January 17, 2022



The fundamental duties have the potential to regenerate and reconstruct the nation. It commands that – “it shall be the duty of every citizen of India” – but it is an irony that more than 99 per cent of the citizens of India do not even know about the existence of this article in the Constitution, much less its provisions. The duty of humanity so enforced is not conceived by the law as a duty towards beasts, but merely as a duty in respect of them. He who ill-treats a child violates a duty which he owes to the child and a right which is vested in him. But he who ill-treats a dog breaks no cinculum juries’ between him and it, for there is no bond of legal obligation between them.

Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation, had been dreaming Independent India to be a place where there would be no poverty, no disease, no ignorance, and no depravity. This dream shall materialize, when every citizen solemnly resolves to discharge with all his wisdom and might, the Fundamental Duties enshrined in article 51A of the Constitution.

Rig Veda: “O, citizens of Bharat! As our ancient saints and seers, leaders and preceptors have performed their duties righteously; similarly, you shall not falter to execute your duties”

Keywords: The article will enlighten the reader with, study of fundamental duties in our constitution, how these duties got its place in the constitution, whether these fundamental duties unlike fundamental rights are legally enforceable and study of Fundamental duties as a means to achieve responsible citizenry.


Philosophers often use the following expressions as approximate equivalents: “It is X’s duty to do A”; “It is obligatory for X to do A”; “It would be wrong for X not to do A”; “X ought to do A”. It means that X owes a duty to do a task A. C.H.Whiteley, for instance, says that “duty” and “obligation” are approximate synonyms and that “a duty or obligation is a consequence of a contract or undertaking either explicit or implicit.”[1]

The law consists of certain types of rules regulating human conduct and that the administration of justice is concerned with enforcing the rights and duties created by such rules. Before attempting to define a right, however, it is necessary to define two other terms which are closely connected with it, namely, wrong and duty.[2]

According to Pollock: A wrong may be described, in the largest sense, as anything done or omitted contrary to legal duty, considered insofar as it gives rise to liability.

According to Salmond: “A duty is an obligatory act, that is to say, it is an act opposite to which would be a wrong. Duties and wrongs are correlatives. The commission of a wrong is the breach of the duty and the performance of a duty is the avoidance of wrong”

According to Holland: “A right is Capacity residing in one man of controlling, with the assent and assistance of the state and the actions of others.”

Duty, right and wrong are not separate or divisible heads of legal rules or of their subject-matter, but different legal aspects of the same rules and events. There may be duties and rights without any wrong; this happens whenever legal duties are justly and truly fulfilled. There cannot, of course be a wrong without a duty already existing, but wrongs also create new duties and liabilities.[3]A duty is something owed by one person to another. Corresponding the latter has a right against the former. To ascribe a right to one person is to imply that some other person is under a corresponding duty.[4]


Rights and duties play an important part in the development of a nation or the growth of an organization. Legal rights are those rights which exist under the rules of legal systems and under the law. A legal right is a claim recognizable and enforceable by the law. Rights may be legal, social, or natural and which are allowed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or natural theory. Rights are fundamental to citizens. On the other hand legal duty is the responsibility to others to act according to the law and legal system. People enjoying legal rights need to perform legal duty also equally. So, a legal duty is the responsibility of the citizens of a lawful country.

A perfect right is one which corresponds to a perfect duty. A perfect duty is one which law not merely recognizes but also enforces. In a fully developed legal system, there are rights and duties which though recognized by law but are not perfect in nature. Both are important but we need not take any action for enforcing them.[5]

The right and duty are the two sides of the same coin. If a legal system gives the right to life to its citizen, it also imposes an obligation on him to not to expose his life in trouble, as well as to respect the life and convenience of others. Thus, a strong legal system shall consist of Legal Rights and Legal Duties like its two non-separable parts.

In the words of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, “The moral value of fundamental duties would not be to smoother rights but to establish a democratic balance by making people conscious of their duties equally as they are conscious of their rights.”

Thus, this essay connecting the correlation of Rights and Duties further enlightens the reader with the knowledge of Fundamental Duties as a means to achieve responsible citizenry.


Constitution is the supreme law of India. It is the longest written constitution of any sovereign country in the world, containing 448 articles in 25 parts, 12 schedules and 97 amendments. Besides the English version, there is an official Hindi translation. B. R. Ambekar is the chief Architect of the Indian constitution. Constitution was enacted by the constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949, and came into effect on 26 January 1950. Date 26 January was chosen to commemorate the Purna Swaraj declaration of Independence of 1930.[6]

When the Constitution was adopted in the year 1949, there were no provisions regarding Fundamental Duties to the Citizens though there was a Part III for Fundamental Rights. The Fundamental Duties of citizens were added to the Constitution by the 42nd Amendment in 1976, upon the recommendations of the Swaran Singh Committee that was constituted by the Government. The Committee suggested that steps needed to be taken to ensure that the individual did not overlook his duties while in exercise of his Fundamental Rights.

By way of the 42nd Constitution (Amendment) Act, 1976, a new Chapter IV-A which consists of only one Article i.e. 51-A was added which dealt with a Code of Ten Fundamental Duties for citizens. Fundamental duties are intended to serve as a constant reminder to every citizen that while the constitution specifically conferred on them certain Fundamental Rights, it also requires citizens to observe certain basic norms of democratic conduct and democratic behavior because rights and duties are co-relative. The concept of Fundamental duties was taken from the USSR. The Fundamental duties are essentially taken from the Indian tradition, mythology, religions and practices. Essentially these were the duties that are the codification of tasks integral to the Indian way of life. Originally ten fundamental duties were listed. Later on, by virtue of 86th Constitution the Amendment in year 2002, 11th duty was added.[7]

“In the strict sense, legal rights are correlatives of legal duties and are defined as interests whom the law protects by imposing corresponding duties on others. But in a generic sense, the word ‘right’ is used to mean immunity from the legal power of another, immunity is an exemption from the power of another in the same way as liberty is an exemption from the right of another, Immunity, in short, is no subjection.”[8]

In AIIMS Students Union v. AIIMS[9], speaking about the importance of Fundamental Duties enriched in Art 51-A while striking down the institutional reservation of 33% in AIIMS coupled with 50% reservation discipline wise as violative of Art.14 of the constitution, the supreme court said that they are equally important like fundamental rights.

After having known the history of fundamental duties, given below are the 11 Fundamental Duties of the Constitution of India which every single Citizen of India has to abide for blossoming our Nation.



51A. Fundamental duties. — It shall be the duty of every citizen of India—

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

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

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

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

(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;

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

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

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

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

(j) 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;

(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.

Part IV-A of the constitution Act, 1976, in accordance with the recommendations of the Swaran Singh Committee in order to bring out constitution in the line with Article 29 ( 1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 and the Constitutions of countries like Japan, China, U.S.S.R etc.


The fundamental duties enjoined on citizen under Article 51-A should also guide the legislative and executive actions of elected or non-elected institutions and organizations of the citizens including the municipal bodies.

The legal utility of fundamental duties is similar to that of the directives; while the directives are addressed to the state, so are the duties addressed to the citizens, without any legal sanction for their violation. The citizen, it is expected, should be his own monitor while exercising and enforcing his fundamental rights. He should keep in mind that he owes the duties specified in Article 51-A to the state and if he does not care for the duties, he does not deserve the rights.

Fundamental duties, as defined in Article 51-A 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 51-A are prefixed by the same word ‘fundamental’ which was prefixed by the founding Fathers of the constitution to ‘rights’ in Part –III…… state is all the citizens placed together and hence though Article51-A does not expressly cast any fundamental duty on the state , the fact remains that the duty of every citizen of India is the collective duty of the state…. Constitutional enactment of fundamental duties, if it has to have any meaning, must be used by courts as a tool to tab, even a taboo, on state action drifting away from constitutional values.[10]

According to the constitutional expert D.D.Basu, the constitution does not make any provision to enforce fundamental duties automatically or any sanction to prevent the violation of these duties of the citizen. However, it is expected that if a law is enacted by the legislature to enforce these provisions, it shall not be declared unconstitutional on the ground of its inconsistency with the provisions of Article 14 and that of 19. According to him, these provisions would act as warning to all those who does indulge in not paying due regard to the constitution and destroying public property.

To sum up, these fundamental duties unlike the fundamental rights are not enforceable but have to be imbibed by citizens themselves and the Supreme Court may issue the warning to citizens to take these provisions seriously. The legislature may also enact laws to enforce these duties.


The awakening letter of Mr. Justice Rangnath Mishra, Former Chief Justice of India, addressed to the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, (who took cognizance of it and it was registered as a Writ Petition) said : –

“All of us are experiencing to our horror degrading human behavior in society every day. The deterioration is gradually becoming sharper and unless this fall is immediately arrested and a remedial measure found out and enforced, the situation would not improve. Fundamental Duties have remained in the Constitution Book and have not come out to reach even the class of people who handle the Constitution.”

“If society becomes duty based, everyone in India should turn attention on performance of duties and through such performance ensure and be entitled to the rights of a citizen.”

“…..as a nation-building measure, teaching Fundamental Duties in every educational institution and as a measure of in-service training everywhere was necessary as these cannot be inculcated in our citizens unless these are brought into their minds and living process through teaching and education”.

“….. It is the obligation of the State to educate the citizens in the matter of Fundamental Duties so that a right balance between Rights and Duties may emerge”.

By the above words, it is being discussed below that:

1. How the fundamental duties effectuate the citizens?

2. What are the awareness programme that can be inculcated?

3. What is the criticism of the Fundamental duties?


“Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.”[11]

Clause (a) of article 51-A

A for Anthem= Abide flag, anthem

The first and the foremost duty assigned to every citizen of India is to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem. These are the very physical foundations of our citizenship. All of us are supposed to maintain the dignity of the Constitution by not indulging in any activities in violation of the letter or spirit of the Constitution. Ours is a vast country with many languages, subcultures and religious and ethnic diversities, but the essential unit of the country is epitomized in the one Constitution, one flag, one people and one citizenship. We are all governed and guided by this Constitution irrespective of caste, religion, race, sex, etc.

The National Flag and the National Anthem are symbols of our history, sovereignty, unity and pride. If a citizen of India by any overt or covert act shows disrespect to the Constitution, the National Anthem or the National Flag, it would be not only an anti-social and anti-national activity but it would also spell doom to all our rights and very existence as citizens of a sovereign nation. Each citizen must therefore not only refrain from any such activity but also do his best to prevent any miscreant trying to show disrespect to our national symbols.

With respect to clause (a) of Article 51-A, it has been held that “proper respect is shown to the National Anthem by standing up when the National Anthem is sung. It will not be right to say that disrespect is shown just by not joining in the singing”.[12]Similarly flying of National Flag freely with respect and dignity is consistent with the duty in clause (a).[13]

Clause (b) of article 51-A

B for Babuji = babuji noble ideas

The ideals envisaged in clause (b) are also the ideals of the Constitution some of which are reflected in the other clauses of article 51A itself. The citizens of India must cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired the national struggle for freedom. The battle of freedom was a long one where thousands of people sacrificed their lives for our freedom. It becomes our duty to remember the sacrifices made by our forefathers for the cause of the country. But, what is much more important is to remember, imbibe and follow the ideals which pervaded our unique struggle. It was not a struggle merely for political freedom of India. It was for the social and economic emancipation of the people all over the world. Its ideals were those of building a just society and a united nation of freedom equality, non-violence, brotherhood and world peace. If we, the citizens of India remain conscious of and committed to these ideals, we will be able to rise above the various fissiparous tendencies raising their ugly heads now and then, here and there.

The implementation of such Fundamental Duties requires aspiration of the citizens rather than enforcement or sanction. When at the formative age of life such noble ideals are inculcated and hammered upon, and also practiced in daily life, aspiration to practice them throughout life will be inevitable; it will become part and parcel of the nature and character of the citizen.

Clause (c) of article 51-A

C for centre= unity, sovereignty, integrity

To protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India is a pre-eminent national obligation of all citizens of India. In a democratic system of governance, sovereignty lies with the people. The Fundamental Duty enshrined in clause (c) of article 51-A is essentially addressed to those citizens who belong to the defense forces or responsible for the maintenance of law and order. It can be said that this Fundamental Duty has been well effectuated. This clause, by necessary implication, imposes a Fundamental Duty on every citizen of India that he shall not do anything derogatory of upholding or protecting the sovereignty, unity or integrity of India.

Clause (d) of article 51A

D for defense= defend country when called.

The Fundamental Duty enshrined in clause (d) of article 51-A is contingent on the citizens being called upon to defend the country and render national service. It is obviously addressed to all citizens other than those who belong to the army, the navy and the air force. It is a Fundamental Duty entrusted to the common man as indicated by the expression “when called upon to do so”. Those citizens who belong to any of the three defense forces are entrusted constantly with this Fundamental Duty. This Fundamental Duty has not so far been tested as there has been no occasion when the common man was called upon to render national service and to defend the country from any external aggression. The defense of the country may be needed against external aggression and war mongering armed rebellion within the country.

Clause (e) of article 51A

E for equality= encourage brotherhood and women

The first part of the clause (e) deals with the duty of citizens to promote harmony and spirit of common brotherhood among all the people of India. The harmony and brotherhood are to “transcend” religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities. The second part of the clause gives a mandate to remove prejudices and prejudicial or harmful concepts based on diversity on point of sex. Public opinion, in general, and even the opinion of women themselves, may fluctuate from time to time, and region to region, even from individual to individual. The central core of the concept is indignity to women.

The significance of clause (e) lies in its call to every citizen to renounce such practices. This clause easily lends itself to its effectuation in a concrete case because of its comparatively precise dimension.” [14]

Clause (f) of article 51-A

F for forts= we preserve forts as well as culture.

Our cultural heritage is one of the noblest and the richest. Also, it is part of the heritage of the earth. To preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture is another Fundamental Duty of every Indian citizen.

Clause (g) of article 51A

G for green= green for environment

This duty has received intensive and extensive, legislative and executive attention during the last few years. The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, is an important step in that direction. The range of its provisions and the far-reaching measures that can be undertaken through statutory rules and orders are quite elaborately in our law.

M.C. Mehta (2) Vs Union of India[15], the Supreme Court has held that under Article 51-A (g) it is the duty of the central government to introduce teaching on protection and improvement of natural environment in all educational institutions.

Clause (h) of article 51-A

H for hi-tech and humanism

Scientific temper means outlook founded on organized knowledge and experience. Humanism is primarily rational coupled with emotional quality. Spirit of inquiry and reform is prerequisite for every right action, progress and development. This was particularly necessary because of the most revolutionary scientific advances during the century and in the context of our background of superstitions and obscurantism.

Clause (i) of Article 51-A

I for an I make whole world blind

The clause (i) has been invariably observed in its breach. If violation of the various Fundamental Duties under article 51A is rated, this clause is outstanding. Whenever there is a strike or bandh or rally, and mob mentality develops, public property is the first casualty. Buses and buildings are destroyed, sometimes followed by loot and arson. Where as it is the Fundamental Duty of every citizen to protect public property and abjure violence, they just remain silent spectators – miserable and helpless.

For instance the Protests over the new Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 that began in the North-East last week spread to more states on Sunday, turning violent in parts of West Bengal and Delhi. In Assam’s capital Guwahati, two more persons died of bullet wounds, raising the toll in police firing during the protests to four.[16]

Clause (j) of article 51-A

J for Genius in all aspect.

The clause (j) has the potential not only to regenerate and reconstruct the country but also to raise it to the highest level. “Excellence” is the secret of all development and all success. “Excellence” brings about communion with the Divine “Yogah Karmsu Kaushalm”. Japan and Singapore are living examples. It is amazing that Japan stood up head and shoulders in such a short time after the devastation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The open secret is “Excellence”. Every single citizen, in whatever walk of life he is, endeavors and perseveres for excellence in his project because right from primary schools the word “Excellence” is inculcated in his blood, by displaying numerous mottos, maxims and quotes containing the world “Excellence”.

In Dr. Dasarathi Vs. State of Andhra Pradesh[17], it was held that under article 51A (j) of the Constitution, we all owe a duty to ourselves to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that this nation may constantly rise to higher levels of Endeavour and achievement. When the State undertakes to promote excellence, it can do so only through the methods which our Constitution permits to adopt. Rewarding of sycophancy only helps to retard the growth of efficiency and excellence.

Clause (k) of article 51-A

K for knowledge i.e. education

Thomas Hobbes “Education has direct relation with social and moral development thus its importance is undisputed.”

And in the light of this view of the parliament their came the, 86th Constitutional amendment Act, 2002 however provided for free and compulsory education as a legally enforceable fundamental right for all children between 6 to 14 years of age. Which added clause(k) to Article 51-A of constitution of India. Thus, 51 (A) (k) and 21 (A) mutually correlates with each others to serve the purpose of empowering future of India by Education.


The rights and responsibilities of the citizens in a democracy are immense. And yet no systematic effort was made over the years to educate the citizens in democratic governance. The State and the society have failed to provide adequate means and mechanisms for citizens to identify, imbibe and practice the “Culture of the Constitution”. This failure is mainly responsible for the low level of effectuation of Fundamental Duties.

Mr. Justice Venkataramiah in his landmark judgment in M C Mehta (II) Vs. Union of India and Ors[18]., inter-alia, gave directions that:

(i) the Central Government shall direct to the educational institutions throughout India to teach at least for one hour in a week, lessons relating to protection and the improvement of the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life in the first ten classes;

(ii) the Central Government shall get text books written for the said purpose and distribute them to the educational institutions free of cost;

(iii) the children shall be taught about the need for maintaining cleanliness commencing with the cleanliness of the house, both inside and the outside and with the street in which they live;

(iv) the Central Government shall consider training of teachers who teach this subject by the introduction of short-term courses for such training;

(v) the Central Government, the Governments of the States and all the Union territories shall consider desirability of organizing “keep the city/town/ village clean” week;

(vi) to create a national awareness of the problems faced by the people by the appalling all-round deterioration of the environment..


One of the reasons for erosion of moral values in public life and steep deterioration in work culture is the dilution and deviation of the true spirit behind education. The need of the hour is to reverse this trend. It is the Fundamental Duty of every citizen to develop his whole personality and also that of his sons and daughters and of his pupils in the formative age of nature and character. Sincere and effective inculcation of Fundamental Duties particularly in the younger generation will automatically give rise to aspiration to translate them into daily life. The test whether inculcation has been sincere and effective is as to whether aspiration has arisen in the minds of the students, to implement the Fundamental Duties.

The most purposeful and practical part of Justice Verma Committee Report (1999) is the exposition of ways and means of generating awareness of and inculcating, Fundamental Duties in the citizens. To quote:

“Citizenship is a solemn duty which every individual must discharge with due diligence and dedication. The current conjecture of social, economic and political forces calls for a movement which captures the imagination of masses and motivates all categories of citizens to abide by the provisions of the Constitution in performing their duties and exercising their rights”.

Hence, to sum up it is the duty of the citizen to abide to all the fundamental duties which are promulgated for the successful development of our Nation.

To conclude it in the memorable letter to the Chief Justice of India, Mr. Justice Ranganath Misra said: –

“As a nation-building measure, teaching Fundamental Duties in every educational institution and as a measure of in service training everywhere”, was necessary as these “cannot be inculcated in our citizens unless these are brought into their minds and living process through teaching and education”. “It is the obligation of the State to educate the citizens in the matter of Fundamental Duties so that a right balance between Rights and Duties may emerge.”



1. SALMOND ON JURISPRUDENCE, by P J Fitzgerald, Twelfth Edition.

2. JURISPRUDENCE AND LEGAL THEORY, by V. D. Mahajan’s, fifth edition, Eastern book Company.

3. V. N. SHUKLA’S CONSTITUTION OF INDIA, by Mahindra Pal Singh, thirteenth edition.

4. INDIAN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, by M. P. JAIN, Eighth edition, LexisNexis

5. Durga Das Basu’s Commentary on the Constitution of India , 9th edition, LexisNexis


1. www.legalserviceindia.com

2. www.manupatrafast.com

3. www.indinkanoon.org.


1. State of Rajasthan v. Union of India [AIR (1977) SC 1361]

2. AIIMS Students Union v. AIIMS AIR 2001 SC 3262

3. Bijio Emmanuel v. state of Kerala (1986) 3 SCC 615

4. Union of India v. Naveen Jindal, (2004) 2 SCC 510 ,AIR 2004 SC 1559

5. Vishaka v State of Rajasthan AIR 1997 S.C.301

6. M.C. Mehta (2) Vs Union of India (1983) 1 SCC 471

7. Dr. Dasarathi Vs. State of Andhra Pradesh (1998) 1 SCC 471


[1]The concept of obligation and duty, by R.B.Brandt.
[2] Salmond on jurisprudence, chapter 7, Legal Rights, by P J Fitzgerala
[3] Jurisprudence and legal theory, by V.D.Mahajan’s
[5] Legal Rights: Right Duty Correlation, https://www.toppr.com/
[6] Fundamental Duties under the constitution as Legally Enforceable Duties under Different Statutes,By legalserviceindia.com
[7] Constitution Day and Fundamental Duties, by doj.gov.in
[8] State of Rajasthan v. Union of India [AIR (1977) SC 1361] [9] AIR 2001 SC 3262
[10] AIIMS Students Union v. AIIMS AIR ( 2001) 1 SCC 428, 458-59.
[11] Article 29(1) Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948.
[12] Bijio Emmanuel v. state of Kerala (1986) 3 SCC 615
[13] Union of India v. Naveen Jindal, (2004) 2 SCC 510 AIR 2004 SC 1559
[14] Vishaka v State of RajasthanAIR 1997 S.C.3011)
[15] (1983) 1 SCC 471
[16] https://www.livemint.com/news/india/caa-protests-turn-violent-opposition-steps-up-pressure-in
[17] (AIR: 1985 AP 136)
[18] (1998) 1 SCC 471

Author Details: Anusha. C. Koti (K.L.E Society’s Law College, Bengaluru)

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