ARTICLE 51 (A)

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The 42nd Amendment Act in 1976 added the Fundamental Duties to the Indian Constitution under Article 51(A). These Fundamental Duties aim to emphasize the responsibilities of citizens towards the nation and society. The Fundamental Duties remind citizens of their responsibilities towards the nation and society, alongside enjoying their fundamental rights. It is essential for citizens to fulfill these duties to contribute to the overall welfare and development of the country.

What does Article 51(A) states ?

Fundamental duties:- It shall be the duty of every citizen of India

(a) to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the national Flag and the National Anthem;

(b) to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;

(c) to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;

(d) to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;

(e) to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;

(f) to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;

(g) to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures;

(h) to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;

(i) to safeguard public property and to abjure violence;

(j) 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 PART V THE UNION CHAPTER I THE EXECUTIVE The President and Vice President.

Fundamental Duties regarding Article 51(A)

1. To abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutionsCitizens are expected to uphold the values and principles of the Constitution and show respect towards the democratic institutions of the country.
2. To cherish and follow the noble ideals that inspired the national struggle for freedomThis duty encourages citizens to remember and uphold the ideals that guided the freedom struggle and to strive for a just and inclusive society.
3. To uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity, and integrity of IndiaCitizens are called upon to protect and safeguard the territorial integrity and unity of the country.
4. To defend the country and render national service when requiredCitizens may be required to serve in the defense forces or perform national service when the need arises.
5. To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood among all the people of IndiaThis duty emphasizes the importance of fostering a sense of unity, fraternity, and understanding among people of diverse backgrounds and cultures.
6. To value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite cultureCitizens are expected to respect and preserve India’s diverse cultural heritage and promote a sense of pride in the country’s pluralistic identity.
7. To protect and improve the natural environment, including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlifeThis duty emphasizes environmental conservation and the responsibility to protect and improve the natural resources of the country.
8. To develop scientific temper, humanism, and the spirit of inquiry and reformCitizens are encouraged to foster a scientific outlook, rational thinking, and a spirit of inquiry and reform for the betterment of society.
9. To safeguard public property and to abjure violenceThis duty calls for the protection of public property and the rejection of violence as a means to achieve objectives.
10. To strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activityCitizens are encouraged to work diligently and strive for excellence in their personal and collective endeavors.

Landmark judgements regarding Article 51(A)

AIIMS Students Union v. AIIMS, AIR 2001 SC 3262

  • In the case of AIIMS Student Union v. AIIMS, Admission to postgraduate medical programs at AIIMS was based on merit (grades) rather than reservation.
  • The Delhi High Court received a writ petition from three deserving students seeking admission to the esteemed medical science college. The institution had reserved 33% of its seats for graduates of the institution itself.
  • The question posed was whether AIIMS has the authority to provide the pupils such a reservation. The Supreme Court ruled AIIMS’s action unconstitutional, deeming it irrational to reserve places for college students
  • The Supreme Court ruled that interpreting the relevant constitutional clause with reference to Fundamental Duties is important. Nevertheless, the court did not uphold them through court orders.
  • Here, the State failed in their fundamental responsibility, which is to work for individual and collective greatness for the country’s benefit. Despite no explicit imposition on the State, this obligation of each person has transformed into a collective duty of the State.

Aruna Roy v. Union of India, AIR 2002 SC 3176

  • The Supreme Court received a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the case of Aruna Roy v. Union of India. Critics argue that the NCERT released the NCFSE without consulting CABE, violating constitutional mandates and being anti-secular.
  • “CABE did not approve the implementation of NCFSE despite facing difficulties. Moreover, the constitution determined that NCFSE was in violation of its fundamental tenet of secularism.”
  • The Supreme Court decided not to dismiss the petition as no valid grounds existed concerning the NCFSE. The constitution stipulates that schools should teach school children that all religions are common and equal.

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