A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M M Sundresh issued notice on the plea filed by Supreme Court lawyer Durga Dutt
New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday sought response from the Centre and states on a plea seeking direction for enacting well-defined laws/rules to ensure adherence to the fundamental duties as enshrined in the Constitution.
A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M M Sundresh issued notice on the plea filed by Supreme Court lawyer Durga Dutt.
The plea sought issuance of directives ensuring adherence to the mandates as postulated under Part IV-A of the Constitution and said that non-adherence to them has a direct bearing on the exercise and enjoyment of the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 14, 19, 21 for formulation and operationalisation of appropriate scheme providing incentives to the citizenry for their adherence.
Moreover, it may be just and appropriate for this court to frame guidelines for regulation and effective implementation for fundamental duties in the exercise of the plenary and extra-ordinary power of this court under Article 32 and 142 of the Constitution until the scheme in this regard is formalised by the respondents,'' said the plea filed through advocate Karunakar Mahalik.
The plea said 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 rights and duties are correlative.
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 must learn how 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 resulted in violation of fundamental rights of other citizen, the plea said.
Dutt said his plea aims to address the issue of national importance and to promote commitment amongst citizens towards each other and towards the nation as it contributes towards development and progress of the nation.
The petitioner is constrained to invoke the jurisdiction of this court because the existing laws are inadequate for ensuring performance of the fundamental duties, it said.
The plea further added that except for some scattered legislations, there is neither a uniform policy nor a comprehensive code for enforcement of fundamental duties.
It said that while citizens show a serious concern towards fundamental rights, they often forget that there is a corresponding Constitutional and moral obligation upon them to perform the fundamental duties.
It is further apt to state that at the advent of COVID-19 pandemic and then the manner in which it was cynically exploited to stoke communalism, on social media and TV channels... Therefore, it is need of the hour that certain moral obligations be converted to legal obligations by enacting legislation and framing guidelines, so that if in future such situation arises, we as a nation shall be seen standing together with united efforts'', it said.
The plea also sought direction for setting up of an independent high-powered committee, headed by a retired chief justice or judge of this court or High Court and consisting of distinguished citizens from different fields /professions and concerned officials of the stakeholders and the respondents, to scrutinise and review the entire legal framework relating to the effective implementation of Part IV-A of the Constitution and recommendation of appropriate guidelines needed to be laid down by this court.
It sought directions to Centre and states for framing of guidelines for taking appropriate steps to sensitize people and spread general awareness among the citizens in relation to performance of fundamental duties under the Constitution.