Fundamental Duties Article 51-A

Fundamental Duties Article 51-A

Fundamental Duties Article 51-A

The 3rd Emergency of our nation in 1975, which lasted till 2 years at that time the news papers looks was like this only. By using Article 352, the then Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi advised the then President Sh. Fakruddin Ali Ahmed that Emergency should be implanted all over the country. After that on 25th June 1975, suddenly over night emergency was imposed all over the nation. It was not the first time that it happened, before this also emergency was imposed 2 times earlier in India, 1st during the India-China war in 1962 and second time was during India – Pakistan war in 1971.

After the war of India – Pakistan in 1971 the whole nation was in suffering, GDP was reduced, unemployment was on its height, Oil Crisis, Droughts, Railway Strike and etc. etc. like this and In the middle of this the famous Jay Prakash Narayan’s Sampoorna Kranti movement was also started So after realizing that soon things could go out of her hand and after seeing the heat of matters, Smt. Indira Gandhi implemented Emergency all over the country After that, the major leaders of the opposition parties along the leaders of Congress who were opposing emergency were arrested soon by the signal of Prime Minister, after the emergency and make you know that at that time while emergency, no individuals were left with any rights and freedom Even in newspapers before the news could be published, it was censored by Information and Broadcast Ministry.

The emergency period which lasted till 2 years is still known as the darkest period of India’s freedom and democracy. While this period government used its power to the most and introduced major changes in the Constitution. So among these changes we will look today about that one big change which was made. Every right has its co relative duty, like if you want that no neighbor should disturb you and you live peacefully then this is your duty also that you should also behave like same and give no disturbance to others. Like this in 1975, Indian government felt that Indians have no realization of their duties. So in 1976 while emergency Indian government formed a committee to make realization of duties to the citizens. That committee was Sardar Swaran Singh Committee.

Originally in our constitution there were only fundamental rights, fundamental duties was not even in frame. So this committee recommended that we should introduce a separate dedicated chapter for fundamental duties. Congress government accepted this committee’s recommendation and the government came up with 42nd Amendment Act in the year 1976. This particular act was so big and it brought many major changes and it, itself known as Mini constitution. So now after 42nd Amendment Act, a new chapter was added in the constitution i.e. Chapter 4 A. This chapter is all about fundamental duties, this whole chapter is made up of only 1 Article i.e. Article 51-A. 10 fundamental duties are given in this Article and after words during the introduction of 86th Amendment Act of 2002, 1 more fundamental duty was added through this 86th Amendment act.

You have to remember that by the recommendation of Swarna Singh committee 42nd Amendment act came in which from (a -j) 10 fundamental duties are given and after that 86th Amendment act added 1 more fundamental duty (k). So currently Indian Citizens have 11 fundamental duties, Let’s see that the Fundamental Rights of Part 3 were mainly available for the citizens but it was also available for some non-citizens. But fundamental duties are only applicable on the citizens of India.

Let us know that what the main purpose of the fundamental duties is. Firstly, when there is any anti-social activity like burning flags, disrespect of the Constitution, against all these anti-social activities, fundamental duties act as a warning that you are not supposed to do like this. Secondly, fundamental duties are a kind of reminder that also reminds that you have the rights to enjoy your fundamental rights. But along this you have to be responsible towards your duty also, so it is a reminder also. Along with this, to achieve the national goals, fundamental duties promote discipline and commitment also.

So these 3 were the main objectives of the fundamental duties. The biggest loop hole of the fundamental duties is that they are “Non-Enforceable”. Non- Enforceable means if you not follow the fundamental duties then also you can’t be fined or penalized for not following the fundamental duties. For this reason fundamental duties are also known as sanction-less duties. It doesn’t matter if you are not following the fundamental duties you will not be sanctioned for that. But, this loop hole can also be overcome, if Parliament enact a law then the duties can also be enforced like, these 4 duties out of the 11 (a,g,i,k) if you see this, these duties are automatically enforced on us through legislation.

Let’s have a look on some important case laws related to fundamental duties. First is Bijoe Emmanuel vs State of Kerala which is popularly known as the National Anthem Case. In this case it was said that on personal religion or on the sentiments of faith if you can’t sing National Anthem then it’s alright. But Article 51-A clause (a) says that it is every citizen’s duty to respect National Anthem and National Flag. Therefore, for enforcing this fundamental duty and to save our National Flag, National  Anthem and the Constitution of India from the disrespect, Parliament Enacted- Prevention of Insults to National Honor Act, 1971. Similarly, if parliament wants, it can introduce an Act and can enforce the fundamental duties.

Every person has a right that he can enjoy a pollution free environment. But in the case of MC Mehta vs Union of India (1983), Supreme court said that for full filling the mandate of clause (g) of Article 51 – A on every educational institute, Central government should introduce the lessons on Protection and Improvement of Natural Environment for fulfilling the mandate of the Article, Wild life (Protection Act) and Forest (Conservation Act) helps it.

Now we look at 86th Amendment Act. This Act changed 2 major things, firstly it introduced a new fundamental right i.e. Art 21 – A. This fundamental right says that state will provide compulsory and free education to the child of 6-14 years. For strengthening this fundamental right, parliament passed Right to Education Act along with this newly added fundamental duty introduced under Article 51-A clause (k). This duty says that along with state it is the duty of the parents of the children (6 – 14 years) that they should provide necessary education. So like this only a new fundamental duty was introduced.

Also Read: Sources of Indian Constitution.

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Bhupendra Sharma

"Bhupendra Sharma is a practicing lawyer at Rajasthan High Court who completed his graduation from the University of Rajasthan. He has pursued his LLM from Acharya Nagarjuna University. He is also a degree holder in Master of Education and Master of Business Administration."