. In case of any emergency work needing protection of people against calamities, it is of the non-governmental organization which can secure the citizens the strength to get over the tragedies. The need for duties of good citizenship may be invoked by the courts in restraining people from resorting to agitational programmes. The courts have been doing good work in this field by suggesting to the warring groups and compelling them to such negotiations. The use of the chapter on fundamental duties may also arise in cases where the Government proposes to help excellence in the fields of education and sports. Abstract exhortations to abide by the duties of a good citizen may not work unless they are translated into concrete programmes by the Government.
The chapter on the fundamental duties of citizens infact directs to the Government to promote good citizenship through appropriate programmes.
That apart, the use of this chapter will certainly enable the court in the fair interpretation of the provisions of law; in a manner which will be of help not only to the persons effected by the statute and also to sympathetic enforcement of the laws.
[Ref.: T.N. Godavarman Thirumalpad v. Union of India, 2002 (10) SCC 606.]