Directive Principles of State Policy
The Directive Principles of State Policy constitute the 4th part of the Constitution and are unique and novel in so far as they depict the ambitions and aspirations of the fathers of the Constitution.
It was laid down that these provisions are not enforceable in any court but they are fundamental in the governance of the country and it was the duty of the state to apply these principles in making laws.
The Directive Principles have not been properly classified in the Constitution, yet they can be conveniently divided into the following categories:
- Equal distribution of wealth and material resources among all classes of people so as to prevent its concentration in a few hands.
- Provision of adequate means of livelihood to all citizens of the states.
- Equal pay for equal similar work for both men and women.
- To ensure just and human conditions of work, a decent standard of living, full enjoyment of leisure and social and cultural opportunities.
- Maintenance and protection of health and strength of all citizens.
- To make provision for public assistance in case of unemployment, old age, sickness, disability and other cases of undeserved want.
- To raise the level of nutrition and standard of living.
The enumeration of the above mentioned economic principles is comparable to fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of former U.S.S.R.
The principles are indicative of the desire of the framers of the Constitution to introduce socialism in the country.
The state has been directed to take steps within the limits of its economic resources for the right to education, the right to material security in old age, sickness and disability.
- Prohibition of intoxicating drinks and drugs.
- To establish village panchayats.
- Free and compulsory education for children up to the age of fourteen.
- The state shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people and particularly scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.
- Prohibition of the slaughter of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle and to promote animal husbandry for improving their breed.
- To set up and promote cottage industries.
- Indian Constitution was the most lengthy written Constitution in the world. The credit now goes to the Yugoslav Constitution which has surpassed ours in its length.
- The original Constitution contained 395 Articles and 8 Schedules.
- Fundamental Rights are modelled on the American Constitution, the Parliamentary System of the Government adopted from the United Kingdom, Directive Principles of State Policy from Irish Constitution and Emergency provisions from the Constitution of German Reich and the Govt. of India Act, 1935.
- From the Canadian constitution was taken the idea of Federation with strong centre, while the idea of Concurrent List was taken from Australian Constitution.
- In contrast to the American Constitution, it is more flexible than rigid.
- An independent judiciary, having the power of judicial review, is a prominent feature of our Constitution.
- The Indian Constitution provides political, legal as well as social equality through the Fundamental Rights.
- The combination of federal and unitary system in the same constitution is unique in the world.
Principles for the Promotion of International Understanding
- To promote international peace and security.
- To maintain just and honourable relations between nations.
- To foster respect for international law and treaty obligations in dealings of organised people with one another.
- To encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration.
Exceptions To The Fundamental Rights
- Articles 31A, 31B and 31C (the first two introduced by the First Amendment and the third by the 25th Amendment) are meant to validate and save certain laws which may otherwise be ultra vires the Constitution.
- Article 31A protects certain laws dealing with the acquisition of property by the State, abolition of the zamindari system, etc. regardless of what is provided by the fundamental rights in Articles 14 and 19.
- Article 31B saves the Acts and regulations placed in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution; these laws shall not be deemed void on the ground of any inconsistency with any fundamental right.
- A law placed in the Ninth Schedule cannot be questioned for its validity in court. However, for a law to get protected by Article 31B, a Constitutional Amendment is required to place the concerned law in the Ninth Schedule.
- Article 31C protects a law if it has been made to implement the Directive Principles in Part IV.
- To separate judiciary from the executive.
- To protect monuments and historical buildings.
- The state shall endeavour to secure for the citizens uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.
Conflict between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles
Art. 31 (c), introduced by the 25th Amendment, 1971 and expanded by the Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act, says that though the Directives themselves are not directly enforceable in the courts if any law is made to implement any of the Directives contained in Part IV of the Constitution, it would be totally immune from unconstitutionality on the ground of contravention of the fundamental rights conferred by Arts. 14 and 19.
This attempts to confer a primacy upon the Directives as against the Fundamental Rights has, however, been foiled by the majority of the Supreme Court in the Minerva Mills case in two respects:
It has struck down the widening of Art. 31C to include any or all of the Directives in Part IV, on the ground that such total exclusion of judicial review would offend the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution. As a result, Art. 31C is restored to its pre-1976 position so that a law would be protected by Art. 31C only if it has been made to implement the Directive in Art. 39(b) and (c) and not any of the other Directives included in Part IV. Art. 39(b) and (c) contain some of the main objectives of a welfare society and egalitarian social order. Art. 39(b) provides for redistribution of material resources for the common good while Art. 39(c) seeks to avoid the concentration of wealth in few hands.
It has been also held that there is a fine balance in the original Constitution between the Directives and the Fundamental Rights, which should be adhered to by the courts, by a harmonious reading of the two categories of provisions, instead of giving any general preference to the Directive Principles.
- Article 32 has four sections. The first three sections taken together, make Fundamental Rights under the Constitution very real and as such, they form the crowning part of the entire chapter.
- An outstanding feature of this Article is that an application under Art 32 lies in the first instance to the Supreme Court. Resort to the High Courts is not called for.
- Article 32 has been held to be a ‘basic feature’ of the Constitution and so, it cannot be taken away by amendment of the Constitution, so long as the doctrine of ‘basic features’ remains.
- Under Article 226, the High Courts have been conferred more extensive powers to issue writ and directions for the enforcement of ordinary legal rights, while the Supreme Court cannot do so.
- Under Article 32, the Supreme Court can issue writs for the enforcement of fundamental rights alone.
- Art. 32 guarantees the right to move the apex court for the enforcement of fundamental rights, and this right is in itself a fundamental right, while Art 226 confers on the High Courts the power to enforce these rights through appropriate writs.
- The power of the High Courts to issue directions or writs for enforcement of fundamental rights is concurrent with Supreme Court and it will not be derogatory to the powers conferred on the Supreme Court in this regard.
- Thus, after an application has been refused by a High court, a similar application can be made to the Supreme Court.
By the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution in 1976, the ten fundamental duties have been incorporated in the Part IV of the Constitution.
These duties have been specified in Article 51A.
The ten fundamental duties are:
- to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem;
- to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;
- to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;
- to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so; (e) to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood among all the people of India transcending religious,
- to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood among all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;
- to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;
- to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creatures;
- to develop the scientific temper, humanism, and the spirit of inquiry and reform;
- to safeguard public property and to abjure violence; and
- to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement.
There is no provision in the Constitution for direct enforcement of these Duties, or for any sanction to prevent their violation. These ‘Duties’, along with the exceptions to the Fundamental Rights, limit the operation of Fundamental Rights, even though they are not justifiable. Their inclusion has been justified on the basis that they would help to strengthen our democracy.
- Article 78 clearly stipulates that it is the duty of the Prime Minister: l to communicate to the President all decisions of the Council of Minister relating to the administration of the Union and proposals for legislation.
- To furnish such information relating to the administration of the Union or legislation as the President may call for;
- To submit for the consideration of the Council of Ministers any matter, if the President so requires, on which a minister has taken a decision but which has not been considered by the Council.