In the Petition filed by Advocate Durga Dutt seeking the enforcement of fundamental duties, the Supreme Court on November 29, 2022, as the last opportunity directed the states to file their affidavits within four weeks failure of which would lead to the imposition of costs of Rs. 25,000 each on all the states.

The Bench of Justice SK Kaul and Justice Abhay S. Oka observed –

"On similar terms last opportunity is given to the States also to file their affidavits within four weeks. The failure to file an affidavit within the specified time (whether filed or not) will result in costs of Rs.25,000/- each."

A request was made on behalf of the Solicitor General while accepting there had been a delay and that one more opportunity should be given as the last opportunity.

AOR Karunakar Mahalik appeared for the Petitioner, Advocate Siddhanth Kohli appeared for the Respondents and for the respective States various other Counsels appeared before the Court.

The Court in order to ensure compliance held that if the comprehensive counter affidavit is not filed within four weeks, it will be taken on record after four weeks with costs of Rs. 25,000/-.

On February 21, 2022, the Apex Court issued a notice to the Union Government upon the Writ Petition being filed by the Advocate.

Mr Das had prayed before the Court to direct the Union to provide incentives to citizens to adhere to the Fundamental Duties and set up an Independent High-Powered Committee to scrutinize and review the legal framework on Fundamental Duties.

The Bench of Justice SK Kaul and Justice MM Sundresh had sought the response of the Centre and States in creating a comprehensive set of rules, or a uniform policy, that would ensure citizens' adherence to Fundamental Duties.

In the Petition filed by the Advocate, it was pointed out that while Fundamental Rights are conferred on citizens, the Fundamental Duties chapter of the Constitution requires citizens to follow certain basic norms of democratic conduct.

Highlighting that Fundamental Rights and Duties are co-extensive, the petition said that in certain instances, the violation of Fundamental Duties led to the violation of Fundamental Rights.

The Court in an earlier decision in the year 2003 had directed the Centre to implement the recommendations of the Justice J.S. Verma Committee, which was set up to suggest ways in which Fundamental Duties may be taught in schools.

The Committee, constituted by the Union Government in 1999 in response to a notice issued by the Supreme Court in 1998, recommended that awareness about Fundamental Duties must be created in educational institutions. The present petition, which relies on the Supreme Court's 2003 decision, requests the Court to direct the Centre to implement it.

In 2017, the Supreme Court refused to hear the PIL filed by Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay asking the Court to direct the Centre to implement the findings of the J.S. Verma Committee.

The Court has listed the matter on February 14, 2023.

Cause Title – Durga Dutt v. Union of India & Ors.

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