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Which Committee Advocated the Fundamental Duties in the Indian Constitution?

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  • Difficulty Level : Medium
  • Last Updated : 16 Jun, 2022

Sardar Swaran Singh Committee recommended the Fundamental Duties in the Indian constitution in the year 1976. At the time of adoption, the Indian constitution didn’t have any fundamental duties because the framers of our constitution did not deem it appropriate to add those duties to the Indian constitution when they were formulating it. 
There may be a number of reasons for this, some of them are:

  • Since ancient times Dharma/ Kartavya is deeply rooted in the people of Indian society and they follow certain duties on their own irrespective of a threat of penalty.
  • The concept of duties toward the nation was always uplifted by our leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Swami Vivekanand, once Vivekanand said that “it is the duty of every person of India to contribute to the development and progress of India”. 
  • The preamble of the Indian constitution itself gives citizens an idea about their duties towards the nation, not only by including the goals of the nation, but also the assurances of the Constitution. Hence every citizen has to do whatever is required to fulfill these goals.
  •  Fundamental Rights in the constitution logically give an idea of certain duties that need to be performed for the realization of these rights.

However, after some years it was thought to properly define the duties of citizens towards the nation in the constitution itself. So, in the year 1976 at the time of the national emergency, Indira Gandhi (Prime Minister at that time) constituted a committee under the leadership of Swaran Singh named the Swaran Singh Committee.

Swaran Singh Committee:

The committee was formed soon after the declaration of a national emergency. This committee had a total of 12 members:

  1. Swaran Singh(Chairman)
  2. Rajni Patel
  3. A.R Antulay
  4. S.S Ray
  5. H.R Gokhale
  6. B.N Banerjee
  7. Vasanth Sathe
  8. Dinesh Goswami
  9. V.A Sayed Muhammed
  10. V.N Gadgil
  11. C.M Stephen
  12. D.P Singh

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 Committee made recommendations for eight fundamental duties but three of them were not incorporated. Those three were:
    Making fundamental duties legally enforceable.
  • No law punishing for violating fundamental duties can be challenged in any court on the ground of violation of fundamental rights or any other provision of the constitution.
  • Making paying taxes a fundamental duty.

The idea of fundamental duties was borrowed from USSR. As per this committee’s recommendation, through the 42nd Constitutional amendment, a new part namely Part IV A was added to the constitution having only one article i.e. Article 51A containing ten fundamental duties. Later in the 86th constitutional amendment, one more duty was added. 

Importance of Fundamental Duties:

  1. It seeks to promote a sense of brotherhood and harmony among people of different groups based on religion, caste, language, etc.
  2. It reminds citizens to fulfill their responsibilities towards their nation.
  3. These duties help in the development of the country, a classic example is the USA, which has a Citizens’ Almanac which has details about the responsibilities of its citizens. Another example is Singapore which developed a lot in a very short frame of time. 

Criticism of Fundamental Duties:

  1. Following Fundamental Duties is a moral obligation, not a legal one.
  2.  Some critic says that if Fundamental Duties would have been added alongside Fundamental Rights then it would have made it more valuable.
  3. It seems that list of duties has something missing, like casting votes, family planning, etc. 

Some Questions Related to this Topic:

Q1. In which year Swaran Singh Committee was formed?

Answer: Swaran Singh Committee was formed in the year of 1976 when the country was in a national emergency. Indira Gandhi formed a committee under the leadership of Swaran Singh to analyze the constitution in the light of previous experiences. The government made several amendments to the constitution based on the recommendations of this committee.

Q2. Our Fundamental Duties were borrowed from which country?

Answer: The idea of Fundamental Duties in the Indian constitution was inspired by the constitution of the erstwhile USSR.

Q3. Which Constitutional Amendment(s) added fundamental duties to Constitution and under which Article?

Answer: As per the Swaran Singh committee’s recommendation through the 42nd Constitutional amendment a new part namely Part IV A was added to the constitution having only one article i.e. Article 51A containing ten fundamental duties. Later in the 86th constitutional amendment, one more duty was added. 

Q4. Discuss how Fundamental Duties were added to the constitution?

Answer: In the year 1976 Swaran Singh committee was constituted to give recommendations for constitutional amendments. This committee made several recommendations, one of these recommendations was to include a chapter on fundamental duties in the constitution. As per this committee’s recommendation a new part namely Part IV A was added to the constitution having only one article i.e. Article 51A containing ten fundamental duties. Later in the 86th constitutional amendment, one more duty was added to it.

Q5. What were the recommendations of the Swaran Singh Committee?

Answer: Swaran Singh committee was formed in 1976 to give recommendations for constitutional amendments. Swaran Singh Committee 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. This recommendation gave us our Fundamental Duties.

Q6. What is the importance of Fundamental Duties?

Answer: The importance of Fundamental Duties are:
1. It seeks to promote a sense of brotherhood and harmony among the people of India.
2. It reminds citizens to fulfill their responsibilities towards their nation.
3. These duties also help in the development of a country by making citizens responsible.

Q7. What is criticism of Fundamental Duties?

Answer: Criticism of Fundamental Duties are:
1. Following Fundamental Duties is a moral obligation, not a legal one.
2. Some critic says that if Fundamental Duties would have been added alongside Fundamental Rights then it would have made it more valuable.
3. It seems that the list of duties has something left, like casting votes, family planning, etc.
 

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