Directive Principles of State Policies in the Indian Constitution

Once, a thought exists like a state was concerned mainly to maintain law and order and for the protection of life, liberty and property of the subject. But as society develops, there arose demands like prosperity and well-being of people. Hence it becomes the duty of the state to provide some needs other than fundamental rights.

In 1945 Sapru committee suggested two categories of individual rights; one being justiciable and the other one being non-justiciable rights. The right is known as fundamental rights and the non-justiciable ones as the directive principles of state policy.

Meaning and Definition:
The constitution-makers under part IV of the constitution set out some aims and objectives to be taken up by the states in the governance of the country. This obligation on the state is called the directive principles of state policy (DPSP) which is borrowed from Ireland constitution which had copied from the Spanish constitution. The DPSP lay down certain economic and social policies to be pursued by the various government in India to promote the welfare of the people and achieve economic democracy.

According to the words of Sri G.N. Joshi, Directive Principles of State Policy is “they constitute a very comprehensive political, social and economic program for modern democratic State”. In the words of Dr B R Ambedkar, “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. The only difference is that they are instructions to the legislature and the executive.”

Article 36 – 51 in the constitution explains directive principles of state policy. The articles can be briefed as follows;

Article 36: defines the state as the same as article 12 unless the context otherwise defines
Article 37: Application of the principles contained in this part.
Article 38: promote the welfare of the people by securing a social order through justice – social, economic, and political –and to minimize inequalities in income, status, facilities and opportunities.
Article 39: equal justice and free legal aid.
Article 40: organization of village panchayats
Article 41: the right to work, education, and to public assistance in certain cases.
Article 42: provision for just and human conditions of work and maternity relief.
Article 43: secure a living wage, a decent standard of living and social and cultural opportunities for all workers.
Article 43-A: take steps to ensure the participation of workers in the management of industries.
Article 43-B: Promotion of cooperative societies
Article 44: uniform civil code for the citizens
Article 45: provision for early childhood care and education to children below the age of six years
Article 46: promotion of education and economic interests of SC, ST and other weaker sections.
Article 47: duty of the state to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health.
Article 48: prohibit the slaughter of cows, calves and other milch and draught cattle and to improve their breeds.
Article 48-A: Protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forests and wildlife
Article 49: protection of monuments and places and objects of national importance.
Article 50: separation of judiciary from the executive in the public services of the state.
Article 51: promotion of international peace and security and maintain just and honorable relations between nations-foster respect for international law and treaty obligations- encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration.
The main objective of enacting DPSP is to set standards of achievements before the Legislature and the executive, the local and the other authorities, by which their success or failure can be judged.

Thus the features of DPSP can be briefed as follows;

It lays down the ideals that the state should preserve while formulating new policies and laws,
It resembles the ’instrument of instructions’ enumerated in the Government of India act 1935,
It focuses on ensuring high ideals of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity as outlined in the preamble to the constitution,
They point out the concept of the “welfare state” in this colonial era.
Classification of the DPSP:
The constitution however doesn’t formally classify Directive Principles of state policy but on the basis of content and direction, they can be classified into three categories:

Social and economic principles
Gandhian principles
Liberal – intellectual principles.
Socialistic principles based on the ideology of socialism. the Gandhian principles embodied to reconstruct some dreams and ideas of Gandhi and the liberal- intellectual principle focuses on the ideologies of liberalism.

Enforceability of DPSP’S:
Article 37 defines the nature of DPSP which 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.”

Therefore no provision of DPSP can be made enforceable in the court of law thus these principles cannot be used against the central government or the state government. This non – justiciability of DPSP makes the state government or the central government immune from any action against them for not following these directives. This is considered as a negative aspect of DPSP.

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