What are Fundamental Duties?
The Fundamental Duties are the basic norms to be observed by the citizens towards their State. Fundamental Duties are mentioned under Art.51-A Part IVA of the Indian Constitution. They were added through 42nd Amendment 1976 upon the recommendations of Swaran Singh Committee to pay respect towards the Nation. The Fundamental Rights and Duties are correlative to each other.
Situations around 1975:
This Emergency was declared due to internal disturbance as claimed by Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi. It was declared on 26 June 1975. The Emergency was imposed for a period of 18 months. Herein the Fundamental Rights were again suspended under Art.359 of the Constitution. The electricity was cut off so that no print of newspaper could’ve taken place.
Reasons for 1975 emergency:
- Indira Gandhi said that India’s security and democracy was in danger owing to the movement launched by Jayaprakash Narayan.
- She was of the opinion that there was a need for rapid economic development and upliftment of the underprivileged.
- She also warned against the intervention of powers from abroad which could destabilize and weaken India.
42nd Amendment 1976
The 42nd amendment was imposed during the emergency period by the Congress government headed by Indira Gandhi. It is regarded as the most controversial constitutional amendment and also known as Mini Constitution of India. The following changes were made through this amendment:
- It laid down Fundamental Duties in Part IVA of the constitution.
- This amendment tried to reduce the power of Supreme court and High courts
- Added three words- socialist, secular and integrity in the constitution
- It made the President bound by the advice of the cabinet
Swaran Singh Committee
In the year 1976 this committee was formed to make recommendations on fundamental duties and its importance. It was done with an aim to make the citizens conscious of their duties. Based on this recommendation, the government felt the need for fundamental duties and added Article 51A in the constitution.
44th amendment came in which nullified the full suspension of Fundamental Rights and also made Art. 21& 22 not to be taken away in any case that is at the time of Emergency or in normal course of time.
- Under Art. 359 of Indian Constitution “Internal Disturbance” was replaced by “armed rebellion”.
- Art. 19 of Constitution cannot be suspended on the ground of “armed rebellion” but can be taken away during “war or external aggression”.
- Art. 20 & 21 i.e. right to life and personal liberty cannot be suspended during emergency.
After the 44th Amendment, the Articles given under Part III of the Constitution became operational during the Emergency but cannot be suspended. Such rights can be enforced through approaching the court under Art.32 of the Constitution of India.
VERMA COMMITTEE ON FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES
Verma committee in the year 1999 identified the existence of legal provisions for the implementation of fundamental duties. This committee found out that non- operationalization of fundamental duties was not mainly due to lack of concern or non-availability of legal provisions. The primary reason was lack in implementation strategy. Summary of the legal provisions vis-à-vis fundamental duties is given below:
- Prevention of Insults to National Honor Act, 1971- No disrespect to National Flag
- Emblems and Names(Prevention of Improper Use) Act 1950- To prevent improper use of National Flag and National Anthem
- Unlawful activities (Prevention) act 1976- Declaration of a communal organization as an unlawful association.
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