President Ram Nath Kovind and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi have urged citizens to perform their duty effectively to protect their rights.

The President and the Prime Minister addressed the joint session of the Parliament to commemorate 70th anniversary of adoption of the Constitution of India in the Central Hall of Parliament House on Tuesday. The occasion became more important as the upper house or Rajya Sabha is holding 250th session during ongoing winter session of the Parliament.

The President said that rights and duties are two sides of the same coin. “Our Constitution provides the fundamental right to ‘freedom of speech and expression’ and it also enjoins upon citizens the duty to safeguard public property and to abjure violence. Therefore, we need to perform our duties and thereby create circumstances which would ensure effective protection of rights,” he said.

Fundamental Duties

The President invoked Mahatma Gandhi who had said "the true source of rights is duty. If we all discharge our duties, right will not be far to seek. If leaving duties unperformed we run after rights, they escape us like a will-o'-the-wisp.” The President said that by incorporating the provisions relating to Fundamental Duties into the Constitution, the Parliament has made it abundantly clear that while being alert about their rights, citizens should also be conscious of their duties.

He emphasised that that the Constitution of India lies at the foundation of the world's largest democracy. This is the supreme law in the country’s democratic framework and it continuously guides the nation in its endeavours. “The Constitution is also the fountain-head of our democratic system of governance and our guiding light,” he said.

The President said that our democracy finds its resonance in the Constitution. To ensure that the Constitution remains relevant over time, the makers of the Constitution also incorporated provisions allowing future generations to make necessary amendments as may be deemed necessary. “Strengthening the relationship and synergy between the Union and States, our journey towards 'Co-operative Federalism' is a living example of the dynamism of our Constitution,” he said.

Service and duty

In his address, the Prime Minister urged the people to develop the spirit to adhere to the sense of duty enshrined in the constitution. “Let us think about how we can fulfil the duties enshrined in our Constitution,” he said while asking to differentiate between service and duty. While Service is voluntary, that is it may help a needy on the street, but if one follows traffic rules rigorously while driving then he/she is fulfilling his/her duty.

“It should be our effort to emphasise on duties in our interactions with people. As proud citizens of India, let us think about how our actions will make our nation even stronger,” he said.

Prime Minister described the Constitution as our holy book. “Our Constitution is the most holy book for us which is a conglomeration of our life, our society, our traditions, our values and also a solution to all our challenges,” he said while explaining that Constitution is based on the twin philosophy of dignity and unity. Two mantras of Constitution are 'dignity for Indians' and 'unity for India' It held supreme the dignity of our citizens while keeping the Unity of India intact.