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Why are the Fundamental Duties mentioned in the Indian Constitution not legally binding?

Also, is there not a need to make them so?

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    I'm not super familiar with the Indian constitution, can you please cite where it says that the constitution is not legally binding? – David says Reinstate Monica Feb 18 '17 at 20:33
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    They seem awfully generic. How does one measure To cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom; or (my favorite) To strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement;? As it is written, it sounds like any Indian citizen that begins a darts match can be sanctioned if they don't try very hard to win... – SJuan76 Feb 19 '17 at 11:50
  • @SJuan76 Can you post it as an answer so that I can mark it correct. – SMJoe Mar 30 '17 at 20:17
  • As a matter of fact, I think Gaurav's answer is way better and deserves to be marked as correct; I was just pointing out how vague these duties are. OTOH Gaurav explains the origin of these duties and that your question cannot really be answered by the available sources. – SJuan76 Mar 31 '17 at 15:27
  • @SJuan76 I get your point. – SMJoe Mar 31 '17 at 17:12
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The Fundamental Duties were added in the 42nd Amendment (1976), which doesn't explain why they were added or why they weren't made legally binding:

It is also proposed to specify the fundamental duties of the citizens and make special provisions for dealing with anti-national activities, whether by individuals or associations.

Nor is there an explanation in Part IVA, article 51A of the Constitution of India (pg. 53 in the attached PDF), which simply states "It shall be the duty of every citizen of India ---" and then proceeds to enumerate them.

So we can speculate on reasons, but in the Constitution itself there is no clear explanation for why they're there, or why they weren't made enforceable.

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As Gaurav mentioned, the Fundamental Duties were added as a part of the 42nd Amendment of the Indian Constitution (1976), which is often considered to be the most painful relic of the Emergency era.

The amendment altered a large part of the Indian constitution, largely with a goal to curtail the separation of powers. It pulled powers away from the judicial branch and state governments and strongly diluted the federal structure based on which the Indian republic was envisaged, allowing the parliament to arbitrarily amend the constitution without judicial review.

Let me answer your second question first.

Also, is there not a need to make them so?

No, there is absolutely no need to enforce that citizens obey the Fundamental Duties.

They were largely a smokescreen to draw attention away from the power grab by the Indira Gandhi government. Just like the ten commandments, which have a couple of good ideas surrounded by tons of crap, very few of the 10 Duties (now 11) have any merit at all, let alone being enforced in a civilized society.

Broadly, this is because they violate an individual's free will adding restrictions that are beyond the scope of an non-intrusive state.

Here's a quick summary (commentary mine):

  • To abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem;
    • Abiding by the Constitution is already enforced by the arms of the state; respect for institutions and symbols cannot, and should not be forced.
  • To cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;

    • I wish there was an appendix so we knew what noble ideals these were
  • To uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;

    • This is the state's role; also, sedition is criminally enforced
  • To defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;

  • To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;

    • At this point they were just trying to fill the page
  • To value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;

    • Desecration of artifacts, in theory, is legally enforced
  • To protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures;

    • Desecration of the natural environment, in theory, is legally enforced
  • To develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;

    • Step 1: When someone shoves duties down your throat, inquire why
  • To safeguard public property and to abjure violence;

    • Most types of violence and destruction of public property were already legaly enforced
  • To strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity, so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement;

    • SJuan76 hit the nail on the head
  • Who is a parent or guardian, to provide opportunities for education to his child, or as the case may be, ward between the age of six to fourteen years.

    • This is legally enforced, and largely falls on the State again

Why are the Fundamental Duties mentioned in the Indian Constitution not legally binding?

Though the Fundamental Duties were never legally binding, the first election after the Emergency whittled away most of their legitimacy. The Janata Party, which won a surprising, but historic victory had promised to "restore the Constitution to the condition it was in before the Emergency", which they largely achieved through the 43rd and 44th amendments. For instance, the Directive Principles of State Policy (another unenforced set of goody-two-shoes-ideas) could no longer take precedence over Fundamental Rights based on the Minerva Mills judgment.

The Minverva Mills case was a small part of a sequence of cases within Indian jurisprudence that have established the basic structure doctrine, which asserts that the Indian constitution has certain basic features that cannot be altered by the parliament.

A large part of the basic structure is dedicated to protecting the rights of the citizen. An oft-quoted part of the judgment reads: Three Articles of our Constitution, and only three, stand between the heaven of freedom into which Tagore wanted his country to awake and the abyss of unrestrained power. They are Articles 14, 19 and 21. Article 31C has removed two sides of that golden triangle which affords to the people of this country an assurance that the promise held forth by the preamble will be performed by ushering an egalitarian era through the discipline of fundamental rights, that is, without emasculation of the rights to liberty and equality which alone can help preserve the dignity of the individual.

P.S. The first part of this answer is largely opinion-based, to match the question.

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Why are the Fundamental Duties mentioned in the Indian Constitution not legally binding?

Also, is there not a need to make them so?

They can never be legally binding. To answer your question, let's evaluate these points individually.

I listen to many people and I heard many complain about the way they are treated in society. So, Don't judge me by my answer. Try to understand how some perceive the system.

The 1'st says,

To abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem;

The constitution doesn't consider all of its citizens as equal. The constitution discriminates its citizens (wrt education, healthcare, employment opportunities, in basic human justice, Law, and in all other areas) to realize the perceived promise of equality. Source

The simple common sense says, if I am forced to abide by the constitution, I, along with my forthcoming generations will be treated unequally in the society. Accessible opportunities are limited and are ever decreasing.

Abiding by such terms eliminates one's ability to question and fix the constitution any time. Forever. Such fundamental duties can be imposed, only if the target audience is considered/treated as equal wrt all aspects.

The discrimination is curated with respect to opportunities, justice, law, education and all other areas, where one seeks benefits. However, with respect to taxes, GST, Excise duties, money, loans, Everyone is the same.

Why not provide the same discrimination when it comes to payments of money?

* In reality, On one hand, these people are discriminated wrt all opportunities. On the other, they are forced to pay twice the costs, to avail limited access to the system. Those who receive benefits have full access to the system at half of the actual cost, with additional benefits *

If you legally bind such fundamental duties, imagine the outcry & destruction arising from some sections of the society.

The 3'rd one says,

To uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;

There are millions, facing constitutional discrimination in the name of perceived equality. The nation is no way United, How could this be enforced? This rather seems meaningless, please consider the example provided below.

Remember The donkey and the dog story? where the owner feeds the dog in excess and ignores the hard-working donkey. The dog sleeps when a thief breaks into the house. The donkey does the dog's job by barking, which gets killed by the owner for waking him up at night.

The owner fails to realize that the well-fed dog failed at its duties. The donkey, despite being hungry, which did its job & did the dog's job was killed. Isn't this the story of the nation?

The 4'th one says,

To defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;

The opportunities are discriminated based on perceived equality. But when the need arises, all must participate & be ready to sacrifice their lives for the nation. How could this ever be legally binding?

The 5'th says,

To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India ...

Brotherhood?? Why all brothers are not equal?

The 6'th says,

To value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;

If the heritage was rich, why do we have discrimination etched in the constitution? Why even the law & justice are discriminated against some, just based on their parent's names?

Either the fundamental duty is wrong, Or The heritage wasn't rich. You chose which is right.

The 8'th one says,

To develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;

As per 1'st right, "To abide by the Constitution...". If you abide by the constitution, you can inquire about anything, but you cannot reform. Because you abide by the constitution. Reforming involves questioning the existing system, including the constitution and seeking changes wherever needed.

Clearly, these fundamental duties are written with the right intent, but enforcing such duties on all of its citizens would draw more flak.

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