SC Issues Notice To Centre And States On Plea Seeking Enforcement Of Fundamental Duties
The Supreme Court issued a notice seeking response from the Union and state governments on PIL seeking enforcement of fundamental duties.
The Supreme Court, on Monday (21 February), issued a notice to the Centre and the states in a writ petition seeking enforcement of fundamental duties of citizens as enshrined in the Article 51-A of the Indian Constitution.
“The Fundamental Duties are intended to serve as a constant reminder to every citizen that while the Constitution conferred on them certain Fundamental Rights specifically, it also requires citizens to observe certain basic norms of democratic conduct and behaviour because right and duties are correlative,” stated the petition filed by advocate Durga Das.
The plea stressed that “The Fundamental Duties are an important tool to protect the unity and integrity of several institutions including the judiciary. It is submitted that every citizen should learn to respect the institutions of this country. There have been cases where Fundamental Duties have been brazenly flouted by the people including the officers of the law and which in turn violated the Fundamental Rights of other citizens.”
Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, appearing for Dutt, submitted before a two-judge bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul that a notice should be issued to the government as it is important to understand the stand of the Union of India. “Everyone is fighting for their rights but no one cares about the Fundamental Duties,” argued Kumar.
After hearing the arguments, Justice M M Sundresh issued a notice seeking response from the Union and the state governments.
The plea argued that the need to enforce the fundamental duties arises because of “the new illegal trend of protests by the protesters in the garb of freedom of speech and expression, by way of blocking of roads and rail routes in order to compel the government to meet their demands."
Plea quotes Bhagavad Gita, cites references from constitutions of the former USSR and China
The petition cited examples from the Hindu scripture Shrimad Bhagavad Gita to contend that in our country, there has been a tradition of fulfilling one’s fundamental duties since the ancient period. “The concept of duty is enunciated in Bhagwad Gita where Lord Krishna guides Arjuna and educates him about the importance of duties in all spheres/stages of one's life,” the petition noted.
The petition mentioned the Supreme Court’s own judgement in the Ranganath Mishra judgement to contend that fundamental duties should not only be enforced by legal sanctions but also by social sanctions. After all, rights and duties were co-relative, it said, reports The Hindu.
Referring to Mahatma Gandhi's statements in favour of making laws to enforce Fundamental Duties, the petitioner said that our rights are rooted in our duties. The plea also quoted the constitutions of erstwhile Soviet Russia, China, Japan and Singapore in its support.
Relief for providing incentives to citizens for operationalisation, enforcement and sensitisation with respect to implementation of fundamental duties, setting up of an independent high powered committee headed by retired Chief Justice of High Court judge to scrutinise the review and entire legal framework relating to effective implementation of Part IV A has also been sought.
The petitioner has also prayed for framing guidelines/regulations for taking appropriate adequate steps to sensitise the people and spread general awareness among the citizens in relation to performance of fundamental duties, reports Live Law.
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