The rights guaranteed by the constitution of India loses both its importance and its value if we Indians as nationals of this great country India, are concentrated on enjoying them only without doing our duties as a constitution abiding citizen of the country.

Jnandeep Bora, Senior Judicial Assistant

People Tend To Forget Their Duties But Remember Their Rights

Indira Gandhi

In a modern democracy like India, the rights of its nationals are inter-linked with their duties. The Indian Constitution ensures certain Fundamental Rights to its nationals as coming under the ambit of its constitution, so that, any whimsical or authoritarian leader does not impose its hegemonic rule over the people of our country, India. Thus, these rights as a whole and the Fundamental Rights in particular has played a pivotal role in the governance of the world’s largest democracy i.e., India. May be, keeping all these facts in mind the constituent assembly under Article 12-35 of the Constitution of India enunciated certain Fundamental Rights for its citizens.

At the same time, there are certain rights which do not come under the ambit of the Fundamental Rights but, at the same time, are equally pivotal in the governance of the country. The ‘Right to Vote’ is a political right in our country. This political right in the constitution of India is based on the principle of ‘one man, one vote’.

On the other hand, ‘Right to Property’ is a legal right under Article 300A although, it was at the time of the inception of the Constitution of India was a Fundamental Right. This fact proves that Fundamental Rights are amendable and are within the ambit of judicial interpretation. This very fact was reiterated by the Honorable Supreme Court in the famous Case of Golak Nath v. State of Punjab. In this case the Supreme Court reiterated that the Fundamental Rights are amendable and are within the realm of further judicial interpretation and introspection though at the same time, the basic structure of the Constitution cannot be tempered with (Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala case).

Moreover, in the Constitution of India the provision of especially the Fundamental Rights are kept under the purview of justiciable nature. In this way, these rights need to be protected from the whimsical treatment of those who are at the helm of affairs in the country.

The provision of Writ Petition under Article 32 for the Supreme Court and Article 226 for the High Courts is applicable for the violation of the Fundamental Rights. What distinguishes Article 32 from Article 226 is the fact that, Article 226 is applicable for the violation of Fundamental Rights as well as for any other purposes. The expression ‘for any other purposes’ refers to the enforcement of any ordinary legal right. On the other hand, Article 32, whereas is applicable for the enforcement of the Fundamental Rights only.

At the same time, we need to remember that, Rights without duties in a constitution is the same situation like that of a ship without radar. This is because rights devoid of duties for those enjoying these rights are like losing the trajectory of our vision of a blossoming democracy especially in the specific context of our own democracy. If, we do not have any Fundamental duties to follow then for what, we will enjoy the Fundamental Rights for. Thus, rights under the purview of the Indian democracy lose its vitality as well as its utility if there are no constitutional duties to follow. May be, that is why the forefathers of our constitution were visionary enough to impart Fundamental Rights in our constitution and at the same time gave us, we Indians certain Fundamental Duties to follow.

However, Fundamental Rights were included by borrowing them from the constitution of the USA, whereas, the Fundamental Duties were borrowed from the Constitution of Soviet Union (USSR, now Russia). This, again aptly proves the fact that the Constitution of India is really a bag of borrowings in the real sense of the term.

Initially, there were ten Fundamental Duties in the constitution of India. But after the enactment of the ‘Right to Education’ as a Fundamental Right vide Article 21A subsequently, another Fundamental Duty as the 11th one has been inserted in the list of Fundamental Duties. The 11th Fundamental Duty aims to provide opportunities for education to every child or ward between the age group of six to fourteen years. This duty was added by the 86th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2002. Again, the incorporation of Article 21A and thereby also the arising of the need for another Fundamental Duty certainly proves the fact that ‘both Rights and the Duties are co-relative in our constitution as well as in its ethos, principles and values’.

Moreover, it is also a pointer towards the fact that the Fundamental Duties though coming under Article 51A with 11 of them in all numerically, by nature, these duties are not only moral obligations to follow in our constitution but, at the same time, it should not be termed as pious homilies only, rather it should be studied and analyzed as an Article in the form of Fundamental Duties, which, are as a whole, correlated and intertwined with the Fundamental Rights covering under Article 12 to 35 of the constitution of the world’s largest democracy, that is, India.

In Indian democracy it should be therefore the bounden duty of all and the sundry coming under the ambit of the constitution of the country to give as much value to their rights and at the same time giving the same precedence and importance to their duties. This is because the rights guaranteed by the constitution of India loses both its importance and its value if we Indians as nationals of this great country India, are concentrated on enjoying them only without doing our duties as a constitution abiding citizen of the country. This is simply because rights as well as duties in any democracy are co-related and the Indian democracy is no exception in this regard.

Therefore, it is high time for the mature democratic citizens of the world’s largest democracy, India to secure their rights by following their duties. This in the long run will help in the kindling and nurturing of the democratic culture as well as the democratic norms in our democracy. On the contrary, the very threads of our democracy which binds one and all will become diabolic and ultimately, the very edifice of our democracy will get distorted in the long run.

In this way, we Indians as nationals should remember both our rights as well as our duties and resultantly keep the democratic system of government on its right track in our country. This is because, as rights and duties in a democracy are co-related so does the democratic culture and its democratic values. Democracy, thus will blossom and ultimately reach its zenith as a system of government, if and only if, the democratic citizens of our country in this cob-web between Rights and Duties do not lose track only by enjoying their rights and thereby neglecting their duties.

In this process, the ultimate gainer will firstly be the democracy and the democratic system as a whole of our country and secondly and most importantly, the citizens as coming under the ambit of the constitution of India. This may certainly turn out to be the greatest memento for our Indian democracy at this juncture when it is 70 years old as a republic.

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