Fundamental Duties and Corporate Responsibility

Fundamental Duties and Rights of individuals are similar to that of business houses and organizations

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By Rusen Kumar

Every citizen has 11 Fundamental Duties towards nation as directed by the Constitution of India. The Fundamental Duties are defined as the moral obligations of citizens to uphold the unity and integrity of the country.

The Citizen’s duties set out in Part IV–A – 51A of the Constitution of India, concern individuals and the nation. However, like the Directive Principles, Duties are not enforceable by the law but I believe that Fundamental Duties and Fundamental Rights both are two parts of a coin. Both the things must go on parallel. Fundamental Rights are backed by our Fundamental Duties. Duties are inseparable from Rights, both are strictly correlative. What I believe is that Duties mean giving and Rights is all about getting. You will gain what you have given. The Newton’s Law – To every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. – Equally relevant to the societal behaviour.

It is a hard fact that Fundamental Duties are less discussed and Fundamental Rights are the most discussed and deliberated.

Every contribution- irrespective of size – by anyone is equally important in socio-economic upliftment. We need to understand and realize the power and potential of discharging responsibilities. Discharging responsibilities provide wonderful opportunity to contribute in national progress. Responsibility should be imparted as fundamental behavior for any progressive society.

Business Responsibility or Corporate Social Responsibility should be seen as gross Social behaviour of business communities.

Fundamental Duties and Fundamental Rights – as applicable for citizens – are equally applicable for business and organizations, because individuals or groups of people form a company or an organization. So, Fundamental Duties and Rights of individuals are similar to that of business houses and organizations.

I am mentioning the Fundamental Duties:

PART IVA

FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES

51A. Fundamental duties.—It shall be the duty of every citizen of India—

(a) to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem;

(b) to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;

(c) to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;

(d) to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;

(e) 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;

(f) to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;

(g) to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures;

(h) to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;

(i) to safeguard public property and to abjure violence;

(j) 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;

(k) 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 and fourteen years. (86th Amendment) Act, 2002).

Business has collective responsibilities towards Fundamental Duties. We can also say that without collective efforts business can’t be able to perform the Duties -the formal obligations.

Government should create an enabling and encouraging ecosystem where everyone and every organization can perform their Duties flawlessly. Responsibility should be performed in concurrence with the ethical behaviour.

Our irresponsible behavior may be attracting problems and finally, badly impacting our progress of present society and future generations’ thought process and individual and social behaviors. Gross failure in discharging responsibilities will hurt the path of progress, peace and harmony.

Our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) must be guided by our Fundamental Duties and all social development programs and projects must be interlinked to them.

Originally, our Constitution had not prescribed fundamental duties of the Citizens. Earlier, enjoyment of fundamental rights was not conditional on the performance of fundamental duties.

The Nation had realized the importance of duties in strengthening democratic eco-system and in building a progressive country. Accordingly, Fundamental duties were added to the Constitution by the 42nd amendment in the year 1976.

The Citizen is the unit of the Nation and the Nation is what the Citizens are. Responsible people can make better nation. The State also has fundamental duties in the form of Directive Principles Part III and has laid down some high ideals to be followed. Similarly, the fundamental duties, lay down high ideals to be followed by the people. Businesses are important institutions of modern society.

Interestingly, directive principles and fundamental duties are non-justiciable in character. While part III containing fundamental rights is justifiable. Citizen must do their work with great dedication and sincerity.

“The future of India lies in acting, implementing and invigorating compliance with Fundamental Duties enshrined in article 51A of the Constitution”. (A Consultation Paper on EFFECTUATION OF FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES OF CITIZENS, July 6, 2001)

Rusen Kumar

“If society becomes duty based, everyone in India should turn attention on performance of duties and through such performance ensure and be entitled to the rights of a citizen.” (Justice Rangnath Mishra, Former Chief Justice of India)

People in powerful positions, larger organizations and businesses have the duty of protecting the Rights of deprived and underprivileged people around them and have responsibility in promoting duty-based collective behavior.

(Rusen Kumar is the founder of India CSR Network)

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