“We must focus on duties and right would take care of themselves”- M.K Gandhi

42nd Amendment Act of 1976 added 10 Fundamental Duties to the Indian Constitution. 86th Amendment Act 2002 later added 11th Fundamental Duty to the list. Swaran Singh Committee in 1976 recommended Fundamental Duties, the necessity of which was felt during the internal emergency of 1975-77.

The Fundamental Duties are dealt with Article 51A under Part-IV A of the Indian Constitution. The topic is important for IAS Exam as questions are recurring in all its three stages- Prelims, Mains and Interview.

This article will mention in detail the 11 Fundamental Duties and their importance in India. The topic forms a significant part of UPSC Political Science, which is one of the major subjects in Prelims, Mains GS-II and also optional.


  • Enumerated in Part IV(A) and consist of single Art. 51 A with 11 sub-articles.
  • Originally, Constitution incorporated the duties of the State (DPSPs) only and not for citizens.
  • For the first time, need and necessity of duties was felt during the internal emergency (1975–1977).
  • Added by 42nd CAA 1976, on recommendations of Swaran Singh committee (Committee recommended only Eight Duties, amendment added ten duties).
  • In addition, one more duty added by 86th CAA 200251A(k) = Total 11 duties.
  • Duties are non-enforceable, non-justiciable in nature, parliament can implement them with legislative enactments.
  • Idea of Fundamental Duties inspired from USSR constitution (Now Russia).
  • Duties are applicable only to citizens of India and do not extend to foreigners.
  • Japanese Constitution is the only democratic constitution in the world with a list of duties of citizens.
  • Interestingly, socialist countries accords equal importance to the fundamental rights and duties of their citizens.
  • Duties are much inclusive and comprehensive in spirit – Cover women, environment, tolerance, education, unity and integrity of India, Nobel ideals of national movement among others.


Paying taxes (Recommended by Swaran Singh) and voting in elections are not included in Fundamental Duties.


  • Since ancient times, “Dharma” as sense of duty has been integrated into Indian way of life.
  • Inclusion of part IVA is constitutional endorsement of Indian way of life – tolerance, mutual respect, pluralism, dignity of women, inter alia.
  • Rights and Duties are two sides of same coin – Integral, inseparable and correlative.
  • Performance and observance of Duties would fulfil the promises of Part III and IV.
  • Duties serves as warning and reminder against anti-social activities.
  • Duties signifies and envisages citizen’s active role in process of nation building rather than mute spectator.


Art. 51 A – a To abide the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem (NOT National Song).
Art. 51 A – b To cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom.
Art. 51 A – c To uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India.
Art. 51 A – d To defend the country and render national services when called upon to do so.
Art. 51 A – 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.
Art. 51 A – f To value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture.
Art. 51 A – g To value protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures .
Art. 51 A – h To develop the scientific temper, humanism and spirit of inquiry and reform.
Art. 51 A – I To safeguard public property and to abjure violence.
Art. 51 A – j To strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement.
Art. 51 A – k Duty of the parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child, as the case may be, ward between the age of six and fourteen years (added by 86th Amendment Act, 2002). (DPSP – until six years)


  • Synthesis of moral duties (E.g. noble ideals of freedom struggle) and civic duties (E.g respecting the Constitution).
  • Duties only integrates and codifies the Indian way of life prevalent since antiquity.
  • Serve as a source of inspiration for the citizens and promote a sense of discipline and commitment to fulfil their dreams and aspiration while enjoying rights.
  • Serves as Beacon Light for the judiciary in examining and determining the constitutional validity of a law.
  • Recommended the inclusion of a separate chapter on fundamental duties in the Constitution consists of only one article – Art. 51A
  • Suggested the incorporation of eight Fundamental Duties in the Constitution.
  • Parliament may provide legislation for the imposition of penalty or punishment for non-observance or infringement of duties.
  • Law imposing penalty or punishment shall be out of the purview of judicial review on the ground of infringement of any of Fundamental Rights or on the ground of contravention to any other provision of the Constitution.
  • Duty to pay taxes should also be a Fundamental Duty of the citizens.
  • Recommended reorienting approaches to school curriculum and teacher’s education programmes and incorporating FDs in higher and professional education.
  • National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (2002) recommended to implement the Justice Verma Committee recommendations.
  • Supreme Court in 2003, directed the Central Government to enact a Law for the enforcement of FDs by citizens as recommended by the Justice Verma Committee.

The Verma Committee (1999) identified the existence of following legal provision:

  1. Prevention of insults to National Honour Act (1971)
  2. Protection of Civil Right Act (1955)
  3. Representation of people Act (1951)
  4. Wildlife Protection Act (1972) and Forest Conservation Act (1980)


Sourced from – USA constitution Sourced from – USSR constitution
Part III – Art 12 – 35 Part IV A – Art 51 A
Justiciable and enforceable in nature Neither Justiciable nor enforceable in nature
Applicable (Barring Art.15, 16, 19, 29, 30 – only applicable to Indian citizens) to foreigners as well. Application is limited to Indians only. Not applicable to foreigners.
Embedded in original text of Indian constitution Not mentioned in original constitution. Included by 42nd CAA 1976 and 86th CAA 2002.
Self-enforceable (Except Art. 17) Not Self-enforceable
Responsibility is on the state to protect the rights of citizenry Responsibility is on the individual to observe duties during enjoying rights.
Fundamental Rights are complementary to Duties. Duties are complementary to Fundamental Rights.


Duties are result of rights fulfilment

  • In liberal democracies when citizens are allowed to to exercise their due rights, they will automatically fulfill essential duties towards the prosperity of the nation-state and parallely, the government will take its duties seriously in providing conducive conditions for practising the rights by citizen.
  • For example, when Right to Equality, Against Discrimination, and Minorities Protection is ensured as under Fundamental Rights, Fundamental duties of upholding unity and integrity, promoting harmony, women’s dignity will automatically further as everyone would have a stake in achieving so by fulfilling personal social aims.
  • Similar would be case when Right to Liberty and Freedom is ensured, the individual’s development will lead to excellence, scientific temper and respect for national ideals.
  • In such a process state will do its duties by enabling fulfilling social and economic democracy through DPSP to allow for political democracy i.e. Fundamental Rights.


Rights are result of Duties fulfilment

  • The free citizens should be conscious of their duties while enjoying their rights as rights are not absolute and cannot be enjoyed at the cost of others. This led to the addition of Chapter IV-A on the recommendation of Swaran Singh Committee during the Emergency period.
  • Duties like respect for national ideals, protection of heritage, promotion of harmony at individual level, while promoting welfare of citizens, justice, educational interest of backward classes, ensure judicial independence at the State level in form of DPSP, enables conditions for enjoying rights by a citizen for his/her personal development.

  • Supreme Court (1992) ruled – In determining the constitutional validity of any law, if law in question seeks to give effect to FDs, it may consider such law to be ‘reasonable’ in relation to Art. 14 or Art. 19 and thus saving such law from unconstitutionality.
  • State can make laws to prevent violation of duties.
  • Duties cannot be imposed by writs.
  • Duties are confined only to citizens of India.


  • Terms are vague and difficult to comprehend by common man, leads to different interpretations – e.g. Noble ideals, strive toward excellence, spirit of enquiry.
  • Merely the code of moral precepts due to their non-justiciable nature.
  • Wrongly sequenced – Should have been added after Part III so as to keep them on par with Fundamental Rights.
  • Mere appendage to Part IV (DPSPs) and increased the burden of Part III (FR)
  • List is not exhaustive enough – Paying taxes, voting in election not included.


  1. Duty to foster the spirit of family values and responsible parenthood.
  2. Duty to pay taxes
  3. Duty to vote
  4. Duty of industrial organisation to provide education to the children of their employees.


  • Recently Bombay High Court has said that in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the citizens, who are always protective about their fundamental rights, also need to remind themselves and discharge fundamental duties. ‘In this difficult time, we may remind ourselves that it is a fundamental duty of a citizen to promote harmony and spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India and probably, this is an immediate need of the time,’ the court said.
  • Also, Vice President recently stressed on creating awareness about citizens’ duties and the need to make it part of the curriculum at an appropriate level. He also suggested that a list of fundamental duties be displayed in all the educational institutions, offices and public places across the country.
  • Government also launched campaign to create awareness on fundamental duties on Constitution Day.
  • Overall, a new idea is emerging that fulfilling our duties (both fundamental and legal) is the price that we are paying for living in society. And this price must not be objected by anyone to pay.


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