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Directive Principles of State Policy

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  • Last Updated : 12 Apr, 2022
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The Directive Principles is the ideology of the Irish Constitution and Articles 36-51 of the Indian Constitution (Under Part-IV) contain the Directive Principles of State Policy. These provisions have been incorporated to achieve the amelioration of the socio-economic conditions of the masses. The transition from Laissez-Faire State to a welfare State has necessitated the State to take proactive and positive steps for the welfare of the people. In Lala Ram v. Union of India, (2015) SC held that the welfare state refers to the greatest good of the greatest number and the benefit of all, and the happiness of all. The directive principles are made to enrich the democratic country through social and economic growth. These principles are provided to regulate the state and parliament in India as to in which manner they should use their functional power.

Directive Principle’s Justiciability:

Article 37 provides that provisions contained in Part IV can not be made enforceable in the court but the principles laid down are constitutionally valid and states before making laws must keep these laws in their mind. This Article makes it clear that directive principles are ideals that the State must keep in mind while they formulate the policies and laws. The idea of a welfare state can only be achieved if the State implements these policies. These principles cannot be challenged in any court of law i.e. they are not justiciable.

The reason behind the non-enforceability of these principles is that they while taking positive actions restrain the government in any manner and the most important restraint is financial restraint. Therefore, awakened public opinion rather than enforcement by courts is the ultimate sanction for the fulfillment of these principles.  In Lily Thomas v. Union of India, AIR 2000 SC reiterated that the court has no power to give directions for the enforcement of Directive Principles of the State Policy.

Directive Principles can be classified into the following Three-Part:

  1. Social and Economic Justice
  2. Social Security Provisions
  3. Community Welfare Provisions

1. Social and Economic Justice:

Articles 38 and 39 come under this classification. Article 38 provides that the State should secure a social order for the promotion of the welfare of the people. The State shall strive to minimize inequalities in income and status, facilities, and opportunities. Article 39 brief that the State shall make laws in view of securing :

  • Every citizen has the right to adequate means of livelihood.
  • Control of material resources of community & ownership must be originated in common good nature.
  • Operation of the economic system does not result in a concentration of wealth and means of production to the common detriment.
  • There is equal pay for equal work for both men and women.
  • Health and strength of workers, men, and women, and the tender age of children are not abused, and citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their age or strength.
  • Children are given the opportunity to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and childhood and youth are protected against exploitation and moral or material abandonment.

2. Social Security:

Following Directive Principles come under this category:

  • Equal justice and free legal aid (Article 39-A, inserted by 42nd Constitution Amendment Act,1976).
  • The state should give the right to education, employment (Article 41).
  • Just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief (Article 42).
  • Provides Living wage, remuneration, and other economical facilities for workers (Article 43).
  • Participation of workers in the management of industries (Article 43-A).
  • Promotion of co-operative societies (Article 43-B Inserted by 97th Constitution Amendment, 2011).
  • Provision for early childhood care and education to children below the age of six years. (Article 45).
  • Promotion of educational and economic interests of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and other weaker sections (Article 46).
  • Duty raises the level of nutrition and the standard of living and improves public health (Article 47).

3. Community Welfare:

Following Directive Principles come under this category:

  • Organization of village panchayats (Article 40).
  • Uniform Civil Code for citizens (Article 44).
  • Organization of agriculture and animal husbandry (Article 48).
  • Protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding forests and wildlife (Article 48-A).
  • Protection of monuments and other national importance things, places, etc (Article 49).
  • Judiciary separated from the executive (Article 50).
  • The state must Promote international peace and security (Article 51).

Some of the Important Directive Principles:

A. Uniform Civil Code:

Article 44 requires the State to strive to secure for the citizens of India a uniform civil code throughout India. The term uniform civil code has not been defined in the Constitution. Generally, it means a single uniform law applicable to all citizens, irrespective of religion, which governs matters like marriage, divorce, adoption, guardianship, etc. In the Constituent Assembly, an objection was taken regarding the inclusion of this provision. The objection was countered by the reasoning that uniform law applicable would promote national unity.

Law must be separated from religion. The enactment of a uniform civil code will strengthen the secularism feeling of separation and divisiveness will disappear. In Ms. Jordan Diengdeh v. SS Chopra, SC held that laws relating to marriage should be given uniformity irrespective of religion. The Supreme Court suggested providing for uniform civil code for marriage and divorce. Similarly in Mohd Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum, AIR 1985, SC 945 Supreme Court emphasized that a common civil code will create National integration by removing the different ideologies of different laws. In the absence of the Code, the role of reformer of law has to be assumed by the courts themselves.

B. Free Legal Aid:

Article 39A obligates the State to secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity and shall in particular provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes. In Manoharan v. Sivarajan, (2014) 4 SCC 163 held that Article 39A provides for a holistic approach in imparting justice to the litigating parties. It not only includes provision for free legal services through the appointment of counsel, but it also includes ensuring that justice is not denied to litigating parties due to financial difficulties.

Legal Services Authority Act, 1987 was enacted by parliament to provide free legal aid to indigenous people. This legislation comprehensively provides for the rendition of free legal aid at all levels. Supreme Court in Anita Kushwaha v. Pushap Sudan, (2016) 8 SCC 509 held that legal aid to the needy has been recognized as one of the facets of access to justice, and affordability of justice has been taken care of by the State-sponsored legal aid programs under the Legal Services Authority Act, 1987. It must be noted that legal assistance to poor and indigent persons is constitutionally mandated not only under Article 39A but also under Article 21. Thus, free legal assistance at State’s cost has been raised to the status of fundamental rights.

C. Equal pay for Equal Work:

Article 39(d) provides that the State has to ensure that there is equal pay for equal work for both men and women. Parliament has enacted the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 to implement Article 39(d). The Act provides for payment of equal remuneration to men and women for the same work or work of similar nature and for the prevention of discrimination on grounds of sex. In Randhir Singh v. Union of India, AIR 1982 SC 879, Supreme Court held that the directive principle of equal pay for equal work is not a fundamental right but since it is a constitutional goal it can be enforced through Article 32. In Grih Kalyan Kendra v Union of India, AIR 1991 SC 1173 Supreme Court held that the provision of ‘equal pay for equal work has not been expressly declared to be a fundamental right but it has assumed the status of fundamental right by construing Articles 14 and 16 in light of Article 39(d). This principle may be properly applied to cases of unequal scales of pay based on no classification or irrational classification.

D. Living Wage:

Article 43 requires the State to endeavour to secure by suitable legislation, or economic organization, or in any other way. The term ‘living wage’ is not defined in Article 43. The term “living wage” means a wage that not only provides essentials like food, clothing, and shelter but also measures of frugal comfort including education for children, protection against ill health, requirements of essential social needs, etc. It is contradistinguished with a minimum wage which means a wage sufficient to cover bare physical needs. Fixing minimum wages under the Minimum. The Wages Act has been characterized as the first step in the direction of fulfilling the mandate of Article 43.

Criticism of Directive Principles of State Policy:

The Directive Principles of State Policy were criticized through few contributors of the Constituent Assembly in addition to outstanding constitutional and political specialists or thinkers on the subsequent grounds:

A. No Legal Force:

The DPSP was criticized due to a lack of justiciability of character, K.T. Shah dubbed them as irrelevant theories of law and it is just like a person with a cheque from an economic employer, dose gets payable best on the equal time because of the assets of the economic employer permits. Nasiruddin contended that those standards are ‘no higher than the ultra-modern year’s resolutions, which may be damaged on the second one of January.

B. Illogically Arranged:

Critics opined that the Directives are not organized in a logical way which is totally based on ordinary philosophy and lack of any special philosophy. The DPSP was not well-organized or well-arranged manner. This does not separate the uttermost problems with simple or simply it could be said that it mixes every economic and other problem. It combines as a possibility incongruously the modern-day with the antique and provisions recommended thru the cause and technological know-how with provisions primarily based honestly on sentiment and prejudice.

C. Conservative approach:

According to Sir Ivor Jennings, the Directives are primarily based absolutely on the political philosophy of nineteenth-century England. Part IV of the Indian Constitution expresses such Socialism which itself is without the Socialism character. He opined that the Directives may be deemed to fit for the 20th century but what about the 21st century.

D. Constitutional Conflict:

According to a prominent southern member of the assembly, K. Santhanam has said that the Directives result in a constitutional conflict (a) a number of the Centre and the states, (b) a number of the President and the Prime Minister, and (c) a number of the governor and the leader minister.


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