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Can an Indian citizen be punished for violation of Fundamental Duties?

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  • Difficulty Level : Medium
  • Last Updated : 20 Jun, 2022

For any country, its people are the ultimate custodians of its constitution. The constitution of any country empowers its citizens and gives them some natural rights also known as Fundamental Rights. However, this relationship is mutual, in the sense that the citizens also empower their constitution. They do it by following, adhering to, and preserving it. For that, the Constitution also set a code of conduct that citizens are expected to follow known as Fundamental duties.

Fundamental Duties are those duties that citizens are expected to follow in order to promote a spirit of patriotism and brotherhood between the people of India. To know more about these duties you can refer to this article https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/fundamental-duties/. These duties were not there in our constitution at the time of its adoption, later it was added after the Swaran Singh committee report. 

Swaran Singh committee was formed soon after the declaration of a national emergency in 1976. The main purpose of this committee was to give recommendations for constitutional amendments in light of past experiences. It made several recommendations about changes in the constitution and terms of government, one of these recommendations was to include a chapter on fundamental duties in the constitution.

The suggestions given by this committee gave us our fundamental duties through the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act (also known as mini-constitution), which added a new part in the constitution Part IV A, it gave us our fundamental duties by inserting a new Article 51A. Later one more duty was added to it in the 86th Constitutional Amendment. The idea of Fundamental Duties in the Indian constitution was inspired by the constitution of the erstwhile USSR.

Significance of Fundamental Duties:

  1. They remind citizens that they have certain duties towards their nation that they are expected to follow.
  2.  They give warning against anti-national activities like burning or disrespecting the flag.
  3.  It seeks to promote a sense of brotherhood and harmony among people of different groups based on religion, caste, language, etc.
  4.  It reminds citizens that they are not only spectators but are active participants in national development and in the journey to fulfill national goals. 

Enforcement of Fundamental Duties:

Fundamental Duties are non-justifiable in nature.  There is no provision in our constitution for the direct enforcement of fundamental duties. Citizens cannot be forced to adhere to them as they are not legally enforceable by the court for their violation. However, Some of them are part of the enforceable law. For example,

  1. To prevent disrespect of the National flag, constitution, and National Anthem, The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 was enacted.
  2. The Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950 was brought to prevent improper use of the National Anthem and National Flag.
  3. The Flag Code of India is embodied to ensure correct usage regarding the display of the National Flag.
  4.  There are a lot of provisions in criminal laws to ensure punishment for those who encourage enmity among groups on the basis of caste religion, race, language, etc.
  5.  Imputations and assertions prejudicial to national integration constitute a punishable offense under article 153B of IPC.
  6.  Any organization can be declared unlawful association under the Unlawful Activities(Prevention) Act 1967.
  7.  Offenses related to religion are addressable under sections 295-298 of IPC.
  8.  Offenses related to caste and religion are punishable under The Protection of Civil Rights Act 1955.
  9.  The Representation of People Act 1951 declares that no one should cite vote on the religious grounds or promote any enmity on the basis of religion, caste, race, or language and termed it as corrupt practices. A person indulged in corrupt practices can be disqualified from being a Member of State Legislature or Parliament under Section 8A of The Representation of People Act 1951.

Conclusion:

Hence we can say that there is no direct provision for punishment for violation of fundamental duties but some of them are part of enforceable law and in these cases, a person can be penalized.

Frequently Asked Questions with Answers:

Q1. What are the significances of Fundamental Duties?

Answer: Significance of fundamental duties are:

  • They remind citizens that they have certain towards their nation that they are expected to follow.
  • They give warning against anti-national activities like burning or disrespecting the flag.
  • It seeks to promote a sense of brotherhood and harmony among people of different groups based on religion, caste, language, etc.
  • It reminds citizens that they are not only spectators but are active participants in national development and in the journey to fulfill national goals.

Q2. If a person disrespects National Flag then it is punishable under which Act?

Answer: To prevent disrespect of the National flag, constitution, and National Anthem, The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 was enacted.

Q3. Explain how The Representation of People Act gives a check on citing votes on religious grounds.

Answer: The Representation of People Act 1951 declares that no one should cite vote on the religious grounds or promote any enmity or hatred between groups of people on the basis of religion, caste, race, or language and termed it as corrupt practices. A person indulged in corrupt practices can be disqualified from being a Member of State Legislature or a Member of Parliament under section 8A of The Representation of People Act 1951.

Q4. Describe how Fundamental Duties promote a sense of brotherhood among people. 

Answer: As discussed in Fundamental Duties that we as a citizen of India should promote harmony among different groups of people based on religion, caste, language, and region. We should respect every religion and promote a sense of brotherhood among us. Offenses related to caste and religion are punishable under The Protection of Civil Rights Act 1955.

Q5. What was the reason behind the formation of the Swaran Singh Committee?

Answer: In the year of 1976 after the declaration of national emergency, Indira Gandhi constituted this committee, the main reason behind its formation was to give recommendations about changes in the constitution and terms of government under the light of past experiences. 

Q6. How can citizens of a nation empower their constitution?

Answer: For any country, its people are the ultimate custodians of its constitution. The constitution of any country empowers its citizens and gives them some natural rights also known as Fundamental Rights. However, this relationship is mutual, in the sense that the citizens also empower their constitution. They do it by following, adhering to, and preserving it. For that, the Constitution also set a code of conduct that citizens are expected to follow known as Fundamental duties. 

Q7. Define Fundamental Duties.

Answer: Fundamental Duties are those duties that citizens are expected to follow in order to promote a spirit of patriotism and brotherhood between the people of India.

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