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Directive Principles Of State Policy And Fundamental Rights

Article 36 to 51 contains Directive Principles Of State Policy. The idea to have such principles in this constitution has been borrowed from the Irish Constitution. Apart from the laissez-faire era, the framers of the constitution realized that political democracy would be without economic democracy in a poor country like India.

Accordingly, they incorporated a few provisions in the constitution to achieve amelioration of the socio-economic conditions of the masses. The Directive principles strengthen and promote this concept by seeking to lay down certain socio-economic goals that various Indian governments strive to achieve. The DPSP seeks to give a certain direction to the legislatures and government in India as to how, and in what purpose are to exercise their power.

But these principles are not enforceable through the courts of law in India. Article 37 of the constitution of India states that:
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 making laws."

The court cannot enforce Directive Principles as it does not create any justiciable rights in favor of any individual. To mention some cases like Re M Thomas [AIR 1953 MAD 21], Gadadhar Ghosh v. State of West Bengal [AIR 1963 Cal 565]. The Supreme Court has again reiterated in the case in Rajan Dwivedi v. Union of India[1983 SCR (2) 982] that "this court has no power to give direction for the enforcement of the Directive Principles of the State Policy... This court has time and again reiterated the position that Directives are not enforceable in Courts as they do not create any justiciable rights in favor of any person.

There has been a quick force of conflicts between DPSP and FR. Initially, the courts have adopted a strict and literal, and legal position in this respect. The SC adopting the literal imperative approach to Article 37 ruled that a Directive Principle could not override a Fundamental Rights in case of conflict between the two the Fundamental Right would prevail over Directive Principles.

As for illustrating SC in the state of Madras v.Champakam Dorairajan [1951 AIR 226] where a government order in conflict with 29(2) a Fundamental Right was declared invalid although the government did argue that it was made in pursuance of Article 46 a Directive Principle. The court ruled that while Fundamental Rights were enforceable, the Directive Principles were not and so the law implement Directive Principle could not take away Fundamental rights.

The Directive Principles should conform and run as a subsidiary, to the Fundamental Rights. The Fundamental Rights would be reduced to a 'mere rope of sand'. If they were overridden by Directive Principles.

In course of time, perceptible change came over the judicial attitude on this question the Sc court start giving a good deal of value to the Directive Principles. The SC came to adopt the view that Directive Principles were legally non-enforceable nevertheless while interpreting a statute, the court could for the 'lodestar' of the Directive Principles. Further, the courts also adopted a view that the Directive Principles should not be completely ignored and that the court should adopt the principle of harmonious construction and attempt to give effect to both as possible.

The SC began to implement the values without underlying these principles to the extent possible. The SC began to assert there is "no conflict on the whole" between the Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles "They are complementary and supplementary to each other". The aspect of the Directive Principles was stressed by the Supreme Court in Golaknath v/s state of Punjab AIR 1967 SC 1643. The SC there emphasized that Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles formed in "elastic scheme" which was enough to change the needs of the society.

The well-known Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala [AIR 19763 Sc 1461] justice Hedge and Mukherjee observed that the Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles constitute the "conscience of the constitution". The Sc said in State of Kerala V, NM Thomas [AIR 1976 SC 490] that Directive Principles and Fundamental Rights should be constructed each other and every attempt should be made by the court to resolve any apparent inconsistency between them.

In Pathuma v. State of Kerala [AIR 1978 SC 771], SC has emphasized that the purpose of the Directive Principles is to fix certain socio-economic goals for immediate attainment. There are many cases where the court makes remarkable commentaries on Directive principles which include Ashok Kumar Thakur V. Union of India (2008)6 SCC1 CJ Balakrishnan said that no distinction can be made between two sets of rights.

The SC has arranged in Oliga Tellis v. Bombay Municipal Corporation [AIR 1986 SC 194] Since the Directive Principles are fundamentally in the governance of the country they must therefore be regarded as equally Fundamental to understanding and interpretation of meaning and content of Fundamental Rights.

In Minerva Mills V. Union of India [AIR 1980 SC 1786], the court said that Fundamental Rights "are not an end in themselves but are the mean end ". The end specified in the Directive Principles was observed together "constitute the core of commitment to social revolution and they together are conscience of the constitution".

Directive Principles overruling Fundamental Rights

In cases like the state of Gujarat v. Mirzapur Moti Qureshi Kasab Jamaat [AIR 2006 SC 212] here the Gujarat government banned cow slaughter through legislation which was challenged by meat merchants holding of freedom of profession, occupation, trade, business under Article 19(1)(g).

The state defamed the case stating there is a directive under Article 48 to preserve and improve breeds and prohibit cow slaughter. This Directive is not justiciable under Article 37 hence it shall be the duty of the state to apply these principles in making legislation. The contention of the state was accepted by the supreme court and impugned legislation was declared as void.

State of Bombay v FN Balsara [AIR 1951 SC 318]
here the State of Bombay enacted legislation banning the import and export of liquor. The liquor merchant filed a writ petition infringing their freedom under Article 19(1)(g) is violated. The state defended the case it was done in improving the health of citizens which was a Directive Principle under Article 47. Thus DPSP overruled Fundamental Rights.

To sum up I covey both DPSP and FR has a Premont role in our judiciary so as students we must analyze and study both thoroughly and should give equal importance to both. Written By: Vighnesh GS an ardent enthusiast of law and legal aspects currently studying law at Kerala Law Academy Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

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