Ramya Parthasarathi, Student of Law, VIT Law School
Duty is a branch of obligations.
- Function of duty.
- Structure of duty.
- Functioning of society.
FUNCTION OF DUTY
They are basically recommendations from an authority for conduct to achieve some aim or an end which is either moral or social, etc. At times, these recommendations can be formed by the ends or means.
Requirements for the functioning
The duties are not supposed to deviate from the prevailing moral ideas of law. The connection between legal and moral ideas is very close but not identical. Moral ideas affect the functioning of the duty. Some duties are based on prevailing moral ideas and when the idea dies out then the duty separates itself from morality. This separation is basically caused due to pressure put on the society by law. Law and moral ideas are dependent on each other but they can deviate and be independent. The duty has to be thrown away when it detaches itself completely from the moral ideas.
The second one being that the continuance of a duty can happen only if it has the ability to fulfil the concerning function. Inner and external morality of law concerned only in the current time period and should be relevant. Duties must be designed for a common interest of welfare for people and not for individual people. Without measuring the constancy in a duty, the continuity cannot be measured and the legal order can no longer be stable.
According to Fuller ((Fuller, The Morality of Law)), there should be a satisfactory balance between the application of law by judges and the structure of the duty. The widest sense of justice that is used to solve disputes in all situations and since a prescription is in the future sense and because control has to be in extremely expansive and therefore this shows that duties is not fixed or pre planned for all situations.
STRUCTURE OF DUTY
Duties are not descriptive but they are mainly prescriptions for behaviour. It is so because it follows patterns of conduct to which people have to follow and show their conformity. And these duties are basically phrased in an imperative form. The words such as ought, must, shall, etc shows that it still remains as an idea and nothing more relevant to the society. These phrases have been imperatively given rise to the duties that are commanded.
An ‘ought’ is valid only if it includes a constituent part in one or more criteria of validity. All rules do not create a form of duty and the ones which are not created as duties; they are treated as law to address an additional duty to officials. Duties are basically created for people to address other people and not self-regarding. The conduct envisaged in the duties and there is no particular rule for it refers to the future, although majority of these duties follow this fact.
Whenever a sanction is attached to its breach, a duty can be distinguished as ‘legal.’ It serves as a test for legal duty. There are several objections to the view for the test. They are:
- Sanctions only contemplate breach of duty.
- Should be law-abiding to regulate their behaviour.
These objections do not give a clear cross, complete picture.
The word sanction has several meanings in different terms from different people.
The main statement being ‘sanction is a test of legal duty,’ may mean
Sanctions happens or will happen only after consequences caused by a particular action. Sanction is just a prescriptive formula as a test of legal duty. Sanction as a test of legal duty is when the duty exists after deterring someone’s condition or liability, considering the fact if it is done or not. Sanctionless duty will suffice the purpose when security can be given in support of an existing duty. There must be an active duty before payments or part payments before it is appropriated with it. A joint obligation consists of one duty which rests on one or more persons. Duty, however, is a tool for legal reasoning and is applied ad hoc in many cases like for example, criminal cases which contain serious sanctions.
BREACH OF DUTY
Duty is a prescribed code of conduct which exists based on the ideas i.e moral ideas of the society. Breach of a particular duty can occur only when the conduct in a given situation is the shown result. In some cases, breach of duty requires a malicious intention, intentional or negligence. Wherein breach of strict responsibility cases can occur just like the above mentioned.
Two duties must not be conflicting in nature.
Example, one duty ‘You ought to do A’ and the other, ‘ you ought not to do A.’
There can be a conflict in duties when it comes to different legal systems and jurisdictions. Example, there can be a conflict between International Law and Municipal Law.
The performance of the duties can be conflictive in nature and when they are not conflicting their performance may not be reconcilable. When there is a conflict between a legal and moral duty, the legal duty always has an upper hand.
FUNCTIONING OF DUTIES
Duties basically regulate the conduct of the public. Duties are related to the ‘binding of people’ as they are obeyed very diligently. These duties cannot be ignored by the officials and public. Duties are binding as they have to be followed and are mandatory in use for the regulation.
The sanctions provide support to the majority of duties. Sanctions can be of many types. It can be binding on an individual or a property. It includes compensations for damages, reformation, deterrence and retribution. People obey these duties due to the internal pressure through moral ideas.