Written By- Pretika Tiwari
In collaboration with the Confederation of Alumni for NLUs (CAN) Foundation, RMNLU Lucknow and NLU Odisha hosted the 2nd Justice HR Khanna Memorial National Symposium, where Justice Vikram Nath, a Supreme Court judge, gave the keynote address on “Fundamental Duties vis-a-vis Fundamental Rights under Our Constitution.”
In his address, Justice Nath remembered late Justice HR Khanna and mentioned that his (Justice Khanna’s) meticulously written dissent emphasized the significance of constitutional provisions as the only protection for currently existing natural rights. And these rights set a high bar for the following generation of judges “to resist forces of tyranny regardless of the personal costs they have to incur”, said Justice. He also mentioned that Justice Khanna was courageous to dissent against the ADM Jabalpur and his disagreement was an unwavering fortitude in protecting the Indian Constitution and the ‘rule of law’.
Later in his address, Justice Nath highlighted the imperative nature of the fundamental duties. He stated that the fundamental rights are ‘one of the pillars of the Constitution’, and they need to be read along with the fundamental duties enshrined in Part 4A. He also quoted the former Law Minister of India, HR Gokhale, and said, “sobering effect on these restless spirits who have had a host of anti-national, subversive and unconstitutional agitations.” While fundamental rights can be enforced through the legal system, according to Justice Nath, persons could not be lawfully obliged to perform fundamental duties. As a result, every person must fulfil their duties to promote a just and peaceful community. Justice Nath concluded by quoting Russel Kirk, “Every right is married to a duty; every freedom owes a corresponding responsibility, and there cannot be genuine freedom unless there exists also genuine order…”