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Indian Polity

Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP)

  • 05 Jul 2021
  • 12 min read


  • Background: The source of the concept of Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) is the Spanish Constitution from which it came in the Irish Constitution.
    • The concept of DPSP emerged from Article 45 of the Irish Constitution.
  • Constitutional Provisions: Part IV of the Constitution of India (Article 36–51) contains the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP).
    • Article 37 of the Indian Constitution States about the application of the Directive Principles.
      • These principles aim at ensuring socioeconomic justice to the people and establishing India as a Welfare State.
  • Fundamental Rights Vs DPSP:
    • Unlike the Fundamental Rights (FRs), the scope of DPSP is limitless and it protects the rights of a citizen and work at a macro level.
      • DPSP consists of all the ideals which the State should follow and keep in mind while formulating policies and enacting laws for the country.
    • Directive Principles are affirmative directions on the other hand, Fundamental Rights are negative or prohibitive in nature because they put limitations on the State.
    • The DPSP is not enforceable by law; it is non-justiciable.
    • It is important to note that DPSP and FRs go hand in hand.
      • DPSP is not subordinate to FRs.
  • Classification of Principles: The Directive Principles are classified on the basis of their ideological source and objectives. These are Directives based on:
    • Socialist Principles
    • Gandhian Principles
    • Liberal and Intellectual Principles

Directives based on Socialist Principles

  • Article 38: The State shall strive to promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting a social order by ensuring social, economic and political justice and by minimising inequalities in income, status, facilities and opportunities
  • Articles 39: The State shall in particular, direct its policies towards securing:
    • Right to an adequate means of livelihood to all the citizens.
    • The ownership and control of material resources shall be organised in a manner to serve the common good.
    • The State shall avoid concentration of wealth in a few hands.
    • Equal pay for equal work for both men and women.
    • The protection of the strength and health of the workers.
    • Childhood and youth shall not be exploited.
  • Article 41: To secure the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disability.
  • Article 42: The State shall make provisions for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief.
  • Article 43: The State shall endeavour to secure to all workers a living wage and a decent standard of life.
    • Article 43A: The State shall take steps to secure the participation of workers in the management of industries.
  • Article 47: To raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living of people and to improve public health.

Directives based on Gandhian Principles

  • Article 40: The State shall take steps to organise village panchayats as units of Self Government
  • Article 43: The State shall endeavour to promote cottage industries on an individual or cooperative basis in rural areas.
    • Article 43B: To promote voluntary formation, autonomous functioning, democratic control and professional management of cooperative societies.
  • Article 46: The State shall promote educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people particularly that of the Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) and other weaker sections.
  • Article 47: The State shall take steps to improve public health and prohibit consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs that are injurious to health.
  • Article 48: To prohibit the slaughter of cows, calves and other milch and draught cattle and to improve their breeds.

Directives based on Liberal-Intellectual Principles

  • Article 44: The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizen a Uniform Civil Code through the territory of India.
  • Article 45: To provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years.
  • Article 48: To organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines.
    • Article 48A: To protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country.
  • Article 49: The State shall protect every monument or place of artistic or historic interest.
  • Article 50: The State shall take steps to separate judiciary from the executive in the public services of the State.
  • Article 51: It declares that to establish international peace and security the State shall endeavour to:
    • Maintain just and honourable relations with the nations.
    • Foster respect for international law and treaty obligations.
    • Encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration.

Amendments in DPSP:

  • 42nd Constitutional Amendment, 1976: It introduced certain changes in the part-IV of the Constitution by adding new directives:
    • Article 39A: To provide free legal aid to the poor.
    • Article 43A: Participation of workers in management of Industries.K1M
    • Article 48A: To protect and improve the environment.
  • 44th Constitutional Amendment, 1978: It inserted Section-2 to Article 38 which declares that; “The State in particular shall strive to minimise economic inequalities in income and eliminate inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities not amongst individuals but also amongst groups”.
  • 86th Amendment Act of 2002: It changed the subject-matter of Article 45 and made elementary education a fundamental right under Article 21 A.

Conflicts Between Fundamental Rights and DPSP: Associated Cases

  • Champakam Dorairajan v the State of Madras (1951): In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that in case of any conflict between the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles, the former would prevail.
    • It declared that the Directive Principles have to conform to and run as subsidiary to the Fundamental Rights.
    • It also held that the Fundamental Rights could be amended by the Parliament by enacting constitutional amendment acts.
  • Golaknath v the State of Punjab (1967): In this case, the Supreme Court declared that Fundamental Rights could not be amended by the Parliament even for implementation of Directive Principles.
  • Kesavananda Bharati v the State of Kerala (1973): In this case, the Supreme Court overruled its Golak Nath (1967) verdict and declared that Parliament can amend any part of the Constitution but it cannot alter its “Basic Structure”.
    • Thus, the Right to Property (Article 31) was eliminated from the list of Fundamental Rights.
  • Minerva Mills v the Union of India (1980): In this case, the Supreme Court reiterated that Parliament can amend any part of the Constitution but it cannot change the “Basic Structure” of the Constitution.

Implementation of DPSP: Associated Acts and Amendments

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