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Subjects /Indian Polity / Directive Principles of State Policy

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28 Jul 2020

Directive Principles as declared by the constitution, are fundamental to the governance of the country. They are like an ‘Instrument of Instructions’ or general recommendations addressed to all authorities in the Indian Union. Dr B R Ambedkar described these principles as ‘novel features’ of the Indian Constitution.

Directive Principles have been taken from the Constitution of Ireland. It aims at bringing about social and economic democracy. It is a unique blend of Socialism, Gandhism, Western liberalism and the ideals of India’s freedom movement.

Directive Principles are ‘non-justiciable’ it means – if it is not implemented by states, it can’t be challenged in any court of law.

However, directive principles are set of directions or instructions given to the state by the Constitution and it is expected that state should implement it while making law. Thus, Directive Principles are the symbol of welfare state, in fact a welfare state is a state which aims at welfare of the society, i.e., to reduce income inequality, to abolish social discrimination, to provide equality of opportunity and to take special care for the upliftment of deprived sections of the society.

Also Read | Significance of Fundamental Right in the Indian Constitution

Article 36

It provides for the definition of State.

In this part, unless the context otherwise explains the ‘state’ is having the some meaning as Part-III of the constitution.


Directive principles are non-justiciable but Fundamental in the governance of the country.

Thus, according to this Article, the DPSPs are not enforceable in court of law.

However, the provisions of the DPSP are fundamental to the governance of this country. (This is the only article that talks about the Governance).


It is the duty of the state to ensure welfare of the people (welfare state).

The Universal Basic Income pertains to Article 38, 39(B), 39(C) and 41.


Certain principles of the policies state must take into consideration while making law.


Every citizen equally has the right to have adequate means of livelihood.


Ownership and control of material resources are so arranged as to serve the common food.


Operation of Economic system does not result in concentration of wealth and means of production to the common detriment.


Equal pay for equal work for both man and women.


Health and strength of workers are not abused.


Children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and protection of dignity and freedom to early childhood and youth.


Equal justice and free legal Aid (added by 42nd Amendment Act, 1976).


Organization of Village Panchayat.


Right to work, right to education and right to public assistance in certain cases.


Provision for just and humane condition of work and maternity relief.


Living wages etc. for the workers and promotion of cottage industries in rural areas.


Participation of workers in the management of industries (added by 42nd Amendment Act, 1976).


Participation of workers in the management of Industries. (added by 42nd Amendment Act, 1976).

Promotion of Cooperative societies (added by 97th Amendment Act, 2011).


Uniform civil code for the citizen.


Provision for early childhood care and education to the children below the age of 6 years (Earlier it was 6 to 14 years which was replaced by below 6 years by 86th Amendment Act, 2002).


Promotion of educational and economic interest of SC’s/ST’s and other weaker sections of the society.


Duty of the state to raise the level of nutrition and standard of living and to improve public health and also prohibition of consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs, injuries to health except for medicinal purpose.


Organisation of agriculture and animal husbandry and prohibition of slaughter of cows and calves and other milch and drought cattle.


Protection and improvement of environment and safe guarding of forest and wildlife. (Added by 42nd Amendment Act).


Protection of monument, places and objects of national importance.


Separation of Judiciary from executive in the public services of the state.


Promotion of International peace and security. The state shall endeavor to –

a.    Promote international peace and security.

b.    Maintain honorable relations between the nations.

c.    Foster respect for international law and treaty obligation.

d.    Encourage settlement of international dispute by arbitration.


  1. Fundamental Rights has been taken from US Constitution and given in Part-III of Indian Constitution from Article 12 to 35, whereas Directive Principles are taken from Irish Constitution and placed in Part-IV of the Constitution from Article 36-51.
  2. Fundamental Rights are justiciable whereas Directive Principles is non-justiciable. It means in case the violation of Fundamental Rights one can directly move to Supreme Court or High Court, but in case of non-implementation of Directive Principles one cannot move to the court.
  3. Fundamental Right is negative in character whereas Directive Principles is positive in nature.
  4. Fundamental Rights prohibits the state from doing certain things and certain negative injunctions are imposed on it, whereas Directive Principles are positive directions given to the states by the Constitution and is fundamental in the governance of the country.
  5. Fundamental Rights basically continues civil and political rights to ensure extensive liberty and justice to the people; whereas Directive Principles mostly contains social and economic rights to bring about social justice and economic change.
  6. Fundamental Right is exclusively given in Part-III of the Constitution. However, some of the directives are given even outside Part-IV of the Constitution i.e., Article 335, 350A and 351.

Regarding relationship between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles, Apex Court rightly said – there exists no conflict between the domains of Fundamental Right and Directive Principles as both are complementary and supplementary to each other.

Relationship Between Fundamental Right And Directive Principles

  • In Golaknath Case, 1967, Apex Court said that in order to implement Directive Principles, Fundamental Rights cannot be violated because the Constitution makers have given Fundamental Right a ‘Transcendental’ Position. It means Parliament is free to implement Directive Principles by making law but without violating Fundamental Right.
  • By 25th Amendment Act, 1971, Article 31C was added in the Constitution which means in order to implement Article 39B and 39C if any of the Fundamental Right, specially Article 14,19 and 31 are violated, then such law cannot be challenged in any court of law on any ground including the ground of violation of Fundamental Right.
  • In Keshvananda Bharati case, 1973, Apex Court upheld the validity of 25th Amendment Act, However Apex Court added the phrase ‘Basic Structure’ and said that while making any law or amendment basic structure of the Constitution can’t be touched upon or violated.
  • By 42nd Amendment Act, 1976, Article 31C was widened to incorporate all DPSP in place of only Article 39B and C. Also, Article 368(4)(5) were added which means in order to implement any of the Directive Principle any of the Fundamental Right can be violated and such law can’t be challenged n any court of India on any ground.
  • In Minerva Mills Case, 1980, Supreme Court struck down ‘widening’ of Article 31C and Apex Court also struck down Article 368(4) and (5) by saying that judicial review is one of the ‘Basic Structure’ of the Constitution which can’t be taken away. In fact, 368(4) and (5) as well as widening part of Article 31C took away judicial review and that’s why these were struck down.


Only Article 39(B) AND (C) shall prevail over Fundamental Rights and not all DPSP, Apex Court said that Fundamental

Rights and Directive Principles are complementary and supplementary to each other. Fundamental Rights is no higher in stature than Directive Principles and therefore Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles and Fundamental Duties constitute a coherent whole organically linked to each other.