[Answered] What is the difference between the fundamental duties and legal duties? Why are fundamental duties as important as legal duties?

Demand of the question Introduction. Contextual introduction. Body. Discuss the difference between the fundamental duties and legal duties. Explain why are fundamental duties as important as legal duties? Conclusion. Way forward.

The Fundamental Duties are defined as the moral obligations of all citizens to help promote a spirit of patriotism and to uphold the unity of India. On the other hand legal duties are the obligation arising from operation of law, a breach of which would constitute illegal act. Both are important and play a significant role in a country’s peace and progress.

Fundamental duties Legal duties
It is a moral obligation towards the nation and its citizens. It is a legal obligation to uphold law and act accordingly.
They are non-justiciable as the constitution does not provide for their direct enforcement by the courts. They are justiciable and provide for their direct enforcement by the courts based on laws.
The list of duties is not exhaustive as it does not cover other important duties like casting vote, paying taxes, family planning and so on. The duties depend on the provisions of laws like payment of taxes is seen as a legal obligation.
Though the Swaran Singh Committee had suggested for penalty or punishment for the non-performance of Fundamental Duties, it was not incorporated. The non-performance of legal duties may lead to punishment as incorporated under law.  

Significance of fundamental duties:

  1. Constitutional conscience: Fundamental Duties constitute the conscience of our Constitution. They should be treated as constitutional values that must be propagated by all citizens. For instance, it calls for universal brotherhood.
  2. Democratic balance: Fundamental duties establish democratic balance by making the people conscious of their duties equally as they are conscious of their rights.
  3. Serve as a warning: Fundamental duties serve as a warning against the anti-national and antisocial activities. For example, burning the national flag, destroying public property and so on.
  4. Balancing rights: They serve as a reminder to the citizens that while enjoying their rights, they should also be conscious of duties they owe to their country, their society and to their fellow citizens.
  5. Source of inspiration: They serve as a source of inspiration for the citizens and promote a sense of discipline and commitment among them. They create a feeling that the citizens are not mere spectators but active participants in the realisation of national goals.
  6. Establish constitutional validity: They help the courts in examining and determining the constitutional validity of a law. In 1992, the Supreme Court ruled that in determining the constitutionality of any law, if a court finds that the law in question seeks to give effect to a fundamental duty, it may consider such law to be ‘reasonable’.

Fundamental duties are as important as legal duties and fundamental rights. They remind us of our responsibilities towards our nation and other citizens. These are important to promote harmony, democratic and constitutional values in a country.

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