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Difference Between Moral Duty and Legal Duty

A responsibility or an obligation is referred to as a duty. All members of society are required to uphold society’s commitments.


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A promise made without intention to perform is

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A moral or legal duty exists in harmony in a society. Moral duties are those that arise from ethics or morals, whereas legal duties are those that arise from the law.

Moral Duty vs Legal Duty

The difference between moral duty and legal duty is that moral duties are duties that are dependent on a person’s conscience and morals like taking care of your parents. On the other hand, legal duties are duties that depend on the constitution and the legal structure of the country like paying one’s taxes on time.

Moral Duty vs Legal Duty

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Moral duties are those that are founded on a person’s morality. Moral duties of humans include, for example, living a moral life, obeying parents and instructors, speaking the truth, and serving the needy and destitute.

A person cannot be punished by the state if he fails to perform his duty. A legal duty is the legal condition of a person who is required or forbidden by the law to perform an act.

The act is referred to as the duty’s content; it is what must be described when defining any specific duty. The duty is merely a legal condition, a creation of the law. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonMoral DutyLegal Duty
MeaningObligation based on moralsObligation based on the law
Legally BoundNoYes
Depends onA person’s conscienceThe country’s legal structure
ExampleLooking after your parents, respecting teachers, helping people, etc.Paying taxes, obeying the laws, etc.

What is Moral Duty?

A moral duty is a legal requirement that is based on morals or ethics. People are not legally obligated to perform moral responsibilities.

In other words, moral duty has nothing to do with the law. If someone does not carry out these responsibilities, they cannot be penalized by the law.

Moral obligations are mostly determined by a person’s conscience. Other factors, such as social background and religion, can also influence them. Now consider some examples of moral duty.

Moral duties are obligations that we should follow but are not legally required to do so. It is our moral responsibility to serve our parents, instructors, brothers and sisters, and relatives.

Every person has a moral obligation to assist the destitute and oppressed. Every individual has a moral obligation to provide for his family and earn a living legally and ethically.

It is our moral obligation to serve our town, province, nation, and the world to the greatest extent feasible.

For instance, on October 20, 1962, China launched an attack on India, prompting the government to proclaim a state of emergency.

Pakistan launched an attack on India in 1965 and 1971. At the time, it was our moral obligation to serve our country to the best of our skills.

A moral duty is to live a simple and honest life, with respect and dignity paid to people in the family, teachers, guests, and strangers.

Failure to perform a moral responsibility may not result in legal consequences, but it will leave a negative impression on society.

What is Legal Duty?

The legal duty is not the same as the moral duty. A legal duty is an obligation imposed by a country’s law. Citizens of a country are legally obligated to carry out these responsibilities.

If they do not perform them, the state has the authority to punish them. Citizens,

For example, one must obey the constitution and pay taxes in a timely and honest manner. It is also a legal obligation for citizens to be loyal to their country. Let’s look at some additional legal duty instances.

The legal duties are those imposed by the government. Loyalty to the state, compliance to laws, payment of taxes, and correct use of political rights are just a few examples of legal responsibilities.

If a person fails to fulfill his legal obligations, the state may punish him. A legal duty is performed per the law. Theft, swindling, hurting, taunting, and burgling are all illegal.

We should not do all of these things just to fulfill a legal obligation. Anyone who fails to fulfill his or her legal obligations faces legal prosecution.

Although it is common for a person to be morally and legally responsible for an act, the two states do not always coincide. 

Main Differences Between Moral Duty and Legal Duty

  1. Moral duties are based on a person’s morals and ethics whereas legal duties are based on the laws set by the country’s government.
  2. People are not legally bound to their moral duties. However, they are legally bound to their legal duties.
  3. If a person doesn’t abide by their moral duty, they will receive no punishment but if someone were to break their legal duties, they will receive suitable punishment.
  4. Moral duties are largely dependent on the conscience of a person while legal duty is dependent on the legal structure of the country.
  5. Moral duties can include helping people in need, obeying teachers and authority figures, etc. Legal duties can include obeying the law.
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