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Relationship Between Fundamental Rights And Directive Principles Of State Policy

Part 3 of Constitution of India which consists of Article 12 to 35 deals with Fundamental Rights. Part 4 of the Constitution which consists of Art. 36 to 51 deals with Directive Principles of State Policy.

We shall discuss the relation between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy in following lines:

Enforceability:

Fundamental Rights are enforceable by the courts while Directive Principles of State Policy are not enforceable by courts . Under Article 32(1) of the Constitution of India in case of infringement of Fundamental Rights a person has right to move to the Supreme Court by appropriate proceedings .

Art. 32(2) of the Constitution provides:

  • The Supreme Court shall have power to issue directions or orders or writs, including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari.
  • Article 226(1) confers similar powers on the High Courts for the enforcement of Fundamental Rights.
  • There is no such provision for the enforcement of Directive Principles of State Policy. According to Article 37 Directive Principles of State Policy are not enforceable by any court.

Nature:

  • Fundamental Rights deal with civil and political right of the people while Directive Principles of State Policy deal with socio and economic right of the people.
  • Fundamental Rights contain negative injunctions to the State not to do various things, Directive Principles of State Policy command to the State to promote what may be called a social and welfare State.

Judicial Approach:

In its initial decisions Supreme Court gave more importance to the Fundamental Rights. It declared Fundamental Rights to have overriding effect on Directive Principles of State Policy. Later it tried to maintain balance in case of conflict between the two. It tried to interpret them harmoniously. Afterwards some the Directive Principles of State Policy have been declared enforceable like that of the Fundamental Rights.

We shall study this in the light of following cases:

  1. State of Madras v. Champakam Dorairajan. AIR 1951 SC 28

    The Supreme Court observed as follows:
    The Directive Principles of State Policy, which by Art.37 are expressly made unenforceable by Courts cannot override the provisions found in Part 3 which, notwithstanding other provisions, are expressly made enforceable by appropriate writs, orders or directions under Article 32. The Directive Principles of State Policy have to conform and to run as subsidiary to the Chapter on Fundamental Rights. In case of any conflict between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy Fundamental Rights would prevail.
     
  2. In Re Kerala Education Bill. AIR 1957 SC 956

    The Supreme Court observed that though the directive principles cannot override the fundamental rights, nevertheless, in determining the scope and ambit of fundamental rights the court may not entirely ignore the directive principles but should adopt the principle of harmonious construction and should attempt to give effect to both as much as possible.
     
  3. Kesvananda Bharati v. State of Kerala . AIR 1973 SC 1461

    The Supreme Court has said Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles aim at the same goal of bringing about a social revolution and establishment of a Welfare State and they can be interpreted and applied together. They are supplementary and complementary to each other. It can well be said that Directive Principles prescribed the goal to be attained and the Fundamental Rights lay down the means by which that goal is to be achieved.
     
  4. Unni Krishnan v. State of A.P. (1993) 1 SCC 645

    The Supreme Court has affirmed the same view and observed - Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles are supplementary and complementary to each other and the provisions in Part 3 should be interpreted having regard to the Preamble and Directive Principles of the State Policy.

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