`Rights and duties go hand in hand’ - Justice J.S. Verma

Human Rights can best be realised when the corresponding duties are performed by the state and individuals said Chairperson, Mr. Justice J.S. Verma. He was speaking on "Fundamental Duties: A Mark of Civil Society’s Values and Responsibilities".

Referring to the 10 fundamental duties inscribed in Article 51A of the Indian Constitution, Justice Verma said they were very comprehensive as well as expansive. The first duty was to abide by the Constitution and respect its institutions. If these were done earnestly, most problems would be solved. The second fundamental duty called on every one to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired the national struggle for freedom. Justice Verma said that the values of the national struggle should be practised in order for them to have the desired impact.

"The fundamental duties also referred to upholding and protecting the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India to defending the country and rendering national service. They also called on all citizens to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood," he added.

Referring to latter, Justice Verma said that divisive tendencies have to be shunned in order to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood. The sixth duty called for preservation of the rich heritage of the composite culture of India. Regretting the callous attitude adopted towards the seventh duty, which called for the protection and improvement of the natural environment, Justice Verma said that it was time to work with renewed zeal to save the environment. "A cardiac surgeon wearing a steel grey shirt once told me that the heart of a person living in the city is coloured steel grey while that of the person living in the village is pink," he remarked.

The eighth duty, which called for developing a scientific temper, was a must to keep pace with the latest technologies," he observed. The ninth, regarding the safeguarding of public property and the abjuring of violence, was central to the preservation of a peaceful society. "The tenth duty was the most comprehensive: it called for striving towards excellence which, if pursued earnestly, would lead to the development of the entire nation."