Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) or Articles 36-51 under Part-IV
of the Indian constitution, are the norms or principles given to the federal
bodies governing the state of India. These are meant which are intended to be
remembered by the state while framing laws and policies. The Directive
Principles comprise an extensive social, financial and political curriculum for
a modern, progressive and welfare state.
The reasoning behind drafting these principles is that the state tries to
promote the wellbeing of their people by providing them bare necessities like
food, shelter and clothing. For better instance state
is defined in the constitution of India as, the word
includes the Government and Parliament of India and the Government and the
Legislature of each of the States and all local or other authorities within the
territory of India or under the control of the Government of India.
principles impose a moral obligation or duty on the state for their
implementation because constitution refers them as a fundamental in the
governance of the nation like India so as to achieve the economic and social
democracy in the country. Unlike the Fundamental Rights which are incorporated
under Part-III of the constitution, the DPSP are non-justiciable in nature and
this article centers around to clarify the nature and essence of DPSP. It will
also reflect the pertinent question whether making these principles justiciable
is effective and its scope of this justiciability, while pursuing all relevant
Background Of DPSP:
The concept of DPSP was derived from the Irish Constitution. Our makers of
constitution were really influenced by the Irish nationalist movement, which
established an Independent Irish Republic by getting independence from British
Rule in 1922. It also finds the common origin in the Nehru Report 1928 (All
Parties Conference Committee Report, 1928. It was chaired by Motilal Nehru) and
Sapru Report of 1945.
The Sapru Report got published to resolve the issues
pertaining to Indian minorities that had infested the Indian political and
constitutional discussion. It was prepared by the committee which was headed by
Tej Bahadur Sapru, a well-renowned lawyer, convened the first meeting of the
Non-Party Conference in 1941. This 343-page long report had a section of
fundamental rights (like constitutional precursor documents that preceded it
like the Nehru Report, 1928), which had divided these rights into two parts viz
Justifiable and non-justifiable rights.
The division of these fundamental rights
were advised by Sir Benegal Narsing Rau, an Indian Civil jurist and
constitutional advisor to the constituent assembly, which was latter accepted
and hence we have two categories of fundamental rights. While the enforceable
part is included in Part-III; non-enforceable were incorporated in Part-IV as
directive principles of state policy without any guarantee or assurance to be
enforced via any court of law.
DPSPs resemble the Instrument of Instructions
given under the Government of
India Act of 1935. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar stated in their words that, the Directive
Principles are like the instrument of instructions, which were issued to the
Governor-General and to the Governors of the colonies of India by the British
Government under the Government of India Act of 1935. What is called Directive
Principles is merely another name for the instrument of instructions.
difference is that they are instructions to the legislature and the executive.
He also described them as novel feature
of the constitution. DPSPs lays down
the foremost objectives of the state, apart from the norms for state to make
rules and policies. They aim for a democratic nation to realize the promotion of
citizens, organizing village panchayats, providing free legal aid to
economically weaker person, to implement or develop Uniform civil code,
providing good nutrition etc. They actually differentiate a Welfare State
. They are well established to maintain the sanctity for the
economic democracy as guaranteed in the Preamble.
Nature And Significance Of DPSPs:
DPSPs plays a very significant role before the law-making body of India which
amplify the need of these norms and provisions while framing the rule and
policies. In other words, they are a code conduct for legislator and
administrators of nation. As stated earlier they preserve the ideal structure of
the constitution embodied in the preamble which is Justice, Social, Economic,
Political; liberty, equality and fraternity
The nature of DPSPs is well preserved in article 37 which states, The
provisions contained in this Part shall not be enforceable by any court, but the
principles therein laid down are nevertheless fundamental in the governance of
the country and it shall be the duty of the State to apply these principles in
Though above statement makes it clear that these articles are not enforceable
but mere non-enforceability doesn't make them ineffectual or baseless. Sir B.N.
stated while that these principles had an educative value, which was for
reminding people with great influence what the point of the Indian country is.
All the arrangements in the Part incorporate the objective of the Welfare State
that is India. Further Dr B.R. Ambedkar was illustrated the essence of these
the government has to answer for them before the electorate at election time.
These norms or principles help our courts while deciding or
interpreting the various statues related to the common welfare of general
public. These interpreting conclusions should be of manner so any of statues are
not conflicting with them.
In Markandeya v. State of A.P
, the Apex court stated the view that directive
principles constitute conscience of the Constitution and together they form core
of the Constitution. Also, merely because they are not enforceable by the
judicial process does not mean that they are of subordinate importance to any
other part of the Constitution.
Thus, in Air India Statutory Corporation v.
United Labour Union
, the apex court has appropriately seen that DPSPs are
precursors of the U.N. Convention on Right to Development. They are embedded as
a necessary piece of the Constitution and that they currently stand raised to
fundamental human rights. Despite the fact that non-justiciable, they are
justiciable without anyone else.
Classification Of DPSPs:
The constitution itself does not classify the DPSPs but for the better
apprehension and on the basis of their content and direction, they are usually
classified into three categories: Socialistic, Gandhian and Liberal-Intellectual
Provisions included in DPSPs after amendment:
42nd Amendment Act of 1976: There are four new Directive principles by the way
of 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 to the original list:
- Socialistic Principles: They emphasis on providing better
structure for economic and social justice and lay down the framework of
democratic socialist state. These also contemplate the ideology of
socialism. They direct the state through- Article 38, Article 39, Article 39
A, Article 41, Article 42, Article 43, Article 43 A and Article 47.
- Gandhian Principles: They reflect the Gandhian philosophy of
reconstruction enunciated by Gandhi during the national movement. In order to
pursue the path which directed by himself, some of his ideas are incorporated in
DPSP and they direct the state through- Article 40, Article 43, Article 43 B,
Article 46, Article 47 and Article 48.
- Liberal-Intellectual Principles: They emphasis on the ideology of
liberalism and incline towards the political and moral philosophy-based
liberty, consent of citizens and equality before the law. They direct the
state through- Article 44, Article 45, Article 48, Article 48 A, Article 49,
Article 50 and Article 51.
Article 39- To secure opportunities for the healthy development of children.
Article 39A- To promote equal justice and to provide free legal aid to the poor.
Article 43A- To take steps to secure the participation of workers in the
management of industries.
Article 48A- To protect and improve the environment and to safeguard forests and
44th Amendment 1978: This added Article 38 which direct the state to minimize
inequalities in income, status, facilities and opportunities.
86th Amendment Act of 2002: This amendment changed the subject matter of Article
45 and brought it among fundamental rights as article 21-A. The amended
principle directs the state to provide early childhood care and education for
all children until they complete the age of six years.
97th Amendment Act of 2011: This amendment added a new directive principle
(Article 45) pertaining to co-operative societies. The amended principle directs
the state to promote voluntary formation, autonomous functioning, democratic
control and professional management of co-operative societies.
Compatibility With Fundamental Rights:
A significant concern in regards to the legitimacy of the DPSPs is their
compatibility with the Fundamental Rights under the Part III of the
constitution, which are enforceable in the Supreme Court and even in the High
courts by the way of writs. The following can be the major difference which make
them apart in the ground if enforceability:
- While the Fundamental Rights put limitation on the exclusive powers of
the government applying on an individual or they prohibit the state from
violating these rights, whereas, DPSPs direct the state for doing something.
- A law made against the DPSPs by the state cannot be declared void by
the courts as it is an instrument of instructions' which is under discretion of
the state to apply or not, but this is not in the case of Fundamental Rights.
- While the objective of Fundamental Rights is to establish political
democracy, whereas, objective of DPSPs is to establish economic and social
- The DPSPs cannot be violated as such by any individuals or the state
authority, until there is any law made for the purpose, while there are strict
measures like Article 32 and 226 are given in constitution against the violation
of an individual's Fundamental right.
Our constitution with the Article 13 put restriction on state to not make any
law which takes away or abridges the rights conferred by Part III of the
constitution. In Bandhua Mukti Morcha case, Supreme Court ruled out while
dealing with the fundamental rights that the court normally would not intervene
at the engaged or busy body of state, but when there is violation of fundamental
rights of a person class of persons, the court must act and protect the same.
Also, while ruling out the nature of Article 32 in Rudul Sah v. State
, the Apex court stated that ordinarily, petition under article 32
would lie only for the enforcement of the fundamental rights but in exceptional
cases of the nature indicated by us above that compensation may be awarded in a
petition under Article 32.
Having said that, the basic objective of the fundamental rights to conserve the
moral, intellectual and spiritual development of individuals, while DPSPs are
the basically the code of conduct to show the path to the legislators so that
the sanctity which is given under preamble can be achieve. By the way of
numerous litigations the Hon'ble Supreme Court ruled out that in order to give
better interpretation in the case protection of rights it is required to receive
illumination from the trinity of provisions which circulate and charge up the
constitution and they are the preamble, the Fundamental Rights and DPSPs.
Conflicts With Fundamental Rights:
Whenever there is any case of conflict between Fundamental Rights and DPSPs, the
legal settled views over the time have differed with every judicial decision.
This is a debatable part that has been subject to numerous litigations in the
Supreme Court. Let us try to find some relationship with the four historical
cases on the course of law, between fundamental rights and DPSPs in the field of
- Champakam Dorairajan Case (1951): In this case, the Apex Court held
that any law which violate the Fundamental Rights is void, that is not the case
if any law otherwise contravenes the DPSPs. Thus, DPSPs regarded to run as a
subsidiary to Fundamental Rights. This case led to the First Amendment Act,
1951, the Fourth Amendment Act (1955) and the Seventeenth Amendment Act (1964)
to implement some of the Directives.
- Golaknath Case (1967): Supreme Court ruled out that Parliament cannot
amend or curtail Fundamental Rights to implement any of DPSPs. The judgement
reversed Supreme Court's earlier decision which held that Parliament have power
to amend all parts of the Constitution, including Part III related to
Fundamental Rights in the cases Shankari Prasad v. Union of India and Sajjan
Singh vs State of Rajasthan. This decision led to the 24th Amendment Act
1971 & 25th Amendment Act 1971 declaring that it has the power to abridge or
take away any of the Fundamental Rights by enacting Constitutional Amendment
Acts. "25th Amendment Act inserted a new Article 31C containing two provisions:
a. No law which seeks to implement the socialistic Directive Principles
specified in Article 39 (b)22 and (c)23 shall be void on the ground of
contravention of the Fundamental Rights conferred by Article 14 (equality before
law and equal protection of laws), Article 19 (protection of six rights in
respect of speech, assembly, movement, etc.) or Article 31 (right to property).
b. 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
Note: In the same case the then Chief Justice Koka Subba Rao had first invoked
the doctrine of prospective overruling, which says that the law declared by the
court applies to the cases arising in future only.
- Kesavananda Bharti Case (1973): This is a landmark case in the
history of law which solely determine the basic structure doctrine of the
constitution. Apex Court ruled out the second provision of the Article 31C,
which is amended by the way of 25th Amendment Act to be invalid or
unconstitutional. Whereas, leaving the first provision of Article 31C
constitutional and valid. This case led to the 42nd Amendment Act, 1971, which
widened the scope of the said first provision that any law is made to execute
the DPSPs it would be invulnerable from unlawfulness in light of the fact that
it disregards Articles 14 and 19.
- Minerva Mills Case (1980): The above-mentioned view for the
first provision has been struck down and made Article 31C unconstitutional
and invalid. It also made DPSPs subordinate to Fundamental Rights. Supreme Court
also stated the balancing mechanism between the Fundamental Rights and DPSPs
while stating that the Indian Constitution is founded on the bedrock of the
balance between the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles.
Why Did The Constitution Makers Make Them Unjusticiable?
The enforceability and usefulness of DPSPs has also been in the top most debated
section of constitution. While knowing the fact understood in earlier sections
that there will be no effect as such if any how court struck down the DPSPs but
contrary if the same happens with the Fundamental Rights, the result will be
fatal. Now question comes which also raised in the parliament during the debate
over the enforceability of DPSPs that does making them unjustifiable make them
good-for-nothing? Do we need to make them enforceable in order to make them
relevant? Some of the social activist believes that we betrayed the elitist
character of constitution by making them unenforceable. To get answer of these
questions, we should Analyze the views of the constitution makers.
Several members like S.N. Rau, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, K.T. Shah, Alladi Krishnaswami
Ayyar, expressed their words of wisdom while defending the inclusion of DPSPs as
K.T. Shah expressed that by making them unenforceable we without making them
imperative obligations of the State towards the citizen, we would be
perpetrating a needless fraud, since it would provide an excellent
window-dressing without any stock behind that dressing. He was in the intention
to make them enforceable for making the state more answerable towards their
S.N. Rau on the other hand believed that socio-economic principles are not
suitable for legal enforcement. To support his argument, he gave two reasons
viz. first, the implementation of DPSPs needed a positive state action which
can only be provided when the said action is practicable and also the state
might suffer or face in, for example if it says providing housing for all.
Second, he believed that these principles should not be under the judicial
sphere, as it meant to be deal by the elected legislative body and also in
effect would have a veto on enactment exercisable whenever and at any case of
any prosecutor. He also emphasized that these had an educative sentiment, which
further could at times attack the individual rights for more prominent goods.
Like Shah, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was the strong proponent of the Directive
Principles. He disagreed with the moral sentiments of S.N. Rau and believed that
they must be enforceable. He also gave the time span within which this
enforceability must be there.
He supported the idea of socialism very strongly.
He also said that in case of the breach of these DPSPs politicians may not have
to answer the courts but would certainly have to answer before the electorate
before the election time. However, comparing the aspects of Rau and Ambedkar
both seemed to have democratic social and economic politics. But assembly
rejected the idea of Shah and Ambedkar to have enforceability on the ground that
these provisions could be dealt with the upcoming or farther legislation.
Alladi Krishnasawmi Ayyar also contented that it should be leaved to the free
appointed legislature whether to cognize or ignore them. In the end, the
Assembly adopted the nature of DPSPs which can be trace by the Article 37 in a
form that encoded an institutional division of labour between the courts, and
the executive and legislature.
Should We Make DPSPs Justiciable:
These provisions were not made justiciable by the constituent assembly due to
above mentioned reasons. Having said that, they are not useless as such. But
question arises here that if they were made justiciable, will they become more
The initiatory argument goes in the favour of making them enforceable, that they
make state more answerable or responsible towards their citizens. Also, check
the tyrannical temperament of the ruling authority as stated by K.T Shah in the
constituent assembly. If we see the DPSPs then most of them are the promises
which parties hold during the time of election, so as to make them answerable in
front of electorate before coming in power. But our sociological realities show
us that they are seldomly kept. So, in order to put more control over their
action DPSPs must be enforceable.
Contrary to this, it is expressed that making them justiciable is ineffectual,
since we have a large democratic establishment containing already number of laws
and policies in the area where we need to implement DPSPs.
For better instance
since 1950 till onwards many acts and policies like The minimum wages Act
(1948), the Maternity Benefit Act (1961), Child Labour Prohibition and
Regulation Act (1986), Equal Remuneration Act (1976), Integrated Rural
Development Programme (1978), Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (1989), Swarnajayanti Gram
Swarozgar Yojana (1999), Sampoorna Gram Rozgar Yojana (2001), Prevention of
Atrocities Act safeguarding the interests of SCs and STs and so on had been
implemented to give effect to these DPSPs, even Article 21A which was inserted
by the 86th amendment is a example of the same.
In this way the governments have
been working in the manner to give them effect dynamically and to create welfare
state. This dynamic nature doesn't bound the govt. to just act like the
memorandum or written proposal, but also give chance to modify or interpret them
better for the citizens or general public. It can be understood that the need of
the people may vary from the other state, so to make them effective government
can practice this approach. While understanding this other face of the coin, it
is clearly presented that making DPSPS justiciable is not crucial.
Another argument against the enforceability we find from the idea of secularism
that they are not very secular. One hand it says to implement the Uniform Civil
Code, another hand it restricts the slaughter of cows via Article 48 in the name
of endeavor. This directly shows the background of Hindutva' in the
constitution and also doesn't seems to be very qualified on the platform of today's national sentiment.
State can ban beef according to the required
scenario of the state, but making them enforceable may create chaos or communal
tension among people. State should not interfere in the religious sentiment of
any of the person or class of persons, as state doesn't have any religion.
Supporting on religion centered actions might bring the ire of the country
DPSPs are more a moral percept than a matter of legal technicality, which are
inarguably outside the scope of law.
Article 47 direct to prohibit the alcohol
and other intoxicating drugs which on first view looks morally good, though it
never has been enforced on a nation-wide level. However, presently Bihar, Gujrat,
Nagaland and Mizoram are dry states and union territory of Lakshadweep also
included in this list. However, the path which tries to impose morals on the
people without looking the consequences and other aspects can be disastrous for
a democratic country like India.
After analyzing all the above-mentioned arguments and the views of our
constitution makers it can be concluded that making the DPSPs justiciable is
superfluous and unneeded. The assembly didn't want to do so because they know it
would be an institutional division between the courts of law, and the
legislature and executive. Also, when most of the provisions have been enforced
by the way of legislations, making them all enforceable put more strain on state
and check the dynamic ability to approach the welfare state.
The intention behind the inclusion of DPSPs in the constitution is to make
social and economic democracy in the nation or ultimately work for the welfare
of general public. These always being the instructions for the state, while
making any rules and policies. Every such rules and policies should meet the
norms which is mention in Part IV of the constitution. So merely because they
are not justiciable doesn't mean they are useless. Their importance has been
always interpreted by our Apex Court. They keep check on the state not as the
court of law but as the beneficiary or citizens for whom the state is working.
Having said that, they are indisputable useful and provide ground for welfare
state, but making them justiciable will fill no need and doing so in such a
diverse nation will offer ascent to net abuse by overzealous people. Presently
these principles are well settled and in balance medium. The important
testimonial which should be looked upon is that they must be invoked secular and
free from moral precepts.
- Durga Das Basu, Introduction to the Constitution of India, 163 (22nd
- (1989) 3 SCC 191: AIR 1989 SC 1308
- State Of Madras v. Srimathi Champakam Dorairaja, AIR 1951 SC 226
- AIR 1997 SC 645
- Bandhua Mukti Morcha v. Union of India, AIR 1984 SC 802
- (1983) 4 SCC 141
- Supra Note 5
- State of Madras v. Champakam, (1951) SCR 523 (531): AIR 1951 SC 226
- Golaknath v. State Of Punjab 1967 AIR 1643
- Sri Sankari Prasad Singh Deo vs Union Of India And State Of Bihar, 1951
- Sajjan Singh vs State Of Rajasthan, 1965 AIR 845
- 1967 AIR 1643, 1967 SCR (2) 762
- AIR 1980 SC 1789