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Directive Principles of State Policy

  • The Directive Principles of State Policy are enumerated in Part IV of the Constitution from Articles 36 to 511.
  • The framers of the Constitution borrowed this idea from the Irish Constitution of 1937, which had copied it from the Spanish Constitution.
  • B.R. Ambedkar described these principles as ‘novel features’ of the Indian Constitution.
  • The Directive Principles along with the Fundamental Rights contain the philosophy of the Constitution and is the soul of the Constitution.
  • Granville Austin has described the Directive Principles and the Fundamental Rights as the ‘Conscience of the Constitution’.
  • The Directive Principles resemble the ‘Instrument of Instructions’ enumerated in the Government of India Act of 1935.
  • They are socio-economic rights
  • They aim at realising the high ideals of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity as outlined in the Preamble to the Constitution.
  • They embody the concept of a ‘welfare state’.
  • The Directive Principles are non-justiciable in nature, that is they are not legally enforceable by the courts for their violation.
  • The Directive Principles, though non-justiciable in nature help the courts in examining and determining the constitutional validity of a law.

In the Minerva Mills case (1980), the Supreme Court also held that ‘the Indian Constitution is founded on the bedrock of the balance between the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles. They together constitute the core of commitment to social revolution. They are like two wheels of a chariot, one no less than the other. To give absolute primacy to one over the other is to disturb the harmony of the Constitution. This harmony and balance between the two is an essential feature of the basic structure of the Constitution. The goals set out by the Directive Principles have to be achieved without the abrogation of the means provided by the Fundamental Rights’.

 Article 36. In this Part, unless the context otherwise requires, “the State” has the same meaning as in Part III.

Article 37. 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.

Article 38. [(1)] The State shall strive to promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may a social order in which justice, social, economic and political, shall inform all the institutions of the national life.

[(2) The State shall, in particular, strive to minimize the inequalities in income, and endeavor to eliminate inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities, not only amongst individuals but also amongst groups of people residing in different areas or engaged in different vocations.] Article 38 Socialist Principle

Article 39. The State shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing—

(a) that the citizens, men and women equally, have the right to an adequate means of livelihood;

(b) that the ownership and control of the material resources of the community are so distributed as best to subserve the common good;

(c) that the operation of the economic system does not result in the concentration of wealth and means of production to the common detriment;

(d) that there is equal pay for equal work for both men and women;

(e) that the health and strength of workers, men and women, and the tender age of children are not abused and that citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their age or strength;

(f) that children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and that childhood and youth are protected against exploitation and against moral and material abandonment. Article 39 Socialist Principle

Article 39A. The State shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice, on a basis of equal opportunity, and shall, in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities. Article 39 A Socialist Principles

Article 40. The State shall take steps to organize village panchayats and endow them with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-Government. Gandhian Principle

Article 41. The State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and in other cases of undeserved want. Socialist Principle

Article 42. The State shall make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief. Socialist Principle

Article 43. The State shall endeavour to secure, by suitable legislation or economic organisation or in any other way, to all workers, agricultural, industrial or otherwise, work, a living wage, conditions of work ensuring a decent standard of life and full enjoyment of leisure and social and cultural opportunities and, in particular, the State shall endeavour to promote cottage industries on an individual or co-operative basis in rural areas. Socialist Principle

 Article 43A. The State shall take steps, by suitable legislation or in any other way, to secure the participation of workers in the management of undertakings, establishments or other organisations engaged in any industry. Socialist Principle

Article 43B. The State shall endeavor to promote voluntary formation, autonomous functioning, democratic control and professional management of co-operative societies. Gandhian Principle

Article 44. The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India. Liberal Principle

Article 45. The State shall endeavour to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years. Liberal Principle.

Article 46. The State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation. Gandhian Principle

Article 47. The State shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties and, Socialist Principle

in particular, the State shall endeavor to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health. Gandhian Principle

Article 48. The State shall endeavor to organize agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines Liberal Principle

and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle. Gandhian Principle.

Article 48A. The State shall endeavor to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wild life of the country. Liberal Principle

Article 49. It shall be the obligation of the State to protect every monument or place or object of artistic or historic interest, [declared by or under law made by Parliament] to be of national importance, from spoliation, disfigurement, destruction, removal, disposal or export, as the case may be. Liberal Principle

Article 50. The State shall take steps to separate the judiciary from the executive in the public services of the State. Liberal Principle

Article 51. The State shall endeavor to—

(a) promote international peace and security;

(b) maintain just and honorable relations between nations;

(c) foster respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings of organized peoples with one another; and

(d) encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration. Liberal Principle

The 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 added four new Directive Principles to the original list. They require the State:

  1. To secure opportunities for healthy development of children (Article 39).
  2. To promote equal justice and to provide free legal aid to the poor (Article 39 A).
  3. To take steps to secure the participation of workers in the management of industries (Article 43 A).
  4. To protect and improve the environment and to safeguard forests and wild life (Article 48 A).

The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 added one more Directive Principle, which requires the State to minimize inequalities in income, status, facilities and opportunities (Article 38).

The 86th Amendment Act of 2002 changed the subject-matter of Article 45 and made elementary education a fundamental right under Article 21A.

The amended directive requires the State to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years.

The 97th Amendment Act of 2011 added a new Directive Principle relating to cooperative societies. It requires the state to promote voluntary formation, autonomous functioning, democratic control and professional management of co-operative societies (Article 43B).

 M.C. Chagla, former Chief Justice of India, is of the opinion that, ‘if all these principles are fully carried out, our country would indeed be a heaven on earth. India would then be not only democracy in the political sense, but also a welfare state looking after the welfare of its citizens’.

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