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Part IV (Arts. 36-51) of the Constitution contains the Directive Principles of State Policy. The principles reflect a unique mixture of humanitarian socialist precepts, Gandhian ideals and democratic socialism. Though not enforceable, they constitute the fundamental principles of Governance. Most of the Directives aim at the establishment of the economic and social democracy as pledged for in the Preamble. It shall be the duty of State to follow these principles both in the matter of administration as well as in making of laws.

Directive Principles

Art. 36: Defines the term state as in Part III.
Art. 37: The provisions of Part IV shall not be enforceable by any court, but principles are fundamental in the governance of the country and it shall be the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws.

Directive principles of state policy Directive principles of state policy Art. 38: State to secure a social order for the promotion of welfare of the people. In particular, it is to minimise inequalities in income and endeavour to eliminate inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities.

Art. 39: Certain principles of policy to be followed by the State for securing adequate means of livelihood for all citizens, common good by distribution of ownership and control of the material resources of the community, an economic system that does not result in the concentration of wealth and means of production to the common detriment, equal pay for equal work for both men and women, health and strength of workers including children and opportunities and facilities for children to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and be protected against exploitation.

Art. 39-A: Added by the 42nd Amendment, requires the State to secure equal justice and free legal aid.

Art. 40: Requires the State to take steps to organise village panchayats and endow them with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-government.

Art. 41: Requires the State to make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and in other cases of undeserved want.

Art. 42: Requires the State to make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief.

Art. 43: Directs the State to secure, to all workers, agricultural , industrial or otherwise, work, a living wage, conditions of work ensuring a decent standard of life and full enjoyment of leisure and social and cultural opportunities and, in particular, to promote cottage industries on an individual or co-operative basis in rural areas.

DPSP with some amendmentsDPSP with some amendments

Art. 43-A: Added by 42nd Amendment, directs the State to take steps to secure the participation of workers in the management of undertakings, establishments or other organisations engaged in any industry.

Art. 44: Requires the State to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.

Art. 45: Directs the State to provide, within a period of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution, for free and compulsory education for all children upto the age of fourteen years.

Art. 46: Requires the State to promote educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.

Art. 47: Directs the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health, and, in particular, prohibit consumption except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health.

Art. 48: Directs the State to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and prohibit the slaughter of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.

Art. 48-A: Added by 42nd Amendment, directs the State to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wild life of the country.

Art. 49: Directs the State to protect monuments and places and objects of national importance from spoliation, disfigurement, destruction, removal, disposal or export, as the case may be.

Art. 50: Directs the State to take steps for separation of judiciary from executive.

Art. 51: Directs the State to
(i) Promote international peace and security.

(ii) Maintain just and honourable relations between nations.
(iii) Foster respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings of organised people with one another and
(iv) Encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration.

Classification of Directive Principles

Directive principles may be classified into various group.

  1. Social and Economic Justice
    (i) Social order based on justice: Art. 38 (1) and 38 (2) require the State to maintain a social order based on justice.
    (ii) Distributive justice: Distributive justice is the common aim of Art. 38. and 39. They propose to promote equality in wider perspective and create circumstances to avoid injustice at the social and economic levels.
  2. Ideals of Social Security
    (i) Right to work, to education and public assistance in certain cases (Art. 41) Recently, the Supreme Court declared, in Mohini Jain's case, that the right to education be equated with a fundamental right and it should be read with Art. 22. This is because the right to life means a dignified life, which has no meaning without education.
    (ii) Free and compulsory education for children up to 14 years (Art. 45).
    (iii) Promotion of educational and economic interests of the weaker sections (Art. 46).
    (iv) Raising the standard of living and improvement of health (Art. 47).
    (v) Equal justice and free legal aid (Art. 39A).
    (vi) Just and human conditions of work (Art. 42).
    (vii) Living wage etc. for workers (Art. 43) and
    (viii) Participation of workers in the management of industries (Art. 42A)
  3. Community Welfare Ideals 
    (i) Uniform civil code (Art. 44)
    (ii) Organisation of agriculture and animal husbandry (Art. 48)
    (iii) Protection and improvement of forests and animal life (Art. 48A)
    (iv) Protection of monuments and places and objects of national importance (Art. 49)
    (v) Separation of judiciary from the executive (Art. 50)
    (vi) Promotion of international peace and security (Art. 51)
    (vii) Organisation of village panchayats (Art. 40)

Significance of Directive Principles

Directive Principles even though are not enforceable in the courts of law, Art. 37 unequivocally enjoins that "it shall be the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws. Owing to the legal deficiencies of the Directives the utility of their incorporation in the Constitution, which is a legal instrument has been questioned. Directives were intended as moral precepts for the authorities of the State. Directives emphasise, in amplification of the Preamble, that the goal of the Indian polity is a welfare state. Also the Court should keep in mind the Directive Principles while interpretation of statutes.

Implementation of Directive Principles 

Though implementation has been far from satisfactory, the State is showing a genuine will to implement the directive principles. In electoral politics, no government may, with impunity, ignore welfare oriented policies with regard to public health, education, economic equality, position of women, children and backward classes in the planning process.
The following are some areas where directive principles have shown some impact.

(i) Art. 39: A series of Acts have been passed from time to time such as Employees State Insurance Act, Minimum Wages Act, Wealth Tax Act, Estate Duty Act and so on. Legislatures of almost all the states and Union Territories passed Land Reform Acts which fixed ceilings on land holdings and the surplus land acquired from land owners was distributed among the landless workers. The Legislatures of almost all the states and Union Territories passed Acts for the abolition of intermediaries like zamindars, jagirs and more than three crores of farmers became the owners of land.

(ii) Art. 40: A large number of laws have been enacted to organise village panchayats and endow them powers of self-government.

(iii) Art. 43: For the promotion of cottage industries which is a state subject, the Central Government has established several Boards to help the State governments, in the matter of Finance, Marketing and the like.

(iv) Art. 44: The enactment of the Hindu Marriage Act (1955) and the Hindu Succession Act (1956) have been important steps to implement the directives of uniform civil code.

DPSP- Characteristics, origin, and natureDPSP- Characteristics, origin, and nature

(v) Art. 45: Legislation for compulsory primary education exists in many states.

(vi) Art. 46: Various programmes to educate the tribal youth and promote the welfare of scheduled tribes and scheduled castes have been taken up.
The Mandal Commission has been declared constitutional. The state has provided reservation in government jobs to the socially and educationally backward (SEB).

(vii) Art. 47: For raising the standard of living, particularly of the rural population, the Government of India launched its Community Development Project in 1952. The Department of Women and Children Development continued its programmes in the areas of women's development as well as of the child development

Both the fundamental rights and the directive principles constitute the conscience and core of the Constitution. They promote the pledged aim of the Preamble of the Constitution to establish the welfare state. While fundamental rights are 'primary' and 'fundamental', the directive principles are no less important than fundamental rights and they are binding on the various organs of the state (A.B.Soshit Karamchari Sangh vs Union of India, SC 1981). 

Difference between Fundamental rights and directive principles Difference between Fundamental rights and directive principles The directives differ from the fundamental rights contained in part III of the Constitution or the ordinary laws of the land, in the following ways:
(i) Directives are not enforceable by the court (Art. 37) and do not create justiciable rights in favour of the individuals; but fundamental rights are enforceable by court (Arts. 32, 226).
(ii) Directives are positive inducements and the state is only expected to follow them. Fundamental rights are negative limitations on organs of the states.
(iii) Directives are implemented by the legislation sought from the legislative list contained in the 7th Schedule of the Constitution. Fundamental rights are incorporated in the Constitution and are within the jurisdiction of an individual.
(iv) The courts cannot compel the State to implement the directives. They can issue writs to enforce the violation of fundamental rights.
(v) The courts cannot declare any law as void on the ground that it contravene the directive principles.

  • In State of Madras vs. Champakam (1951), the Supreme Court highlighted the unenforceable nature of the directive principles. It declared that no law could be declared void on the ground of contravening the directive principles.
  • However, the 25th Amendment Act (1971) introduced Art. 31C, which was to protect a law seeking to implement a directive under 39 (b)-(c) (ownership and control on material resources for common good to avoid concentration of wealth) from being declared ultra vires on the ground of contravening.
  • The Kesavanand Bharati case (1973) upheld the validity of 25th Amendment Act. The 42nd Amendment (1976) (section 4) further expanded the scope of the directive principles under Art. 31C. It sought to protect any law implementing any of the directive principles from judicial review on the ground of violating Arts. 14 and 19. 
  • However, the Minerva Mills case (1980) foiled the attempt to accord primacy to the directives over fundamental rights. It struck down the expansion 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 consequence, Art. 31C is restored to the 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)-(c) and not any of the other directives included in Part IV. 
  • It has also been held that there is a fine balance in the original Constitution as between the directives and the fundamental rights, which should be adhered to by the courts. It is also held that when a law is challenged as constituting an invasion of the fundamental right specified in Art. 14 or 19 or 31, the court would uphold the validity of such law if it had been made to implement a Directive, holding that it constituted a 'reasonable classification' for the purpose of Art. 14, a 'reasonable restriction' under Art. 19 or a 'public purpose' within the meaning of Art. 31. 
  • As regards fundamental rights other than those under Arts. 14, 19 and 31, though the Directives cannot directly override them, the court may not entirely ignore the Directive Principles and should adopt the principle of harmonious construction so as to give effect to both as much as possible.

The directive in other parts of the Constitution 
Besides the Directives contained in Part IV, there are certain other Directives addressed to the State in other parts of the Constitution, which are also nonjusticiable. These are:
(i) Art. 350A enjoins every State and every local authority within the State to provide facilities for instruction in the mother-tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups.
(ii) Art. 351 enjoins the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language and to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression of all the elements of the composite culture of India.
(iii) Art. 335 enjoins that the claims of the members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes shall be taken into consideration, consistently with the maintenance of efficiency of administration, in the making of appointments to services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of a State. Though the Directives contained in Arts. 335, 350 A, 351 are not included in Part IV, Courts have given similar attention to them on the application of the principle that all parts of the Constitution should be read together.


  • Adjourn, Prologue and Dissolve: Adjourn is suspension of a session everyday, a few days or indefinitely: discretion of the Speaker. Prorogue means the ending of a session: discretion of the President or the Governor. A ‘dissolve’ is ending the life of a legislature: discretion of the President or the Governor.
  • Speaker Protem: When the Lok Sabha is summoned for the first time after the first time after the general election, the President appoints a member of Lok Sabha as the Speaker Protem (normally the senior most member). The Protem Speaker becomes ineffective, when new elected members take oath and elect their Speaker. For example, in the 10th Lok Sabha, Indrajit Gupta was the Protem Speaker.
  • Half an Hour Discussion: It is arising out of the questions already answered. It can be held in Lok Sabha during the last half-an-hour on (Mon-Wed-Fri). In Rajya Sabha it is held generally from 5 P.M. to 5.30 P.M. on any day allotted by the Chairman. A member wishing to raise such a question should give a notice in writing at least three days in advance.
  • Motion: It is a proposal brought before the house for eliciting decision or expressing the opinion of the House.


  • According to due recognition to the important role of the leader of the Opposition in a parliamentary democracy, the Government has given statutory recognition to the leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
  • In addition to salary, certain liberal prerequisites have been provided to them, in order to enable them to discharge their functions efficiently in Parliament.
  • Necessary legislation to this effect was passed by Parliament in 1977 and the Rules framed thereunder were brought into effect on November 1, 1977.
  • The late Y. B. Chavan of the Congress (I) was given the official status of the Leader of the Opposition with the rank of a Cabinet Minister, in the Lok Sabha, by the Janata Government headed by Morarji Desai. Chavan was thus the first Opposition leader in the country to enjoy the status of a Cabinet Minister.
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FAQs on Overview: Directive Principles Of State Policy- 1 - Indian Polity for UPSC CSE

1. What are Directive Principles of State Policy?
Ans. Directive Principles of State Policy are guidelines or principles given in the Constitution of India to the government to be kept in mind while framing laws and policies. They are not enforceable by any court but are meant to be used as a moral compass for the government.
2. How many Directive Principles of State Policy are there in the Indian Constitution?
Ans. There are a total of 12 Directive Principles of State Policy in the Indian Constitution. These principles cover a wide range of socio-economic issues such as equality, social justice, education, and public health.
3. How are Directive Principles different from Fundamental Rights?
Ans. The main difference between Directive Principles of State Policy and Fundamental Rights is that while Fundamental Rights are justiciable and enforceable by the courts, Directive Principles are non-justiciable, meaning they cannot be enforced by the courts but are guidelines for the government.
4. Can Directive Principles be amended by the government?
Ans. Yes, Directive Principles of State Policy can be amended by the government through a constitutional amendment. However, any such amendment must not violate the basic structure of the Constitution.
5. What is the significance of Directive Principles of State Policy in India?
Ans. The Directive Principles of State Policy provide a framework for the government to promote social and economic democracy in the country. They guide the government in formulating policies that aim to achieve the welfare of the people and establish a just society.
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