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Directive Principles of State Policy: How Relevant in governance

Author: Manharman.

Student, III Year, B.B.A.,LL.B., FIMT School of Law, GGSIPU..


The Constitution of India is built up on political majority rule government as well as financial equity to the individuals to set up a government assistance state. Considering this reason, our Constitution sets rules in Part IV known as the Directive Principle of State Policy. Dr. B R Ambedkar portrayed these standards as 'novel features' of the Constitution. These standards accentuates that the state will give fundamental offices like asylum, food and garments to the individuals..

Fundamental Rights can be enforced by the courts but Directive principle of state policy is not enforced by the courts for their violation. The Constitution itself declares that ‘these principles are fundamental in the governance of the country and it shall be the duly of the state to apply these principles in making laws’

Classification of Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP)

Directive Principles of State Policy is classified into three categories[1]:

1. Socialistic Principles

2. Gandhian Principles

3. Liberal-Intellectual Principles.

1. Socialistic Principles: These principles contemplate the ideology of socialism and lay down the framework of a democratic socialist state. The idea is to give social and financial equity, with the goal that states liability to accomplish the ideal standards of government assistance state. They direct the state through-Article 38, Article 39, Article 39 An, Article 41, Article 42, Article 43, Article 43A and Article 47.

2. Gandhian Principles: These principles reflect the programme of reconstruction enunciated by Gandhi during the national movement. In order to fulfil the dreams of Gandhi, some of his ideas were included in DPSP and they direct the state through- Article 40, Article 43, Article 43 B, Article 46, Article 47 and Article 48.

3. Liberal-Intellectual Principles: These principles inclined towards the ideology of liberalism and they direct the state through- Article 44, Article 45, Article 48, Article 48 A, Article 49, Article 50 and Article 51.

Provisions of Directive Principles after Amendment[2]

Few Directive Principles were added in the 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 to the list. To secure opportunities for healthy development of children, Article 39 as Article 39A is used to promote equal justice and to provide free legal aid, Article 43 as Article 43A to make sure the participation of workers in the management of industries, Article 48 as Article 48A to secure the protection and improvement of the environment and to safeguard forests and wildlife.

Can state government or the central government be sued by an individual for not following the directive principles?

Article 37 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”. From this statement we can get the answer which is negative. Because of this article no provision of this part can be made enforceable in the court of law and cannot be used against the central government or the state government.

Difference between Fundamental Rights and Directive principle of state policy

Fundamental Rights

  • These are limitations on the powers of the government operating on an individual.

  • There is a remedy for violation of an individual Fundamental Right.

  • A law against Fundamental Rights can be declared void.

Directive principle of state policy

  • These are instructions to the government for achieving certain ends through their actions.

  • The Principles may be violated either by the individuals or the State, as long as there is no law made to that effect.

  • Generally, A law against DPSPs cannot be declared void.

Conflicts between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principle of State Policy:

Whenever there is a conflict between Fundamental Rights and DPSPs, the court has different views in every judicial decision. There were cases in which the field of conflict was between fundamental rights and DPSPs:

  1. Champakam Dorairajan Case (1951)[3]: In this case, the Apex Court held that any law which violates the Fundamental Rights is void, but in case of DPSPs that law will not be considered void. Due to the decision the First Amendment Act, 1951, the Fourth Amendment Act (1955) and the Seventeenth Amendment Act (1964) to execute some Directives.

  2. Golaknath Case (1967)[4]: In this case the judgment reversed Supreme Court's earlier decision which held that Parliament have power to amend all parts of the Constitution, including Fundamental Rights in the cases Shankari Prasad v. Union of India[5] and Sajjan Singh vs. State of Rajasthan[6]. Due to the decision 24th Amendment Act 1971 & 25th Amendment Act, 1971 came declaring that it has the power to curtail or take away any of the Fundamental Rights by enacting Constitutional Amendment Acts.

  3. Kesavananda Bharti Case (1973)[7]: This is a landmark case in the history of law which determines the basic structure of the constitution. The Supreme Court ruled out the second provision of the Article 31C, which is amended by the 25th Amendment Act to be invalid or unconstitutional. Whereas, the first provision of Article 31C is considered constitutional and valid. Due to the decision the 42nd Amendment Act, 1971, which extended the scope of the first provision that any law which is made to execute the DPSPs it would be invulnerable from unlawfulness considering that it ignores Articles 14 and 19.

  4. Minerva Mills Case (1980)[8]: The above-mentioned view for the first provision has been struck down and made Article 31C unconstitutional and invalid. It also made DPSPs subordinate to Fundamental Rights. Supreme Court likewise expressed the adjusting system between the Fundamental Rights and DPSPs while expressing that the Indian Constitution is established on the bedrock of the harmony between the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles.


Remembering the contentions set forth above and the point of the Constituent Assembly while making the non-justifiable rights, it tends to be inferred that making the DPSPs enforceable is superfluous. The Assembly would not like to authorize the Directives since they expected that they would get obsolete after some time. Besides, most of their provisions have been upheld through different enactments; those that are not enforceable have begging to be proven wrong pertinence in today’s world. In any case, only on the grounds that they are not reasonable in an official courtroom, doesn't render them futile.

The current situation of the Directives is adjusted and alluring. In any case, it is additionally suggested that they should be made mainstream and liberated from ethics that they force on residents. They should consolidate the assumptions held by the country all in all and not those held by just a specific class.

References: [1] Mudit Goswami, Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP): Whether Justifiable or not, Legal service India(July 24, 2020,10:32 AM), . [2] Hemant Singh, Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP)- Concept and Features, Jagran Josh(July 24, 2020,10:52 AM), . [3] State of Madras v. Champakam, (1951) SCR 523 (531). [4] Golaknath v. State Of Punjab (1967) AIR 1643. [5] Sri Sankari Prasad Singh Deo vs. Union of India, (1951) AIR 458. [6] Sajjan Singh vs. State Of Rajasthan, (1965) AIR 845. [7] Kesavananda Bharati vs State of Kerala (1973) 4 SCC 225: AIR 1973 SC 1461. [8] Minerva mills vs. Union of India AIR (1980) SC 1789. DISCLAIMER: Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of A & S Jurisprudentia Ltd. A & S Jurisprudentia Ltd also does not certify correctness of the Language, Spelling, Grammar, context etc. of the Blog and disclaims any Liability or consequences which may arise of this Blog.

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