India's Civic Responsibilities

  Sep 01, 2023

Fundamental Duties

Fundamental Duty of safeguarding public property and abjuring violence with examples.

Fundamental Duties refer to the duties and responsibilities of the citizens towards their country. In India, these duties are enshrined in Part IV-A of the Constitution, under Article 51A. Originally, the Constitution of India did not contain these duties, but they were added by the 42nd Amendment in 1976 upon the recommendations of the Swaran Singh Committee.
The original list comprised ten duties. An eleventh duty was added by the 86th Amendment in 2002.

Fundamental Duty of Safeguarding Public Property and Abjuring Violence

At the heart of a democratic and civil society lies the principle of respecting the rule of law and valuing collective ownership. One of the core values enshrined in the Indian Constitution under Fundamental Duties is the duty to safeguard public property and renounce violence. It underscores the responsibility of every citizen not only to protect public assets but also to ensure that disagreements and dissent are expressed without resorting to violent means.

Example 1: Peaceful Protests and Demonstrations

In a robust democracy like India, citizens often exercise their rights to voice their concerns and disagreements. Protests and demonstrations serve as platforms for public discourse. When conducted peacefully, they stand as a testament to a mature democracy where freedom of expression is valued. For instance, the non-violent protests led by Mahatma Gandhi during the freedom struggle set a global precedent for peaceful resistance.

Example 2: Avoiding Vandalism During Protests

While protests are integral to democratic functioning, it's crucial that they don't devolve into chaos and vandalism. Responsible citizens, aware of their Fundamental Duties, steer clear of destructive actions. For example, burning buses or damaging statues not only erodes national wealth but also diminishes the credibility of the protest itself. Such actions can also lead to unintended consequences, including potential harm to fellow citizens.

Example 3: Community Participation in Public Property Maintenance

Public properties like parks, monuments, libraries, and transportation systems are shared assets that benefit everyone. Their maintenance and preservation ensure that future generations can also avail of their advantages. By being involved in community-led initiatives like "Swachh Bharat Abhiyan" (Clean India Campaign), citizens demonstrate their commitment to preserving public spaces. Such initiatives also foster a community spirit, bridging societal divides and promoting harmony.

Example 4: Reporting Acts of Vandalism and Violence

An alert and vigilant citizenry is the backbone of a secure society. When citizens take proactive measures like reporting instances of vandalism or potential threats, they contribute to a more orderly society. For example, if a person witnesses defacement of a public monument or sees someone damaging public transportation, reporting the act ensures that such behaviors are curtailed, and perpetrators are held accountable.

Example 5: Protecting Historical Monuments

Public properties aren't just functional assets; many are bearers of the country's rich history and culture. For instance, a responsible citizen visiting the Red Fort or the Qutub Minar ensures they do not deface or vandalize these monuments. Acts like scribbling on the walls or littering not only degrade these national treasures but are a violation of one's fundamental duty towards safeguarding public property.

Example 6: Civic Behavior During Civil Unrest

In scenarios of civil disagreements or disputes, the essence of democracy is tested. For example, while the contentiousness of the Citizenship Amendment Act led to nationwide protests, a vast majority of demonstrators emphasized non-violence and peaceful assembly. Despite the heated nature of the debate, responsible citizens ensured they aired their grievances without resorting to damaging public infrastructure, thereby embodying the fundamental duty of abjuring violence.

Example 7: Care for Public Transport and Infrastructure

Public transportation systems, like buses and metros, serve millions daily. A responsible commuter ensures that they do not damage seats, graffiti the walls, or indulge in any action that could deteriorate the infrastructure. When the Delhi Metro was introduced, it was lauded for its cleanliness and efficiency. The collective effort of the commuters in maintaining its pristine condition was a testament to their commitment to safeguarding public property.

Concluding Thoughts

The Fundamental Duty to safeguard public property and abstain from violence is not merely a constitutional obligation but reflects the ethos of a mature and responsible citizenry. By adhering to these duties, citizens contribute to a harmonious and progressive society, reinforcing the ideals of the Indian Constitution and upholding the nation's collective heritage.


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