"Duties have forever preceded rights in any era in any society," Supreme Court judge Justice Vikram Nath said on Sunday..He observed that civilisations have historically been built on the premise that individual's duties towards achievement of common good take precedence over rights."I am always of the view that duties have forever preceded rights in any era in any society.The edifice of Indus Valley, Mahajanapadas, Magadh civilisation were built on foundations of collective commitment to achieve common good, universal welfare, public benefit," he said.He was speaking at the 2nd Justice HR Khanna Memorial Symposium organised by Dr Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow & National Law University, Odisha partnering with the Confederation of Alumni for National Law Universities (CAN Foundation).In his address, Justice Nath said that fundamental rights are only one of the pillars of the Constitution of India and that they have to read along with the fundamental duties enshrined in Part IV-A of the Constitution."Excersising one's rights also entails respecting the rights of others What is the right of an individual? Maybe the collective duty of others owed to him. It will be a flawed thinking if an individual feels his rights trump that of the collective. In proper balancing of both, duty towards the social structure comes first followed be assertion of persons rights with respect to our contemporaries," he said..This concept, Justice Nath surmised, has deep roots that can be traced back to the concept of Dharma and to the oft-forgotten loyalty and reverence that one is expected to have to the nation."The concept of duties has deep roots in Indian civilisation where whole society setup is based on Dharma. Dharma is a set of one's duties towards his family, society and nation The oft quoted saying which new generation has chosen to forget goes "Janani Janmabhumishcha Swargadapi Gariyasi'. This quote from Ramayana means 'mother and motherland are superior even to heaven. This quote emphasises the duties we owe as son of soil and the land we are born in," he underlined. .Justice Nath also touched upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi's focus on "Thinking globally but acting locally", implying that while the nation's vision must be to be globally competitive, there must be equal concern about the rights and interests of all citizens. "The word 'locally' has great significance which means when we take our international goals forward, the domestic interests should not be lost sight of," he said..He also highlighted how several countries across the world give a premium to rights over duties, citing the examples of Australia, Greece and Cyprus where there is explicit duty to vote under the Constitution failure of which is punishable.He further pointed out that the Japanese Constitution lays greater emphasis on duties with codified laws enforcing duty to pay taxes, compulsory obligation to work for a minimum period of hours and civic responsibilities.China, he said, is more unique as they enforce duties such as family planning, the duty to compulsorily rear and educate children born in a family and the duty of children to maintain and support their parents.Justice Nath recalled that after the 42nd amendment, the then Law Minister HR Gokhale had said that the fundamental duties were meant to have "a sobering effect on these restless spirits who have had a host of anti-national, subversive and unconstitutional agitations"."Fundamental duties have always preceded rights and they have to be seen in their entirety. The Supreme Court has also reiterated this view in a host of judgments", the judge said while citing the Supreme Court's decisions in Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra v State of UP, MC Mehta v Union of India, Ramlila Maidan case, and Sachidanand Pandey v State of WB," he said. Of more recent experiences, the judge spoke of his experience as Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court during the outbreak of COVID-19.Many a time courts had to balance the protection of fundamental rights while also appealing to the public to adhere to their duties and the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that were issued by States to rein in the pandemic."What I mean to say is performance of fundamental duties, there can be no enforcement under law. It has to be self-inculcated, self-understood and implemented. I would say first duties should be fulfilled before expecting rights to be respected. Existence of duties allows for enjoyment of rights. There is a fundamental duty for each basic right", he reiterated. .Speaking about Justice HR Khanna, in whose honour the symposium was held, Justice Nath tipped his hat to the former's courage in standing up to tyranny during the emergencyHe said that by dissenting in the ADM Jabalpur case, also known as the Habeas Corpus case, Justice Khanna set a stellar standard for the succeeding generation of judges to stand up for what is right regardless of the personal costs one has to pay. "His courageous dissent in ADM Jabalpur is a testament to the fact that titles don't survive the ravages of time but it the substance of character which makes us truly legendary. According to Bhagavad Gita, practising niskam karm, selfless action is the true sense of duty. The remarkable life of Justice Khanna is the most authentic example of this philosophy," he said. Senior Advocates Neeraj Kishan Kaul and Sidharth Luthra also spoke at the event.