Origin: The Fundamental Duties of citizens were added to the Constitution by the 42nd Amendment in 1976, upon the recommendations of the Swaran Singh Committee that was constituted by the government earlier that year. Originally ten in number, the Fundamental Duties were increased to eleven by the 86th Amendment in 2002, which added a duty on every parent or guardian to ensure that their child or ward was provided opportunities for education between the ages of six and fourteen years. We have borrowed these duties from the constitution of Japan.
Scope: Fundamental duties are obligatory in nature. But there is no provision in the constitution for direct enforcement of these duties. There is no sanction either to prevent their violation. However the importance of fundamental duties can be gauged from the following facts:
a. As rights and duties are the two side of the same coin, it is expected that one should observe one’s duties in order to seek the enforcement of one’s fundamental rights, in the context if a person approaches the court for the enforcement of any of his fundamental rights, the court may refuse to take a lenient view of him if it comes to know that the concerned individual has no respect for what is expected of him by the state as a citizen of the country.
b. They can be used for interpreting ambiguous statutes. The court may look at the fundamental duties while interpreting equivocal statutes which admit of two constructions.
While determining the constitutionality of any law, if court finds that it seeks to give effect to any of the duties, it may consider such law to be ‘reasonable’, and thereby, save such law from unconstitutionality.