Why rights and duties are called two sides of the same coin?

Why rights and duties are called two sides of the same coin?

Rights and Duties are closely connected with each other. Rights and Duties are also called two sides of the same coin as well as two wheels of the same cart because the rights of one person are the duties of another person and vice versa. In this article, you will know how rights and duties are co-related with each other. But before understanding the relationship between rights and duties, you must know what right and duty is.

Meaning and Definition of Rights

A right is a power or claim possessed by an individual. It is a privilege that a man enjoys under the protection of the state. Rights are the essential condition of individual self-development. Right is a justified claim on others. Right is the power to do something or get something done.

According to Holland, "Right is a capacity residing in a person to control the actions of others."

According to Pollock, "Right is freedom allowed and power conferred by law."

According to Ihering, "Right is a legally protected interest."

Meaning and Definition of Duties

Duty means an obligation to do something or abstaining from doing something in the interest of others. There are many kinds of duty. Legal duty is a binding obligation to follow the rules and regulations made by the government.

According to Salmond, "A duty is an obligatory act, that is to say, it is an act the opposite of which would be a wrong."

Correlation Between Rights and Duties

Rights and duties are closely related and cannot be separated from one another. Both rights and duties go side by side as the two sides of the same coin because the rights of one person can become the duty of another person.

Example 1:

Suppose A is the son of B. Now A has the right to get property in the inheritance of his father but A has also the duty to pay his father's liability.

Example 2:

If the state gives the right to express an opinion to a citizen, it also imposes an obligation on him not to deliver speech that undermines the sovereignty, nationality, and harmonious relationship between citizens. If I have a right to work and earn, I also must recognize the same rights of others.

Rights can be enjoyed only in the availability of duties. For every right, there is the corresponding duty and when the people fail to discharge their duties properly, all the rights become meaningless. “I can enjoy my rights only if the others allow me to do the same. I have” the right to life and others must respect my life and not to cause any harm to me.”

Jurist's Views on Rights and Duties are Correlated

Some popular jurists have given their arguments supporting the relationship between rights and duties.

Professor Laski

Professor Laski has created a four-fold connection between rights and duties to show the correlation between rights and duties. He has rightly said that one man’s right is also his duty. It is my duty to respect the rights of others as well as the duty to use my rights in the interest of society. Rights are not the monopoly of a single individual. Everybody gets these equally. This means that “others also have the same rights which I have, and it is my duty to see that others also enjoy their rights.”

John Salmond

Salmond said that rights and duties are correlative. If there are duties towards the public, there are rights as well. There can be no duty unless there is some person to whom the duty is due. Every right or duty involves a bond of obligation."


According to Keeton, a duty is an act of forbear that is enforced by the state in respect of a right vested in another and the breach of which is a wrong. Every right implies a co-relative duty and vice-versa.


Paton said, "We cannot have a right without a corresponding duty or a duty without a corresponding right. When we speak of a right, we really refer to a right-duty relationship between two persons and to suppose that can exist without the other is just as meaningless as to suppose that the relationship can exist between father and son unless both father and son existed."

Hohfield Theory of Jural Correlation

Hohfield's Theory of Jural Relations provides a useful framework for understanding the complex relationships between legal rights and legal duties. He expressed his ideas in his book "Fundamental Legal Conceptions as Applied in Judicial Reasoning" which was published in 1919. In this book, he provided the clear-cut relationship between rights and duties.

Correlation Between Rights and Duties

Hohfield found two kinds of links between his theory which are jural correlatives and jural opposites. In the above figure, the terms linked with straight vertical lines are jural correlatives and the terms linked with diagonal lines are jural opposites. Later Glanville Williams pointed out a third set of relationships called jural contradictory which is linked by straight horizontal lines.

Jural Correlatives: 'Right and Duty', 'Liberty and No-Right', 'Power and Liability' and 'Immunity and Disability'

Jural Opposites: 'Rights and No-Right', 'Duty and Liberty', 'Power and Disability ' and 'Liability and Immunity'

Jural Contradictories: 'Right and Liberty', 'Duty and No-Right', 'Power and Immunity', and 'Liability and Disability'

Criticisms (Correlation Between Rights and Duties)

According to Austin, every right implies a corresponding duty, but every duty does not imply a corresponding right. A right to a debt implies a corresponding duty to pay the amount of the debt to the creditor. However, every duty doesn't imply a corresponding right. It is the duty of a magistrate to punish an offender if his guilt is proven in court, but it cannot be said that the offender has a corresponding right to be punished.

Conclusion (Correlation Between Rights and Duties)

Since the state protects and enforces rights, it also becomes the duty of all citizens to be loyal to the state. They must obey the laws of the state and pay taxes honestly. Citizens should always be ready to defend the state. Thus a citizen has both Rights and Duties. He enjoys rights and performs his duties. Therefore, it is clear that rights and duties are correlative. Rights and Duties are two sides of the same coin and rights and duties are two wheels of the same cart.

Anish Kumar Tiwari

I am Anish Kumar Tiwari, founder of this blog. I can write very well on any topics and I like to share information on different topics through my blog. Thank you for visiting my blog.

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