Most of us talk about the Fundamental Rights guaranteed under India’s Constitution. But the Constitution also lays down a series of Fundamental Duties that all citizens are expected to perform.
Fundamental Duties were not originally a part of India’s Constitution. These duties, which are more in the form of directives, were added through the Forty-second Amendment to the Constitution on December 18, 1976.
The addition was based on the idea that Fundamental Rights have real meaning only if the citizens, too, perform certain duties in the interests of other citizens and their country.
The Constitution says that 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.
- Cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom.
- Uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India.
- Defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so.
- 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.
- Value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture.
- Protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures.
- Develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.
- Safeguard public property and to abjure violence.
- Strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement.
The Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002, added one more Fundamental Duty. It prescribes that it is the duty of a parent or guardian to provide education opportunities to their children or ward between the age of 6 and 14 years.