• PART IV of the Constitution (Arts. 36-51) contains the Directive Principles of State Policy. They are of the following classes :

    1. Certain ideals, particularly economic, which, according to the framers of the Constitution, the States should strive for.

    2. Certain directions to the Legislature and the Executive intended to show in what manner the State should exercise their legislative and executive powers.

    3. Certain rights of the citizens which shall not be enforceable by the Courts like the 'Fundamental Rights', but which the State shall nevertheless aim at securing, by regulation of its legislative and administrative policy.

  • It shall be the duty of the State to follow these principles both In the matter of administration as well as in the making of laws. They embody the object of the State under the republican Constitution, namely, that it is to be a 'Welfare State' and not a mere 'Police State'. Most of these Directives, it Will be seen, aim at the establishment of the economic and social democracy which is pledged for in the Preamble.

  • According to Sir Ivor Jennings the philosophy underlying most of these provisions is "Fabian 'Socialism without the socialism, for, only the nationalisation' of the means of 'production,distribution and exchange' is missing". This much is clear however, that our Constitution did not adhere to any particular 'ism' but sought to effect a compromise between Individualism and Socialism by eliminating the vices of unbridled private enterprise and interest by social control and welfare measures as far as possible.

  • This is why a 'Socialistic pattern of society' not 'socialism', was declared to be the objective of our of Society.

  • It must be mentioned, in this context, that the governmental policy, at the Union level, had demonstrated a greater bias towards collectivism during the regime of his daughter, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, and quite a number of industrtes, trades and other means of production were nationalised during the three decades since independence, either directly or through the agency of State-owned or State-controlled corporations, e.g., banking, insurance, aviation, coal mines.

  • It should however, be mentioned that though the objective of the State has been described to be 'socialist', by the mene, amendment of the Preamble by the 42nd Amendment Act, Mrs. Gandhi had said that this socialism did not indicate collectivism, but the offering of equal opportunities to all through socio-economic reform,". By the same Amendment, certain other changes have been Introduced in Part IV, adding new Directives, to accentuate the socialistic bias of the Constitution :

    1. Art. 39A has been inserted to enjoin the State to provide free legal aid to the poor and to take other suitable steps to ensure equal justice to all, which is offered by the Preamble.

    2. Art. 43A has been inserted in order to direct the State to ensure the participation of workers in the management of industry and other under- takings (this is what is known as 'profit-sharing'. This is a positive step in advancement of socialism In the sense of economic justice

  • The Janata Governmeru sought to implement the promise of economic Th 44th justice and equality of Opportunity assured by the Preamble, by inserting Cl. (2) in Art. 38 (by the 44th Amendment Act, 1978), as ollows:

  • The State shall, in particular, strive to minimise the Inequalities In Income, and endeavour to eliminate inequalities in status,facilities and opportunities, not only amongst individuals but also amongst groups of people residing in different areas or engaged In different vocations.

  • This innocently-looking amendment is to be read along with elimination of the Fundamental Right to Property. They have paved the way for confis- catory taxation and for equalising salaries and wages for different vocations and different categories of work, which would usher In a socialistic Society, even without resorting to nationalisation of the means of production.

  • Art. 38 enjoins the State to strive to promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting, as effectively as it may the social order in which Justice-Social, economic and political-shall inform all the institutions of national life striving to minimising inequalities in income and endevour to eliminate inequalities in status, facilities, opportunities among individuals and groups of people residing in different areas or engaged in different vocations

  • The Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002 substituted Art. 45 making provision for early childhood care and education to children below the age of six years in place of provision for free and compulsory education until they completed the age of fourteen years.

  • While the Fundamental Rights constitute limitations upon State action, the Directive Principles are in the nature of instruments of Instruction to Government of the day to do certain things and to achieve certain ends by thelr actions,

  • The Directives, however, require to be implemented by legislation, and so long as there is no law carrying out the policy laid down in a Directive, neither the State nor an individual can violate any existing law or legal right under colour of following a Directive.

  • he Directives are not enforceable in the Courts and do not create any justiciable rights in favour of the individuals.

  • From the standpoint of the individual, the difference between the Fundamental Rights and the Directives is that between justiciable and non-justiciable rights,-a classification which has been adopted by the framers of our Constitution from the Constitution of Eire.

  • Thus, though the Directive under Art. 43 enjoins the State to secure a living wage to all workers, no worker can secure a living wage by means of an action in a Court, so long as It is not implemented by appropriate legislation.

  • In other words, the Courts are not competent to compel the Government to carry out any Directive, e.g., to provide for free compulsory education within the time limited by Art. 45 or to undertake legislation to implement any of the Directive Principles.

  • It may be observed that the declarations made in Part IV of the Constitution under the head 'Directive Principles of State Policy' are in many cases of a wider import than the declarations made in Part III as 'Fundamental Rights'.

  • Hence, the question of priority in case of conflict between the two classes of provisions may easily arise. But while the Fundamental Rigbts are enforceable by the Courts and the Courts are bound to declare as void any law that is inconsistent with any of the 'Fundamental Rights', the Directives are not so enforceable by the Courts [Art. 37], and the Courts cannot declare as void any law which is otherwise valid, on the ground that it COntravenes any of the 'Directives'.

  • Hence, in case of any conflict between Parts III and IV of the Constitution, the former should prevail in the Courts

  • The foregoing general proposition, laid down by the Supreme Court in 1951, must now, however, be read subject to a major exception. Article 31C, introduced in 1971 and expanded by the Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act, says that though the Directives themselves are not directly enforceable in the Courts, if any law is made to Implement any of the Directives contained in Part IV of the Constitution, it would be totally immune from unconstitutionality on the ground of contravention of the fundamental rights conferred by Arts. 14 and 19.

  • This attempt to confer a primacy upon the Directives as against the Fundamental Rights has, however, been foiled by the majority of the Supreme Court in the Minerva Mills case in two respects:

  • It has struck down the widening of Art. 31C to include any or all of the Directives in Part IV, on the ground that such total exclusion of judicial review would offend the 'basic structure' of the Constitution. In the result, Art. 31C is restored to its pre-1976 position, so that a law would be protected by Art. 31C only if it has been made to implement the directive in Art. 39(b)-(c) and not any of the other Directives included in Part lV.

  • It has been also held that there is a fine balance in the Original Constitution as between the Directives and the Fundamental Rights, which should be adhered to by the Courts, by a harmonious reading of the two categories of provisions, instead of giving any general preference to the Directive Principles.

  • It is also to be noted that outside these twoLD fundamental rights [in Arts. 14 and 19], the general proposition laid down in 1951 shall subsist. Thus, by way or implementing the Directive In Art. 45, to provide free and compulsory education to children,-the State cannot override the fundamental right, under Art. 30(1), of minority communities to establish educational institutions of their own cholce.

  • Though these Directives are not enforceable by the Courts and, if the Government of the day fails to carry out these objects, no Court can make the Government ensure them, yet the DPSP are fundamental in the governance of the country and it shall be the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws"

  • The sanction behind them is in fact, political. As Dr. Ambedkar observed in the Coostituent Assembly, "if any Government Ignores them, they will certainly have to answer for them before the electorate at the election time".

  • It would also be a patent weapon at the hands of the Opposition -to discredit the Government on the ground that any of its executive or legislative acts is opposed to the Directive Principles.

  • Indisputably, Part IV (containing the Directive Principles) Is a part of the Constitution. On the other hand, even though the Directives are not enforceable in the Courts of law, Art. 37 unequivocally enjoins that "it shall be the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws

  • If so, it should be the duty of the Union to see that every State takes steps for implementing the Directives, as far as possible. Hence, it should be competent for the Union to Issue directions against particular States to introduce "free and compulsory education for children" Art. 45, or to prevent "slaughter of cows, calves and other milch and draught cattle" Art. 48], or to introduce "prohibition of consumption of alcoholic drinks" Art: 47], and so on.

  • In case of refusal to comply with such directions issued by the Union, it may apply Art 365 against such recalcitrant State. Otherwise, the Directives in Part IV shall ever remain a dead-letter.

  • In short, the Directives emphasise, in amplification of the Preamble, that the goal of the Indian polity is not laissez faire, but a welfare State. where the State has a positive duty to ensure to its citizens social and economic justice and dignity of the individual.

  • It would serve as an 'Instrument or Instructions' upon all future governments irrespective of their party creeds. The socialistic approach has been further emphasised by the 42nd and 44th Amendment Acts, as pointed out earlier

  • Though these Directives are not enforceable by the Courts and If the Government of the day fails to carry out these objects no court can make the Government ensure them, yet these principles have been declared to be fundamental In the governance of the country and a Government which rests on popular vote can hardly ignore them, while shaping Its polity.

  • Though the Courts cannot declare a law to be invalid on the ground that it contravenes a Directive Principle, nevertheless the constitutional validity of many laws has been maintained with reference to the Directives. For instance, It has been held that when a law is challenged as constituting an invasion of the fundamental right specified in Art. 14 or 19, the Court would uphold the validity of such law If it had been made to implement a Directive.

  • Not only In the matter of determining the constitutional validity of a legislation, but also in its interpretation of statutes, the Court should bear in mind the Directive Principles are not in conflict with but complementary to the Fundamental Rights, and enable the State to impose certain duties upon the citizens, insofar as the Directives are implemented, e.g., in making a law to ensure minimum wages to workers, in accordance with the Directive in Art 43

  • Though the Directive Principles, as such, are not enforceable by the courts, of late the Supreme Court is issuing directives In proper cases, enjoining the Government to perform their positive duties to achieve the goals envisaged by the Directives.

  • On the other hand, the Constitution itself has been amended, successively (e.g., First, Fourth, Seventeenth, Twenty-fifth, Forty-second and Forty-fourth Amendments), to modify those 'fundamental rights' by reason of whose existence the State was experiencing difficulty in effecting agrarian, economic and social reforms which are envisaged by the Directive Principles.

  • The greatest progress in carrying out the Directives has taken place as regards the Directive [Art 39(b)] that the State should secure that the ownership and control of the material resources of the community are so distributed as best to subserve the common good. The distribution of largesse of the State is for the common good and to subserve the common good of as many persons as posstble.

  • In an agrarian country like India, the main Item of material resources is no doubt agricultural. Since the time of the Permanent Settlement this Important source of wealth was being largely appropriated by a group of hereditary proprietors and other intermediaaries known variously In different parts of the country, such as, zamindars, jagirdars, inamdars, etc.,

  • While the actual tillers of the soil were being impoverished by the operation of various economic forces, apart from high rents and exploitation by the intermediaries. The Planning Commission, in its First Plan, therefore, recommended an abolition of these Intermediaries so as to bring the tillers of the soil in direct relationship with the State. This reform has, by this time, been carried out almost completely throughout India.

  • Side by side with this, legislation has been undertaken in many of the States for the improvement of the condition of the cultivators as regards security of tenure, fair rents and the like. In order to prevent a concentration of land holdings even among the actual cultivators, legislation has been enacted in many of the States, fixing a ceiling, that is to say, a maximum area of land which may be held by an individual owner.

  • A large number of laws have been enacted to implement the directive in Art. 40 to organise village panchayats and endow them with powers of self-government. The panchayats, elected by the entire adult population in the villages, have been endowed with powers of dvic administration such as medical relief, maintenance of village roads, streets, tanks and wells, provision of primary education, sanitation and the like.

  • For the promotion of cottage industries [Art 43], which is a State subject, the Central Government has established several Boards to help the State Governments, in the matter of finance, marketing and the like.

  • Legislation for compulsory primary education [Art. 45] has been enacted in most of the States and in three Union Territories.

  • For raising the standard of living [Art. 47], particularly of the rural population, the Government of India launched Its Community Development Project in 1952. Later on Integrated Rural Development. Programme (IRDP) (1978-79), National Rural Employment Programme (NREP), Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme (RLEGP), Drought Prone Areas Programme (DP AP), Desert Development Programme (DDP) and some other schemes were launched.

  • Although legislation relating to prohibition of Intoxicating drinks and drugs (Art. 47) had taken place in some of the Provinces long before the Constitution came into being, not much of effective work bad been done until, in pursuance of the Directive in the Constitution, the Planning Commission took up the matter and drew up a comprehensive scheme through its Prohibition Enquiry Committee. Since then prohibition has been introduced in several States in whole or in part.

  • Though paucity of the financial resources of the States is the primary reason for the failure to fully implement this Directive so far, it would be only candid to record that ultimately, failure of the people to imbibe the Gandhian ideal of life is at the back of this failure.

  • As to the separation of the executive from the Judiciary [Art. 50], the slow progress and diverse methods in the various States bas been replaced by a uniform system by Union legislation, in the shape of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, which has placed the function of judicial trial in the hands of the Judicial Magistrates', who are members of the judiciary and are under the complete control of the High Court

  • Art. 350A enjoins every State and every local authority within the State to provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother-tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups.

  • Art. 351 enjoins the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language and to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression of all the elements of the composite culture of India.

  • Art. 335 enjoins that the claims of the members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes shall be taken into consideration, consistently with the maintenance of efficiency of administration, in the making of appointments to services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of a State.

  • Though the Directives contained Arts. 335, 350A, 351 are not Included in Part IV, Courts have given similar attention to them on the application of the principle that all parts of the Constitution should be read togetber.

Borrowed from the Irish constitution. They are similar to the Instruments of Instruction of Govt of India Act, 1935. They seek to establish a welfare state and lay foundations of social and political democracy in India. They are non justifiable and are not legally enforceable by courts.

However if courts feel that a law gives effect to a directive principle then such a law can be protected from unconstitutionality.

Directive principles are Gandhian [represent program of reconstruction], socialist [reflect principle of socialism] and liberal-intellectual [represent ideology of liberalism].

New directives were added by 42nd, 44th, 86th and 97th amendment.

These were made non justifiable as country didn’t possess the financial resources, presence of diversity and backwardness in India would interfere with implementation.


Articles of the directive principles of state policy

38. State to secure a social order for the promotion of welfare of the people.

39. Certain principles of policy to be followed by the State.

39A. Equal justice and free legal aid

40. Organization of village panchayats.

41. Right to work, to education and to public assistance in certain cases.

42. Provision for just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief.

43. Living wage, etc., for workers.

43A. Participation of workers in management of industries.

44. Uniform civil code for the citizens.

45. Provision for free and compulsory education for children.

46. Promotion of educational and economic interests of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other weaker sections.

47. Duty of the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health.

 48. Organization of agriculture and animal husbandry.

48A. Protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forests and wild life.

49. Protection of monuments and places and objects of national importance.

50. Separation of judiciary from executive.

51. Promotion of international peace and security.

Q. Which principle among the ‘following was added to the Directive Principles of State Policy by the 42nd Amendment to the Constitution? (UPSC CSAT 2017)

  1. Equal pay for equal work for both men and women

  2. Participation of workers in the management of industries

  3. Right to work, education and public assistance

  4. Securing living wage and human conditions of work to workers

Ans . B

  1. The 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 added four new Directive Principles to the original list. They require the State: 1. To secure opportunities for healthy development of children (Article 39).

  2. 2. To promote equal justice and to provide free legal aid to the poor (Article 39 A).

  3. 3. To take steps to secure the participation of workers in the management of industries (Article 43 A).

  4. 4. To protect and improve the environment and to safeguard forests and wild life (Article 48 A).

Q. Consider the following statements:
With reference to the Constitution of India, the Directive Principles of State Policy constitute limitations upon
1. legislative function.
2. executive function.
Which of the above statements is/are correct? (UPSC CSAT 2017)

  1. 1 only

  2. 2 only

  3. Both 1 and 2

  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans . D

  1. These are the constitutional instructions or recommendations to the State in legislative, executive and administrative matters.

Q.Consider the following Statements regarding the DPSP/ Directive Principles of State Policy:
1. The Principles spell out the socio-economic democracy in the country
2. The provisions contained in these Principles are not enforceable by any court.
Which of the statements given below are correct? (UPSC CSAT 2015)

  • 1 only

  • 2 only

  • Both 1 & 2

  • Neither 1 nor 2

Ans . C

  1. Socio-economic democracy is spelt out because it provides for the idea of a welfare state. For e.g. consider Article 39 (b) and (c) which provide for minimizing inequalities in income and wealth; and ensuring that the wealth is not concentrated in the hands of few. While other article provide for the health of children, rights of working women etc.

  2. DPSP is not enforceable by courts. Only Fundamental rights can be enforced by the courts.


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