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Indian Polity / Directive Principles

Directive Principles of State Policy in India


    The significance and importance of Directive Principles of State Policy in Indian Constitution is to set up a welfare state or a socialistic pattern of society. The directive principles are also known as non-justiciable rights. The directives aim at the community well being. These directives contain the socio-economic philosophy of the Constitution.

    Features of Directive Principles of State Policy

    Articles related to the directive principles are not self-executory, the Government should take care of the implementation of directive principles of state policy. These are the instructions to the Government to accomplish an egalitarian society. Though the Government has the obligation to implement the directive principles, no one can go to the courts of law for their implementation as they are non-justiciable. Since the directive principles imbibe great moral values, no government can avoid or go against them. Directive principles reflect the aspirations and intentions of the people of the country and hence they are included into the constitution. As these are the fundamental principles of governance, their implementation is unavoidable if the country wants to progress socially and economically.

    List of Directive Principles of State Policy

    • Article 38 deals with securing socio-economic justice with the policies of the Government.
    • Article 39 provides certain principles like men and women should get paid equal pay for equal work and equal opportunities in work.
    • Article 39A says free legal aid to the poor people.
    • Article 40 says establishment of Panchayati Raj Institutions for achieving Gram Swaraj.
    • Article 41 deals with right to work or employment, right to public assistance and right to education.
    • Article 42 says Government should provide and take measures for just and humane working conditions and maternity relief to women.
    • Article 43 says there should be living wages for workers and security of their job.
    • Article 43A says about participation of the employees in the management of industry which is nothing but profit sharing.
    • Article 44 says about implementation of uniform civil code. This is the only directive principle so far not implemented except in the state of Goa.
    • Article 45 says free and compulsory pre-primary education to all the children below the age of 6 years.
    • Article 46 says upliftment of the downtrodden especially SCs, STs and OBCs.
    • Article 47 talks about prohibition of all intoxicants, drugs, liquors which are injurious to the public health. It is the duty of the State to raise the level of nutrition and increase the standard of living and to ameliorate public health.
    • Article 48 says about banning of slaughtering of cows and other animals which are useful for agriculture and dairy development.
    • Article 48A says about protection of environment and the wildlife.
    • Article 49 says about protection of places of historical significance and other monuments.
    • Article 50 says about separation of Executive from Judiciary.
    • Article 51 says that all international disputes or the border disputes must be solved or resolved through negotiations peacefully and amicably across the table without resorting to war.
Extra Information

    • Depending on the nature of directive principles, Prof. M.P. Sharma classified them into three categories -
      • Socialistic Principles - These are defined in the Articles 38, 39, 41, 42, 43.
      • Gandhian Principles - These are defined in the Articles 40, 46, 47, 48.
      • Liberal Principles - These are defined in the Articles 44, 45, 49, 50, 51.
    • Supreme Court in Sarla Mudgal case in 1996, directed the Central Government to initiate steps for implementation of uniform civil code.
    • There are directives, which are located in other than PART IV of the constitution. They are -
      • Article 335, which says the claims of SCs & STs will be considered while making appointments to Central and State services without hampering the general merit. It is justifiable in nature.
      • Article 350A, which says about imparting primary education in the mother tongue only.
      • Article 351, which says about promotion of Hindi as National Language in order to achieve the integrity of India.
    • If we critically examine the directive principles of state policy -
      • Directive Principles are non-justiciable.
      • There is no clarity in Directive Principles. Some of the directives are self-contradictory.
      • These directives are very exhaustive in nature, there by the essence of these directives is undermined.
      • Naziruddin Ahmad observed that these directives are like resolutions of 1st day of every new year, which are conveniently forgotten next day.
      • Prof. K.T. Shah observed that these directives are like a post dated cheque, which is not useful timely.
      • Gran ville Austin observed that these are the factors which cause a social reform and social revolution.
      • Dr. B.R. Ambedkar observed that these are the instruments of instruction. They are guidelines though they are not justiciable. That is the Government may escape from the court of law but it cannot afford to do something in the court of people.
      • K.M. Munshi said these directives provide and will have a moral and educational value and secure continuity in the policies of the Government.
      • There is so much importance of directive principles of state policy, but their implementation requires a true heart in order to accomplish an egalitarian society.