Directive Principles of State Policy

An important feature of the constitution is the Directive Principles of State Policy. Although the Directive Principles are asserted to be “fundamental in the governance of the country,” they are not legally enforceable. Instead, they are guidelines for creating a social order characterized by social, economic, and political justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity as enunciated in the constitution’s preamble.

Article 37 of the Constitution declares that the DPSP “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.” It is not a mere coincidence that the apparent distinction that is drawn by scholars between the ICCPR rights and ESC rights holds good for the distinction that is drawn in the Indian context between fundamental rights and DPSP. Thus the bar to justiciability of the DPSP is spelled out in some sense in the Constitution itself.

The Directive Principles may be classified into 3 broad categories—

  1. Socialistic
  2. Gandhian and
  3. Liberal-intellectual.

(1) Socialistic Directives

Principal among this category of directives are (a) securing welfare of the people (Art. 38) (b) securing proper distribution of material resources of the community as to best sub serve the common-good, equal pay for equal work, protection of childhood and youth against exploitation. etc. (Art.39), (c) curing right to work, education etc. Art. (41), (d) securing just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief (Art. 42) etc.

(2) Gandhian Directives

Such directives are spread over several Arts. Principal among such directives are (a) to organize village panchayats (Art. 40), (b) to secure living wage, decent standard of life, and to promote cottage industries (Art.43), (c) to provide free and compulsory education to all children up to 14 years of age (Art. 45), (d) to promote economic and educational interests of the weaker sections of the people, particularly, the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, (e) to enforce prohibition of intoxicating drinks and cow-slaughter and to organize agriculture and animal husbandry on scientific lines (Arts. 46-48).

(3) Liberal intellectual directives

Principal among such directives are (a) to secure uniform civil code throughout the country (Art.44), (b) to separate the judiciary from the executive (Art.50),  (c) to protect monuments of historic and national importance and  (d) to promote international peace and security.

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