The Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) is a guideline in the Constitution of India to the State. They are written in Part 4 of the Constitution from Article 36 to Article 51.
These principles ordain that the state shall aim to promote 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 institutions of national life.
Directive principles are non-justifiable which means they are enforced by Court of Law, unlike Fundamental Rights which are justifiable and enforceable rights. However, non-justifiable rights cannot override Fundamental Rights. DPSP provide economic and social rights to the people.
Emergence of DSP
DPSP was adopted in India from Irish Constitution of 1937 which itself had borrowed it from Spanish Constitution.
The Fundamental rights and directive principles emerged from the Report of 1945 of the Sapru Committee, which had divided rights in to two parts, Justifiable and non-justifiable rights.
Justifiable rights were included in the Part 3; non-justifiable rights were included as Directive Principles to the state and cannot be enforced by Court.
Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar described Directive Principles as ‘novel features’ of the Constitution. His importance in Indian Polity cannot be neglected. Being the chief architect of the Indian Constitution, Ambedkar left no stone unturned in eradicating discrimination from the society.
Key Features of Directive Principles of State Policy
DPSPs were made for the social and economic welfare of the people of state, and oblige the Government for implementing them in a fairer manner and to uphold the ideals of Constitution of India. Directive Principles necessitate the state;
- To enable economic, political and social justice for the welfare of the people. (Article 38)
- To minimise the inequalities of income, status, facilities, opportunities etc. (Article 38-2)
- To provide adequate means of livelihood, equal pay for equal work, resource distribution, safety of citizens and healthy development of Children. (Article 39)
- To make legal system fair and to provide free legal aid by means of some scheme or law. (Article 39-A)
- To organise Panchayats by giving those powers and authority for the development at the rural local levels and enable them to function as units of self government. (Article 40)
- To make special provisions for securing right to work, education etc. and to public assistance in case of unemployment, old age, sickness, disablement or any other case. Establishment of schemes such as old age pension scheme, schemes for sick and disabled, MGNREGA etc. (Article 41)
- To secure sympathetic work conditions and maternity relief. (Article 42)
- To ensure fair wages and decent standard of life of workers and their partaking in the social and cultural opportunities. (Article 43)
- To ensure workers participation in management. (Article 43-A)
- To foster voluntary formation, autonomous functioning, democratic control and inception of the co-operative societies. (Article 43-B)
- To brace a Uniform civil code for the citizens throughout the territory of India. (Article 44)
- To provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years. ICDS programme is an initiative to approach this directive. (Article 45)
- To protect scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other weaker sections of the society from social injustice and exploitation and to take care of their educational and economic interests. (Article 46)
- To raise the standard of living of the people of state, ensuring well nutrition and prohibition of drugs and drinks other than medicines. (Article 47)
- To organise agriculture and animal husbandry, preserving and improving the breeds of cattle. (Article 48-A)
- To protect the monuments, places and objects of historic and artistic interest from exploitation, destruction, removal and vandalization. (Article 49)
- Separation of judiciary from the executive to seal public services of the state. (Article 50)
- To promote international peace and security and to maintain abiding relations between nations. (Article 51)
Categories of DPSP
- Socialistic principles
- Gandhian principles
- Liberal-intellectual principles
We will know about each one by one.
Articles 38, 39, 39A, 41, 42, 43, 43A, and 47 fall under these principles. These articles are taken into consideration under Directive principles to promote social, economic and political welfare of the society. Installing a socialistic pattern would mean welfare oriented policies by the government.
Some of the Directive principles were made from the ideology of Mahatma Gandhi. Policies were introduced as an approach to meet Gandhiji’s principles of establishing a homogeneous and conforming society. Issues at the grass root level were real close to him and he had always worked for the welfare of underprivileged and minorities. Article 40, 43, 43B, 46, 47 and 48 can be termed as directive principles based on Gandhian principle.
These principles cover Articles 44, 45, 48, 48A, 49, 50 and 51. These Directive principles aim at liberal development on various grounds. Uniform Civil Code, right to education, the importance of conserving environment, protecting monuments are some crucial issues sanctioned under this category.
Amendments on Directive Principles
42nd Amendments Act of 1976
Four new directive principles were added during 42nd amendment. They oblige the state:
- To secure opportunities for healthy development of children under Article 39.
- To promote equal justice and to provide free legal aid to the poor under Article 39 A.
- To take steps to secure the participation of workers in the m management if industries under 43 A.
- To protect and improve the environment and to safeguard forests and wildlife under Article 48 A.
44th Amendment Act of 1978
The 44th Amendment compelled the state to curb the inequalities in income, status, facilities and opportunities under Article 38.
86th Amendment Act of 2002
The 86th Amendment made the elementary education a fundamental right under Article 21A and modifies the subject matter of Article 45. This act endeavor that the state shall provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete six years of age.
97th Amendment Act of 2011
This act endeavor that the state shall strive to promote voluntary formation, autonomous functioning, democratic control and professional management of co-operative societies under Article 43B.
Criticism of Directive Principles
Some arguments of the critics believed that the enumeration of Directive Principles in the Constitution of India has exploited the authenticity of Fundamental Rights. There are voices against this way of framing Constitution in which the main problem area is non-justifiable nature of Directive Principles.
According to the critics, the Directive principles are:
Illogically arranged; the policies under these principles are not sensible and are not much fruitful.
Conservative; these principles were more effective and suitable when they were just came into being.
Arise conflicts; Directive Principles arise a constitutional conflict between the Centre and the States, the President and the Prime Minister and, the Governor and the Chief Minister.
Utility of Directive Principles
Notwithstanding the criticisms and the shortcomings mentioned above, Directive Principles are not meaningless. In fact, these are a boon to our Constitution. The provisions under Directive Principles have managed to offer social justice and uniformity in society in all forms. They have pragmatically given a vivid strength to the Constitution and have curbed serious issues against democracy.
According to the former CJI M.C. Chagla, ‘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 the citizens’.
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar had stated that the Directives have great value since they fulfil the economic democracy rather than political democracy.
The directive principles perform the following major roles:
- They are supplementary to the Fundamental rights of the citizens.
- They forge stability in the economic and social sphere of society.
- Their implementation has obliged Government to make policies for the prosperity of the citizens of state.
- These principles have enhanced democracy and have created an atmosphere where citizens can enjoy their fundamental rights.
- They have forced opposition to control and to demand more transparency in policy-making from the ruling party so that they can pinpoint the policies that are opposed to the directives which are being mentioned in the Constitution.
- They have enhanced homogeneity in the pluralistic society. These principles have catered to the needs of every section of the society.
- They serve as a crucial test to examine the policies and programmes of government with respect to the Directive Principles.
- They have intercepted economic democracy. Political democracy, without economic democracy is a failure for the Government of state.
Relationship of Directive Principles with Fundamental Rights
A major concern regarding the DPSPs is their compatibility with the Fundamental rights contained in part III of the constitution, justifiable and enforceable in the Court of law. The difference between two are listed below:
- Fundamental rights limit the Government to impose rules and policies on an individual or a section, group of the society, whereas, the DPSP’s are instructions to the government for making policies for the welfare of an individual.
- Anything contained in the DPSPs cannot be violated either by the individuals or the state, as long as there is no law made to that effect while there are strict actions against violation of an individual’s Fundamental right.
- A law against the DPSPs cannot be declared void by the court, but this is not in the case with Fundamental Rights