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This article is written by Bhumi Reddy Vanaja of BA LLB of 4th Year of  Sri Padmavati Mahila Viswa Vidyalayam, Tirupati,  an Intern under Legal Vidhiya


 The term “fundamental duties” refers to a set of obligations placed on a nation’s people in the framework of the Indian Constitution. They serve as a reminder to the populace that in addition to enjoying their rights, they also have obligations to their country. Fundamental Duties are essentially a collection of moral and ethical duties that citizens are supposed to uphold toward their country. A unique aspect of the Indian Constitution are the Fundamental Duties.  Fundamental duties are essential to ensuring proper cooperation between the people and the three branches of government, which is a fundamental feature of the nation. It is expected of citizens to fulfill a number of fundamental obligations. Each Indian citizen is obligated to fulfill multiple moral obligations towards the country. They encourage social consciousness, national integration, and patriotism and are an essential component of the Indian Constitution.  The courts have acknowledged and underlined their relevance even if they are not legally enforceable. Fundamental responsibilities cover a broad range of subjects and include the state, institutions, and citizens. To ensure the country’s success and development, it is imperative that citizens fulfill their fundamental tasks and uphold the ideals outlined in the Constitution.


Indian Constitution, Article 51-A, Historical Background, Fundamental Duties, Fundamental Rights, Directive principles of state policy, Importance of fundamental duties.


A new addition to the Indian Constitution in recent decades is the Fundamental Duties. The primary goals of fundamental obligations were to give citizens a set of norms that they had to follow. In order to guarantee Indian sovereignty, secularism, unity, and fraternity among its population, the fundamental obligations were introduced. It’s noteworthy to notice that in order to foster unity among its citizens, our Indian government saw the need to adopt certain basic obligations. Citizens’ fundamental duties have a beneficial function. Specifically, no democracy can thrive if its people are unwilling to take an active role in the political process, fulfill their social obligations, take on responsibilities, and volunteer to serve their nation. A few of the essential obligations contained in article 51A have been included in other statutes. Even though Indian traditions and mentality have historically placed a larger focus on duties, there has been a somewhat disproportionate emphasis on citizens’ rights relative to their obligations. As it happens, duties and rights are really just two sides of the same coin. Every right is accompanied by an equal obligation. Only properly completed obligations are entitled to rights. An unalienable component of a right is obligation, which includes respecting the rights of others, not harming them, and upholding human life. Everyone’s rights would be automatically safeguarded if each person carried out their assigned duties.[1] Moral obligations to cherish national values, culture, legacy, riches, traditional resources, human relations, and the emotional attachment to India as one’s own country are known as fundamental duties for Indian nationals. A nation can progress toward development by enacting fundamental duties. Given that it has embraced numerous notions of obligations and rights that aid in establishing democracy, India is recognized as a developing country. One obligation that aids in reducing and managing the climate catastrophe, for example, is environmental protection. This promotes progress without being significantly impacted by calamity. If citizens don’t learn to take responsibility, democracy won’t be possible. India’s long-standing goal has been to attain “Kartavya” equilibrium, which necessitates a concentration on successfully carrying out duties.  It is the primary responsibility of each and every Indian to work and contribute to the nation’s growth. Every Indian citizen should make an effort to fulfill all essential responsibilities by employing excellent practices and modest conduct in daily life. This paper analyzes my own behavior in terms of fundamental duties and focuses on the theoretical components of Article 51-A.


The Fundamental Duties were not included in the original Indian Constitution. However, from 1975 to 1977, when the internal emergency was in action, their need and necessity were felt. In light of this, the government took the following actions, which resulted in the addition and development of India’s Fundamental Duties:

Sardar Swaran Singh Committee

The Sardar Swaran Singh Committee was established by the Indian government in 1976 to provide suggestions regarding Fundamental Duties.[2] The Committee noted that citizens have responsibilities in addition to exercising their rights. As a result, it suggested that the Constitution include a distinct chapter on fundamental duties that would include a list of the eight principles.

However, the administration decided not to take three of these committees’ recommendations into account.

  • The authority to enact legislation implementing these obligations and to impose penalties for their violation should be granted to Parliament.
  • Even if such a law infringes upon a basic right, it will still be upheld.
  • For the Indian people, paying taxes ought to be a fundamental obligation.

42nd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1976

The Sardar Swaran Singh Committee’s recommendations were adopted by the Central Government, which also resolved to include a list of essential obligations in the Indian Constitution. In 1976, it passed the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act, adding a new section (Part IVA) to the Constitution as a result. Article 51A, the sole article in this new section, outlines ten essential responsibilities for Indian citizens. It should be mentioned that the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act contained ten Fundamental Duties, notwithstanding the Swaran Singh Committee’s recommendation that just eight be included.[3]

Justice Verma committee

The Justice Verma Committee was founded in 1998 with the goal of devising a plan and technique for implementing a global program that would make the fundamental duties enforceable in all kinds of educational institutions and teach these duties in every school.[4] The committee knew that the Fundamental responsibilities were not operable, which is why it took this action. The committee concluded that, rather than a lack of concern, the reason for non-operationalization was a lack of plan for its implementation.

The committee made the following provisions:

  • The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, states that no one may disobey the national anthem, flag, or Indian Constitution.  
  • Numerous criminal laws have been passed that penalize those who incite hatred toward others based on factors such as race, religion, or language.
  • The Protection of Civil Rights Act of 1955 established penalties for offenses pertaining to caste and religion.
  • Certain parts of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, deem it an offense to make accusations and statements that undermine the integrity and unity of the country.
  • The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 was created to shield community organizations from being labeled as illegal associations.
  • The Representation of the People Act, 1951, stipulates that members of the state legislature and the parliament are subject to legal consequences if they engage in corrupt activities such as requesting votes in the name of their faith.
  • Rare and endangered species are protected from commerce by the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972.
  • In order to ensure that Article 51A(g) was correctly applied, the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 was put into effect.

86th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2002

  • One further Fundamental Duty was established by the 86th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2002: giving his kid or ward between the ages of six and fourteen chances for education.
  • Since then, the Indian Constitution’s list of fundamental duties has remained unchanged.[5]

According to the Unnikrishnan Judgement,[6] every citizen under the age of 14 is entitled to free, obligatory schooling. The government endeavored to establish education as a fundamental right in response to the growing public desire for education. An addition was made to Article 51A in 2002. Article 51(j), which declared that it is a fundamental responsibility of every citizen who is a parent or guardian to give chances for free and compulsory education to a child who is between the ages of six and fourteen, was followed by Article 51(k).


From the USSR (Russia) Constitution, the fundamental duties are extracted. We have now brought our constitution into compliance with Article 29(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, other contemporary constitutions, and other standards by adding fundamental duties.

Part IV-A of the Indian Constitution contains only one article, Article 51A, which addresses fundamental duties. The 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 inserted it to the Constitution. India’s inhabitants were given a code of 11 basic duties for the first time. According to Article 51-A, every Indian citizen has the following obligations:[7]

List of Fundamental Duties in India

  1. To honor the National Flag, the National Anthem, and the values and institutions of the Constitution.
  2. To uphold and adhere to the noble principles that motivated the country’s independence movement.
  3. To preserve and safeguard India’s sovereignty, unity, and integrity.
  4. To protect the nation and perform national duty when required.
  5. To uphold customs that diminish the dignity of women and to foster harmony and a sense of common brotherhood among all Indians, regardless of their differences in language, religion, geography, or social class.
  6. To honor and protect the nation’s diverse culture’s rich legacy.
  7. To show kindness toward all living creatures and to protect and improve the natural world, which includes forests, water bodies, rivers, and wildlife.
  8. To cultivate humanism, a spirit of inquiry and reform, and a scientific temper
  9. To prevent violence and protect public property
  10. To pursue excellence in all areas of personal and group endeavor in order to propel the country forward to greater efforts and accomplishments; and
  11. To give his kid or ward between the ages of six and fourteen opportunities for education (added by the B6th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2002.


The following are some of the unique characteristics of the Indian Constitution’s Fundamental Duties, as stated in Article 51-A:

Non-Justifiable: These obligations cannot be enforced by the courts in accordance with the law. Nonetheless, they act as moral duties and tenets for citizens.

Application Scope: Only citizens are subject to these obligations; foreigners are not.

Derived from Various Sources: The Constitution of the former Soviet Union, Mahatma Gandhi’s ideas, and the opinions of other constitutional experts are some of the sources from which these responsibilities are inspired. They show a synthesis of ideals from around the world and the country.

Directive Nature: By acting as a moral compass and guiding citizens’ behavior, these duties help to create a community that is law-abiding and responsible.

Codification of Indian Values: These are the principles that have guided Indian customs and traditions. As such, they are essentially a systematization of duties that are vital to the Indian way of life.

Moral and Civic: Some of them are civic obligations, like upholding the Constitution, while others are moral obligations, such preserving the lofty goals of the national independence movement.


  1. In the Bijoe Emmanuel v. State of Kerala case,[8] sometimes referred to as the National Anthem Case, three Jehovah’s Witness children faced expulsion from their school after they refused to perform the National Anthem. The Director of Instructions, Kerala, published a circular requiring schoolchildren to sing the national anthem before class began. These three kids stood up out of respect rather than joining in on the National Anthem. Because it was against their religious beliefs and their faith would not allow it, they did not sing the National Anthem. They were kicked out on the grounds that they had disregarded their basic responsibilities and broken the Prevention of Insult to National Honour s Act, 1971. The court overturned the High Court’s ruling because the defendants were not in violation of the Prevention of Insult to National Honour s Act, 1971, and they stood in show of respect rather than singing the national anthem.
  2. The Supreme Court ruled in M.C. Mehta (2) vs. Union of India,[9] that all educational institutions must provide a weekly teaching session on the preservation and enhancement of the natural environment lasting at least one hour. The Central Government is obligated by Article 51A(g) to implement this program in all educational institutions. Along with increasing awareness of a clean environment, the Central Government should also provide free publications on the same subject to all institutions. At the very least once a year, the government ought to plan a “keep the city clean” week.
  3. In the case of AIIMS Students Union v. AIIMS,[10] the Supreme Court ruled that fundamental duties are just as important as fundamental rights. As a result, the Court struck down AIIMS’s institutional reservation policy, which was in violation of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution. The 33% institutional reservation policy was coupled with a 50% discipline-wise reservation. The court further stated that these obligations cannot be disregarded only because they are duties. They are equally important to the fundamental rights.
  4. The validity of the National Curriculum Framework for School Education was upheld by the court in Aruna Roy v. Union of India[11], The framework had been challenged on the grounds that it was anti-secular and violated Article 28 of the Indian Constitution because it included value-development education that covered the fundamentals of all religions. The court held that neither the idea of secularism nor Article 28 are violated by education, nor that the NCFSF makes any reference to the giving of religious instruction, which is forbidden by that article.
  5. In the case of Dr. Dasarathi vs. State of Andhra Pradesh,[12] the court determined that, in accordance with Article 51(j), each citizen has an obligation to constantly pursue excellence in all aspects of life and to contribute to collective endeavors so that the country consistently reaches new heights in endeavor and accomplishments. In order to do this, the State may offer means of achieving excellence in accordance with the techniques approved by the Indian Constitution.
  6. In Government of India v. George Philip[13], the respondent from the service contested the mandatory retirement. The department gave him two years of leave so he could pursue graduate research training. He was repeatedly reminded not to remain too long in another country, and eventually an investigation was launched and the accusation was validated. With the condition that no back pay would be given, the High Court gave him the opportunity to rejoin the military, but the Supreme Court overturned this decision. The Supreme Court ruled that in order for the nation to continuously advance to a higher level of endeavor, it is imperative that individuals always strive for excellence in all areas of their lives as well as for collective activity. According to Article 51A(j), this is because excellence and achievements cannot be attained unless employees maintain their discipline. The court further declared that no judgment should be rendered by a court that nullifies the fundamental provisions of Article 51A, and in this instance, the judgment rendered by the High Court did just that.
  7. In the case of Javed v. State of Haryana,[14]  the court ruled that the fundamental rights must be interpreted in conjunction with the fundamental duties outlined in Article 51A of the Indian Constitution and the part IV of the Constitution’s guiding principles for state policy. You cannot read them separately.


The government established essential duties in an effort to forge a solid foundation and a strong sense of national identity. It fosters a sense of harmony within the society in addition to emphasizing human dignity. The only way our society can grow is if each and every person works to close the holes in it by carrying out their societal responsibilities. The Indian Constitution does not contain any provisions for the execution of such duties; hence, judicial changes are sometimes necessary to implement them. Everyone must carry out their responsibilities if they wish to see the realization of their fundamental rights.

The importance of fundamental duties are:

  • Essential responsibilities serve as a continual reminder to citizens that they have national responsibilities in addition to their fundamental rights.
  • These responsibilities serve as a warning to the public about engaging in any kind of antisocial behavior.
  • These responsibilities allow people to actively participate in society instead than just watching it happen.
  • These responsibilities foster a disciplined and socially conscious mindset.
  • The courts can assess whether a statute is constitutional by looking at its core obligations. A law will be deemed reasonable if it is being challenged in court for being unconstitutional and if it enforces any of the fundamental duties.
  • If a legislation upholds fundamental rights, the Parliament may impose penalties or punishments for any violations of those rights.

The Indian Supreme Court mandated that national anthems be played in theaters while the national flag is being displayed. The Supreme Court made a noteworthy decision by emphasizing the significance of the fundamental obligations.[15]


One way to describe the connection between fundamental rights and duties is as correlative and complementary.[16]

Article 19 guarantees the right to free speech and expression. It does, however, also stipulate that the state may place reasonable limitations on this right, among other reasons, on the grounds of India’s sovereignty and integrity and national security.Citizens have a fundamental duty “to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity, and integrity of  India,” according to Article 51A(c).
The right to decent and dignified treatment for women is encompassed within the scope of Article 21.The citizens are instructed “to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women” by Article 51A(e).
For all children aged 6 to 14, free and compulsory education is guaranteed by Article 21A.Citizens are asked “to provide opportunities for education to his child/ward between the age of 6 and 14 years” under Article 51A(k).
The State may impose mandatory service for public objectives, such as military duty, according to Article 23(2).Citizens are urged “to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so” under Article 51A(d).


Hence, there is a correlative and complementary relationship between DPSPs and Fundamental Duties.

The state is tasked with “protecting and improving the environment and safeguarding forests and wildlife,” according to Article 48A.Citizens have a fundamental obligation “to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, wildlife, etc.” according to Article 51A(g).
The state shall “provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years,” according to Article 45.Citizens are asked “to provide opportunities for education to his child/ward between the age of 6 and 14 years” under Article 51A(k).
Monuments, places, and objects of artistic and historic interest which are declared to be of national importance” is the state’s mandate as stated in Article 49.To value and preserve the rich heritage of the country’s composite culture,” is what Article 51A(f) requests of its residents


The interdependence of the Preamble and the Fundamental Duties stems from their shared promotion of the goals and principles found in the Indian Constitution. The Preamble sets forth the goals and tenets of the Constitution, whereas the Fundamental Duties specify how citizens are expected to contribute to the accomplishment of these goals.[18]

The Constitution’s objectives of “justice,” “liberty,” “equality,” and “fraternity” are stated in the Preamble. Therefore, we must recall and uphold these constitutional objectives in every word, action, and thought.The National Anthem, the National Flag, and the Constitution’s institutions are all to be respected, as stated in Article 51A(a).
The Indian Preamble makes reference to these fundamental principles.“To uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity, and integrity of India,” reads Article 51A(c).
“Fraternity” is mentioned in the Preamble to the Constitution as ensuring both the unity and integrity of the country and the dignity of the person.In Article 51A(e), it is stated that “all the people of India should strive towards harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood, transcending religious, linguistic, regional, or sectional diversities.”


There were several reasons to criticize basic obligations. Among them are:

  1. Some who disagree view the list of essential responsibilities as all-inclusive. They believe that this list omits a number of much more significant responsibilities, such as filing taxes and using one’s right to vote, which the Swaran Singh Committee also recommended.
  2. The complicated terms used in the basic duties, such as composite culture, are beyond the comprehension of the average man. It is impossible to determine the genuine meaning due to misunderstanding. Such words are hard for him/her to understand. Furthermore, the nature of many obligations is unclear.
  3. Some argue that it is pointless to have these requirements in the Constitution as they cannot be enforced by a court of law.
  4. Certain responsibilities, like showing respect for the national flag and anthem, are of such a character that they must always be carried out by the citizen. Therefore, the Constitution did not need to contain these obligations.
  5. These responsibilities get less weight because they are positioned under Part IV-A of the Indian Constitution, which comes after the Directive Principles of State Policy. Critics contend that it ought to come after the Fundamental Rights in Part III.


The new aspects of the Indian Constitution are the fundamental duties. They act as an ongoing reminder to all citizens that although the Constitution explicitly grants them certain fundamental rights, the proper execution of those rights also depends on them abiding by a set of fundamental standards of conduct. To make people aware of their responsibilities to the nation and society, it is imperative that they develop a sensitive knowledge of their tasks. The people are dedicated to establishing what Mahatma Gandhi called “The India of My Dreams,” combining the values of democracy in all of its forms. The fundamental duties serve as a reminder to the public that In addition to exercising their rights, people should be aware of the obligations they have to their nation, society, and fellow citizens. They act as a warning against anti-social and anti-national actions like burning the national flag, damaging public property, and other such acts. They also serve as a source of inspiration for the populace and encourage discipline and commitment among them. The most significant aspect of the fundamental obligations is that they comprise the standards of conduct that individuals would have adhered to even in the absence of their mention. These are the fundamental qualities of humanity that each and every person must embrace and uphold.  The public’s fundamental duties are extremely important because they serve as a deterrent to any anti-social, immoral, or unethical behavior and guarantee that no such act is committed by the public that results in the defamation of the nation and its citizens, such as burning the Indian flag, causing any damage to public property and monuments, or upsetting public order.


  1. M.P. JAIN, Indian Constitutional law 8th edition 2018. Visited on 17-04-2024.
  2. Gazette of India., (2021). The Constitution of India. Published by Ministry of Law and Justice (Legislative Department). Retrieved from https://legislatiev.gov.in/constitution-of-india  visited on 17-04-2024.
  3. Laxmikanth. M. (2017). Indian polity. India: Mc Graw Hill Publication.
  4. Khan. T. (2022). Article 51-a: Fundamental Duties. Retrieved from https://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/aerticle-5780-fundamental-duties-in-india-articel-51-a-.html  visited on 17-04-2024.
  5. P.M. Bakshi, The Constitution of India, 18th edition 2022. Visited on 17-04-2024.
  6. Unnikrishnan Judgement, 1993 AIR 2178, 1993 SCR (1) 594 . Visited on 17-04-2024.
  7. Bijoe Emmanuel vs. State of Kerala, 1987 AIR 748, 1986 SCR (3) 518 visited on 17-04-2024.
  8. M.C. Mehta (2) V. Union of India (1983) 1 SCC 471. Visited on 17-04-2024.
  9. AIIMS Student Union V. AIIMS AIR 2001 SC 3262. Visited on 17-04-2024.
  10. Aruna Roy V. Union of India AIR 2002 SC 3176. Visited on 17-04-2024.
  11. Dr. Dasarathi Vs. State of Andhra Pradesh (AIR: 1985 AP 136. Visited on 17-04-2024.
  12. Government of India  of V. George Phillip AIR 2007 SC 705. Visited on 17-04-2024.
  13. Javed vs. State of Haryana, (2003) 8 SCC 369. Visited on 17-04-2024.
  14. INDIA CONSTITUTION, art 51-A, amended by The Constitution (forty second amendment) act 1976.

[1] https://egyankosh.ac.in/bitstream/123456789/57885/1/Unit6.pdf  visited on 17-04-2024.

[2]  https://www.nextias.com/blog/fundamental-duties/ visited on 17-04-2024.

[3] Raman, Sunder. (1977). Fundamental Rights and the 42nd Constitutional Amendment. Calcutta, India: Minerava Associates Publications Pvt. Ltd. Visited on 17-04-2024.

[4] https://lawbhoomi.com/fundamental-duties-as-a-means-to-achieve-responsible-citizen/ visited on 17-04-2024.

[5] https://www.nextias.com/blog/fundamental-duties/ visited on 17-04-2024.

[6] Unnikrishnan Judgement, 1993 AIR 2178, 1993 SCR (1) 594 . Visited on 17-04-2024.

[7] M.P. JAIN, Indian Constitutional law 8th edition 2018. Visited on 17-04-2024.

[8] Bijoe Emmanuel vs. State of Kerala, 1987 AIR 748, 1986 SCR (3) 518  visited on 17-04-2024.

[9] M.C.MEHTA (2) V. UNION OF INDIA (1983) 1 SCC 471. Visited on 17-04-2024.

[10] AIIMS STUDENT UNION V. AIIMS AIR 2001 SC 3262. Visited on 17-04-2024.

[11] ARUNA ROY V. UNION OF INDIA AIR 2002 SC 3176. Visited on 17-04-2024.

[12] Dr. Dasarathi Vs. State of Andhra Pradesh (AIR: 1985 AP 136. Visited on 17-04-2024.

[13] GOVERNMENT OF INDIA V. GEORGE PHILIP AIR 2007 SC 705. Visited on 17-04-2024.

[14] Javed vs. State of Haryana, (2003) 8 SCC 369. Visited on 17-04-2024

[15] https://blog.ipleaders.in/fundamental-duties-2/ visited on 17-04-2024.

[16] https://byjus.com/free-ias-prep/difference-between-fundamental-rights-and-fundamental-duties/#:~:text=The%20Fundamental%20Duties%20are%20defined,suspended%20during%20a%20national%20emergency. Visited on 17-04-2024.

[17] https://lawbhoomi.com/relation-between-dpsps-and-fundamental-rights/ visited on 17-04-2024.

[18] https://www.nextias.com/blog/fundamental-duties/ visited on 17-04-2024.

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