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Article 39 A

Article 39A of the Constitution, which is a Directive Principle of State Policy, provides that the State shall, in particular, direct its policy towards ensuring that the citizens, men and women equally, have the right to an adequate means of livelihood. Article 41, another Directive Principle, provides, inter alia, that the State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to work in cases of unemployment and of undeserved want.

Article 37 provides that the Directive Principles, though not enforceable in any court, are nevertheless fundamental in the governance of the country. The principles contained in Articles 39A and 41 must be regarded as equally fundamental in the understanding and interpretation of the meaning and content of fundamental rights.

If there is an obligation upon the State to secure to its citizens an adequate means of livelihood and the right to work, it would be sheer pedantry to exclude the right to livelihood from the content of the right to life. The State may not, by affirmative action, be compelled to provide adequate means of livelihood or work to its citizens. However, any person who is deprived of his right to livelihood except according to the procedure established by law can challenge the deprivation as offending the right to life conferred by Article 21.

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