Fundamental Duty and DPSP Notes

Fundament Duty

What is a Fundamental Duty?

  • After going through the Fundamental Rights, you must have observed and realized that in return for every right, the society expects the citizens to do certain things which are collectively known as duties.
  • Some such important duties have been incorporated in the Indian Constitution also.
  • The original Constitution did not mention anything about the duties of the citizen. It was expected that the citizens of free India would perform their duties willingly. But things did not go as expected.
  • Therefore, Fundamental Duties were added in Part-IV A of the Constitution under Article 51-A in the year 1976 through the 42nd Constitutional Amendment.

Background of Fundamental Duties

  • The need for fundamental duties was actually felt during the period of internal emergency in the country.
  • Swaran Singh committee was set up by the congress party in 1976 to make recommendations about fundamental duties.
  • The committee recommended the inclusion of a set of 8 fundamental duties in the constitution.
  • The government of India accepted the recommendations and 10 fundamental duties were added by the 42nd amendment act 1976.
  • Later, 11th duty was added in the constitution through 86th amendment act 2002.

List of fundamental duties

According to article 51A of the constitution of India, it shall be the duty of every citizen of India -

  1. To abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag, National Anthem.
  2. To cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom.
  3. To uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India.
  4. To defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so.
  5. To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India and to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women
  6. To value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture.
  7. To protect and improve the natural environments including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife.
  8. To develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.
  9. To safeguard public property and not to use violence
  10. 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.
  11. Besides, a new duty has been added after the passage of Right to Education Act, 2009. “A parent or guardian has to provide opportunities for the education of his child/ward between the age of six and fourteen years.”

Features of Fundamental Duties

  • The fundamental duties are confined to citizens only and do not extend to foreigners.
  • Unlike fundamental rights, fundamental duties are not justiciable.
  • Some of the duties are moral while some are civic. For ex – Cherishing the ideals of freedom struggle is a moral duty while respecting the constitution is a civic duty.

Verma Committee on Fundamental Duties

In 1998, the government of India appointed Justice JS Verma committee to operationalise the suggestions to teach fundamental duties to the citizens of the country.

The Verma committee identified the existence of legal provisions for the implementation of some of the fundamental duties:

  • The Prevention of Insults to National Honour act (1971) prevents disrespect to the constitution of India, National flag and National Anthem.
  • The Protection of Civil Rights act 1955 provides for punishments for offences related to caste and religion.
  • The Indian Penal Code declares the imputations and assertions prejudicial to national integration as punishable offences.
  • The Forests (conservation) act of 1980 check indiscriminate deforestation and diversion of forest land for non-forest purpose.
  • The Wildlife (Protection) act of 1972 prohibits trade in rare and endangered species.

Criticism of Fundamental Duties

  • Some of the duties are ambiguous and difficult to be understood by a common man.
  • Their inclusion in the constitution is superfluous as described by some critics.
  • The list of duties is not exhaustive as it does not cover other important duties like casting vote, paying taxes etc.

Directive Principles of State Policy

What are DPSP?

  • These are the ideals that the state should keep in mind while formulating policies and enacting laws.
  • These are the constitutional recommendations to the state in legislative, executive and administrative matters.
  • The DPSP are enumerated in part IV of the constitution, from articles 36 to 51.
  • This feature was borrowed from the Irish constitution.

Features of DPSPs

  • The principles resemble the “Instrument of Instructions” enumerated in government of India act of 1935.
  • DPSP aim at realizing the high ideals of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity as outlined in the preamble to the constitution.
  • The principles embody the concept of “welfare state” and not a “police state” which existed during the colonial era.
  • The DPSP are non-justiciable in nature, that is, they are not legally enforceable by the courts for their violation. However, the constitution (Article 37) itself says that these principles are fundamental in the governance of the country and it shall be the duty of the state to apply these principles in making laws.
  • The principles though non-justiciable in nature, help the courts in examining and determining the constitutional validity of a law.

Constitutional Provisions

Article 36 to 51 of the constitution of India contains the provisions with respect to the


  • Article 36 – This article defines the term “State”. It includes legislative and executive organs of the central and the state governments, all local authorities and all other public authorities in the country.
  • Article 37 - These principles are fundamental in the governance of the country and it shall be the duty of the state to apply these principles in making laws.

Classification of the principles

The principles are classified on the basis of their content and direction; into three broad categories –

  • Socialistic
  • Gandhian
  • Liberal-Intellectual

Socialistic principles

  • Article 38 - The State shall strive to promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting a social order by ensuring social, economic and political justice and by minimising inequalities in income, status, facilities and opportunities
  • Articles 39: The State shall in particular, direct its policies towards securing:

o Right to an adequate means of livelihood to all the citizens.

o The ownership and control of material resources shall be organised in a manner to serve the common good.

o The State shall avoid concentration of wealth in a few hands.

o Equal pay for equal work for both men and women.

o The protection of the strength and health of the workers.

o Childhood and youth shall not be exploited.

  • Article 39A – To promote equal justice and to provide free legal aid to poor.
  • Article 41 - To secure the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disability.
  • Article 42 - The State shall make provisions for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief.
  • Article 43 - The State shall endeavour to secure to all workers a living wage and a decent standard of life.

Article 43 A - The State shall take steps to secure the participation of workers in the management of industries.

  • Article 47: The State shall take steps to improve public health and prohibit consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs that are injurious to health.

Gandhian Principles

  • Article 40 - The State shall take steps to organise village panchayats as units of Self Government
  • Article 43B: To promote voluntary formation, autonomous functioning, democratic control and professional management of cooperative societies
  • Article 46: The State shall promote educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people particularly that of the Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) and other weaker sections.
  • Article 47: The State shall take steps to improve public health and prohibit consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs that are injurious to health.
  • Article 48: To prohibit the slaughter of cows, calves and other milch and draught cattle and to improve their breeds.

Liberal-Intellectual Principles

  • Article 44: The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizen a Uniform Civil Code through the territory of India.
  • Article 45: To provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years.
  • Article 48: To organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines.
  • Article 48A: To protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country.
  • Article 49: The State shall protect every monument or place of artistic or historic interest.
  • Article 50: The State shall take steps to separate judiciary from the executive in the public services of the State.
  • Article 51: It declares that to establish international peace and security the State shall endeavour to:

o Maintain just and honourable relations with the nations.

o Foster respect for international law and treaty obligations.

o Encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration.

Amendments in the constitution with respect to the DPSPs

  • 42nd Amendment act 1976 – This amendment added four new DPSP in the list:

o Article 39

o Article 39A

o Article 43A

o Article 48A

  • 44th amendment act 1978 – This amendment added article 38(2) in the constitution which requires the state to minimize inequalities in income, status, facilities and opportunities.
  • 86th amendment act 2002 – It changed the subject matter of Article 45 and made elementary education a fundamental right under article 21A.
  • 97th amendment act 2011 – It added article 43B (explained above).

Reasons behind non-justiciable nature of DPSP

  • The presence of vast diversity and backwardness in the country would stand in the way of their implementation.
  • The country did not possess sufficient resources to implement them.
  • The newly independent nation might be crushed under the burden unless it was free to decide the order, the time, the place and mode of fulfilling them.

Conflicts between Fundamental rights and DPSP and the associated cases

Champakam Dorairajan v/s the State of Madras (1951)

  • In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that in case of any conflict between the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles, the former would prevail.
  • It declared that the Directive Principles have to conform to and run as subsidiary to the Fundamental Rights.

Golaknath v/s the State of Punjab (1967)

  • In this case, the Supreme Court declared that Fundamental Rights could not be amended by the Parliament even for implementation of Directive Principles.
  • It was contradictory to its own judgement in the ‘Shankari Prasad case’

Kesavananda Bharati v/s the State of Kerala (1973)

  • In this case, the Supreme Court overruled its Golak Nath (1967) verdict and declared that Parliament can amend any part of the Constitution but it cannot alter its “Basic Structure”.
  • Thus, the Right to Property (Article 31) was eliminated from the list of Fundamental Rights.

Minerva Mills v/s the Union of India (1980)

  • In this case, the Supreme Court reiterated that Parliament can amend any part of the Constitution but it cannot change the “Basic Structure” of the Constitution.

Criticism of the DPSP

Non-Justiciable – The principles being non-justiciable in nature are criticized on this ground.

  • KT Shah compared the principles with “a cheque on a bank, payable only when the resources of bank are available.
  • Nasiruddin said that these principles are no better than new year’s resolutions which are broken on 2nd January.

Conservative – Sir Ivor Jennings opined that the directives are deemed to be suitable in India in the middle of 20th century. The question whether they are suitable in 21st century cannot be answered.

Constitutional conflict – K Santhanam has pointed out that the principles lead to a constitutional conflict between the centre and the states, between the president and the PM and between the governor and the CM.

  • For ex – The centre can give directions to the state with respect to the implementation of these principles and in case of non-compliance can dismiss the state government.

Improperly defined – According to N Srinivasan, the principles are neither properly classified nor properly arranged. The principles mix up relatively unimportant issues with the important economic and political issues.

Implementation of DPSP – Acts and Policies

Land Reforms

  • Abolition of intermediaries like zamindars, jagirdars, inamdars, etc.
  • Tenancy reforms like security of tenure, fair rents, etc Imposition of ceilings on land holdings
  • Distribution of surplus land among the landless labourers Cooperative farming

Labour Reforms

  • The Minimum Wages Act (1948)
  • Code on Wages, 2020
  • The Contract Labour Regulation and Abolition Act (1970)
  • The Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act (1986) Renamed as the Child and Adolescent Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act, 1986 in 2016.
  • The Bonded Labour System Abolition Act (1976)
  • The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957
  • The Maternity Benefit Act (1961)
  • The Equal Remuneration Act (1976) have been made to protect the interests of women workers.

Panchayati Raj System: Through 73 Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992, government fulfilled constitutional obligation stated in Article 40. Three tier ‘Panchayati Raj System’ was introduced at the Village, Block and District level in almost all parts of the country.

Cottage Industries: To promote cottage industries as per Article 43, the government has established several Boards such as Village Industries Board, Khadi and Village Industries Commission, All India Handicraft Board, Silk Board, Coir Board, etc., which provide essential help to cottage industries in finance and marketing.

Education: Government has implemented provisions related to free and compulsory education as provided in Article 45. Elementary education was made a fundamental right through the 86th amendment act.

Rural Area Development: Programmes such as the Community Development Programme (1952), Integrated Rural Development Programme (1978-79) and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA-2006) were launched to raise the standard of living particularly in rural areas, as stated in the Article 47 of the Constitution.

Health: Central Government sponsored schemes like National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and Ayushman Bharat are being implemented to fulfil the social sector responsibility of the Indian State.

Environment: The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 and the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 have been enacted to safeguard the wildlife and the forests respectively.

Heritage Preservation: The Ancient and Historical Monument and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act (1958) has been enacted to protect the monuments, places and objects of national importance.

Directives outside part IV

  • Article 335 in part XVI – The claims of members of SCs/STs shall be taken into consideration, with the maintenance of efficiency of the administration.
  • Article 351 in part XVII – It shall be the duty of the union to promote the spread of the Hindi language and to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all.
  • Article 350-A in part XVII – It shall be the endeavour of every state and every local authority to provide adequate facilities for instruction in mother tongue.