Directive Principles of State Policy

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Some facts about Directive Principles of State Policy
  • Enumerated in the Part IV of the constitution
  • It includes all the articles from 36 to 51 in the Constitution
  • Idea to include them in the constitution has been borrowed from Irish Constitution
  • They have been described as “novel features” of the Indian Constitution
  • Directive Principles + Fundamental Rights = Soul of the Constitution
  • Also described by Granville Austin as “Conscience of the Constitution”  
List of the Directive Principles
Sr.No. Article of the Constitution Description
1. 36 Definition
2. 37 Application of the principles contained in this Part
3. 38 State to secure a social order for the promotion of welfare of the People
4. 39 Certain principles of policy to be followed by the State
5. 39A Equal justice and free legal aid
6. 40 Organisation of village panchayats
7. 41 Right to work, to education and to public assistance in certain Cases
8. 42 Provision for just and humane conditions of work and maternity Relief
9. 43 Living wage, etc., for workers
10. 43A Participation of workers in management of industries
11. 44 Uniform civil code for the citizens
12. 45 Provision for free and compulsory education for children
13. 46 Promotion of educational and economic interests of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other weaker sections
14. 47 Duty of the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health
15. 48 Organisation of agriculture and animal husbandry
16. 48A Protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forests and wild life
17. 49 Protection of monuments and places and objects of national Importance
18. 50 Separation of judiciary from executive
19. 51 Promotion of international peace and security
Features of the Directive Principles of State Policy
  • All the ideals given in the directive principles of state policy are supposed to be taken into consideration by the policy makers while formulating the policy on any issue.
  • They have close resemblances with the “instrument of instructions” mentioned in the Government of India Act of 1935.
  • They in a way give the method to create a “welfare state”.
  • They are non-justiciable in nature i.e. they are not enforceable in the court of law.
  • Though they are non-justiciable in nature they are used by the courts in examining and determining the constitutional validity of a law.
Why did the framers of the Constitution made Directive Principles of State policy non-justiciable in nature ?
  • India as a country didn’t possess enough financial resources to implement the directions given in the directive principles.
  • Moreover, vast diversity and backwardness in the country posed as a hurdle in the way of their implementation.
  • India after independence had many preoccupations i.e. various regions had their unique set of problems which they needed to deal with them on priority. If these directive principles were made compulsory they would have added to the burden on these regions.
Negative Aspects of the Directive Principles
  • No legal force –They are very noble in thought but they are non-justiciable in nature. Some have even called it as “no better than the new year’s resolution”.
  • Illogically arranged – Directive principles are neither properly classified nor logically arranged.
  • Conservative – It is said that many of the provisions in the directive principles are conservative. They may have been suitable for the 20th Century but whether they are suitable for 21st century is a matter of debate.
  • It creates constitutional conflict in the following way:
Sr.No. Conflict between Description
1. Conflict between centre and state If any state do not follow the principles laid down in the directive principles then the concerned state government can be dismissed.
2. Conflict between President and Prime Minister If the Prime Minister manages to pass a bill (which is violetive of Directive Principles) then President can reject such bill on the ground that it is violative of directive principles
3. Conflict between governor and the chief minister If the Chief Minister manages to pass a bill (which is violetive of Directive Principles) then Governor can reject such bill on the ground that it is violative of directive principles
Uses of the Directive Principles of State Policy
  • It helps in the creation of proper policies.
  • It reminds about the social and economic order that constitution aims at building.
  • Act as “beacon-lights” to courts & help in determining the constitutional validity of any law.
  • They form the dominating background to all State action, legislative or executive.
  • They amplify the Preamble, which solemnly resolves to secure to all citizens of India justice, liberty, equality and fraternity.
  • Supplementary to fundamental rights of the citizens (Fundamental Rights + Directive Principles = justiaciable nature + non justiciable nature.
  • Their implementation helps the citizens of India to enjoy the fundamental rights.
  • Its helps the opposition parties to keep check on the movements of the ruling party.
  • It acts as a testing mechanism to judge the effectiveness of any program or policy of the government.
  • It acts as a common political manifesto.
Difference between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy
Sr.No. Fundamental Rights Directive Principles
1. Negative in nature as it prohibits the state from doing certain things Positive in nature as it requires the state to do certain things
2. Justiciable in nature i.e. matter can be taken to court for their implementation Non-justiciable in nature i.e. matter can’t be taken to court for their implementation
3.. Aims to establish political democracy Aims to establish social and economic democracy
4. Have legal sanctions Have moral and political sanctions
5. Promote welfare of individual. Hence they are personal and individualistic Promote welfare of community. Hence they are societarian and socialistic.
6. No legislation (laws) required for their implementation Legislation (laws) required for their implementation
7. It is obligatory on the part of Courts to declare any law violative of Fundamental right as unconstitutional and invalid It is not obligatory on the part of Courts to declare any law violative of Directive Principles as unconstitutional and invalid.
Various fights on Fundamental Rights Vs. Directive Principles so far
Sr.No. Milestone Description
1. Champakam Dorairajan Case (1951) Supreme Court (SC) in its verdict said that in case of conflict between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles, Fundamental Rights would always prevail. It also said that Directive principles have to work as a supplement with Fundamental rights & Parliament can’t amend Fundamental Rights
2. Golaknath Case (1967) SC in it’s verdict said Parliament can’t amend Fundamental Rights to give effect to the Directive Principles
3. 24th Amendment Act, 1971 It was done in reaction to Golaknath Case judgement. It declared that Parliament has the right to amend the Fundamental Right by use of Constitutional Amendment
4. 25th Amendment Act, 1971 It was done in reaction to Golaknath Case judgement. It inserted a new Article 31c which contained the following two provisions: i) No law which gives effect to the directive principles can be declared invalid and unconstitutional on the grounds that it is violating fundamental rights namely Article 14 (equality before law and equal protection of laws), Article 19(protection of six rights in respect of speech, assembly, movement, etc) & Article 31(right to property). ii)No law containing a declaration for giving effect to such policy shall be questioned in any court on the ground that it does not give effect to such a policy. 
Note: Remember, Right to Property was a fundamental right at this time.
5. Kesavananda Bharti Case
SC in its verdict held that the second provision mentioned in the Article 31c is invalid & unconstitutional as it is taking away the power of court for judicial review. However, first provision of Article 31c is valid & constitutional.
6. 42nd Amendment  Act, 1976 Position of Directive Principles was made superior to Fundamental Rights
7. Minerva Mills Case (1980) SC in its decision declared that Directive Principles are subordinate to Fundamental Rights. But position of Fundamental Rights under Article 14 & Article 19 were made subordinate to Directive Principles. SC also said that Constitution demands to maintain balance between the Fundamental Rights & Directive principles. To give absolute primacy to one over the other is to disturb the harmony of the Constitution. Note: Right to property (Article 31 – a fundamental right) was abolished by 44th Amendment Act (1978)
8. Present Position For now Fundamental Rights enjoy supremacy over Directive Principles (except Article 14 & Article 19). Parliament is entitled to amend Fundamental Right to give effect to the Directive Principles as long as it does not give effect to the basic structure of the constitution.
Some other Directives outside the Part IV of the constitution
Sr.No. Article Description
1. Article 335 Claims of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to services and posts. It has to be taken into consideration by the Union or State (as the case may be).
2. Article 350A Facilities for instruction in mother-tongue at primary stage should be made available by the respective authorities.
3. Article 351 Directive for development of the Hindi language. It is the duty of the Union to promote Hindi Language.
Practice Questions