The original constitution contained only the fundamental rights and not the fundamental duties. Later in 1976, the fundamental duties of citizens were added in the Constitution.
In 2002, one more Fundamental Duty was added.
The Fundamental Duties in the Indian Constitution are inspired by the Constitution of erstwhile USSR.
Swaran Singh committee recommendations: In 1976, the Congress Party set up the Sardar Swaran Singh Committee to make recommendations about fundamental duties.
The Congress Government at Centre accepted these recommendations and enacted the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act in 1976.
This amendment added a new part, namely, Part IVA to the Constitution.
This new part consists of only one Article, that is, Article 51A which for the first time specified a code of ten fundamental duties of the citizens.
Interestingly, certain recommendations of the Committee were not accepted by the Congress Party and hence, not incorporated in the Constitution. These include:
1. The Parliament may provide for the imposition of such penalty or punishment as may be considered appropriate for any non-compliance with or refusal to observe any of the duties.
2. No law imposing such penalty or punishment shall be called in question in any court on the ground of infringement of any of Fundamental Rights or on the ground of repugnancy to any other provision of the Constitution.
3. Duty to pay taxes should also be a Fundamental Duty of the citizens.
List of fundamental duties: According to Article 51 A, 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 that inspired the 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 and to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;
(f) To value and preserve the rich heritage of the country’s composite culture;
(g) To protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures;
(h) To develop 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; and
(k) To provide opportunities for education to his child or ward between the age of six and fourteen years. This duty was added by the 86th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2002.
Unlike some of the Fundamental Rights which extend to all persons whether citizens or foreigners, the Fundamental Duties are confined to citizens only and do not extend to foreigners.
Like the Directive Principles, the fundamental duties are also non-justiciable. The Constitution does not provide for their direct enforcement by the courts. Moreover, there is no legal sanction against their violation. However, the Parliament is free to enforce them by suitable legislation.