Government launches drive on fundamental duties
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has launched a yearlong programme to make citizens aware of their fundamental duties. Activities such as online quizzes, competitions, essay competitions and preamble pledge signing contest will be organised to educate them about their constitutional responsibilities.
The emphasis on “duties” is part of the yearlong celebrations of the 70th anniversary of Constitution Day that was celebrated on November 26. DOJ, a part of Union Ministry of Law and Justice, has outlined which duties should be handled by each ministry and asked them to prepare a calendar of activities.
“It is crucial that everyone should be made aware of the values and principles enshrined in our Constitution and citizens should be made aware of Citizens Duties’ including Fundamental Duties for a vibrant democracy, organized polity and responsible citizenship,” Alok Srivastava, secretary, DOJ, said, explaining the need to have such a campaign.
Incorporated in Part IV-A of the Constitution by the 42nd amendment, fundamental duties are an emergency-era provision. There are 11 Fundamental Duties described under Article 51-A, of which one was added by the 86th amendment in 2002, during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. These are statutory duties, not enforceable by law. However, a court can take them into account while deciding a matter. The concept of fundamental duties was taken from the Constitution of Russia, and idea behind the same was to emphasize a citizen’s obligation in exchange for the fundamental rights that he or she enjoys.
Each ministry has been asked to undertake the task to hold workshops, seminars or competitions for educating the public about the duties. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) too has been involved in the drive. The department will place the preamble to the Constitution at all its national monuments so that the tourists get to read it. The preamble can be referred to as the preface, which highlights the entire Constitution.