Tremendous work done to sensitise people on fundamental duties, SC told

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Attorney General K.K. Venugopal on Monday told the Supreme Court that “tremendous amount of work” has been done by the Central government on creating awareness on fundamental duties to sensitise citizens and students.

The AG submitted before a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M M Sundresh that the curriculum of schools contains the entire Article 51A with duties, which are taught to them, and debates have been held throughout the country.

Responding to the PIL filed by advocate Durga Dutt, he contended that the PIL for enacting a law to enforce fundamental duties is not maintainable at all. “I have an objection to this petition. Tremendous amount of work has been done for the purpose of sensitising people,” he said.

The bench also noted: “We were also circumspect in issuing the notice and we said that it falls within the domain of political dispensation.”

Venugopal also added that the President, the Prime Minister, from time to time has addressed this aspect and a one-year awareness drive was also launched.

He said the website of the Ministry of Justice has sufficient content in connection with the matter. The bench added that it wanted to understand the limited point whether any steps have been taken pursuant to the judgment in Ranganath Mishra case (2003).

Venugopal urged the bench to ask the Central government to file an affidavit as he is appearing as the AG in the matter. A counsel separately representing the Central government sought time from the top court to file response in the matter within four weeks.

The top court has scheduled the matter for further hearing in July.

On February 21, the Supreme Court had sought the response from the Centre and state governments on a PIL seeking enforcement of fundamental duties set out in Article 51A of the Constitution.

The plea said: “The Fundamental Duties are an important tool to protect the unity and integrity of several institutions including the judiciary.” It contended that every citizen must learn how to respect the institutions of the country and added there have been cases where fundamental duties have been brazenly flouted by the people including the officers of the law.

The plea argued that the need to enforce fundamental duty arises due to a new illegal trend of protest by the protestors in the garb of freedom of speech and expression, by way of blocking of road and rail routes, in order to compel the government to meet their demands.

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