The Directive Principles of State Policy are enumerated in Part IV of the Constitution from
Articles 36 to 511. The framers of the Constitution borrowed this idea from the Irish Constitution of 1937, which had copied it from the Spanish Constitution. Dr B R Ambedkar described these principles as ‘novel features’ of the Indian Constitution. The Directive Principles along with the Fundamental Rights contain the philosophy of the Constitution and is the soul of the Constitution.
FEATURES OF THE DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES
1. The phrase ‘Directive Principles of State Policy’ denotes the ideals that the State should keep in mind while formulating policies and enacting laws. These are the constitutional instructions or recommendations to the State in legislative, executive and administrative matters. According to Article 36, the term ‘State’ in Part IV has the same meaning as in Part III dealing with Fundamental Rights. Therefore, it includes the legislative and executive organs of the central and state governments, all local authorities and all other public authorities in the country.
2. The Directive Principles resemble the ‘Instrument of Instructions’ enumerated in the Government of India Act of 1935. In the words of Dr B R Ambedkar, ‘the Directive Principles are like the instrument of instructions, which were issued to the Governor-General and to the Governors of the colonies of India by the British Government under the Government of India Act of 1935. What is called Directive Principles is merely another name for the instrument of instructions. The only difference is that they are instructions to the legislature and the executive’.
3. The Directive Principles constitute a very comprehensive economic, social and political programme for a modern democratic State. They aim at realising the high ideals of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity as outlined in the Preamble to the Constitution. They embody the concept of a ‘welfare state’ and not that of a ‘police state’, which existed during the colonial era. In brief, they seek to establish economic and social democracy in the country.
4. The Directive Principles are non-justiciable in nature, that is, they are not legally enforceable by the courts for their violation. Therefore, the government (Central, state and local) cannot be compelled to implement them. Nevertheless, the Constitution (Article 37) itself says that these 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.
5. The Directive Principles, though non-justiciable in nature, help the courts in examining and determining the constitutional validity of a law. The Supreme Court has ruled many a times that in determining the constitutionality of any law, if a court finds that the law in question seeks to give effect to a Directive Principle, it may consider such law to be ‘reasonable’ in relation to Article 14 (equality before law) or Article 19 (six freedoms) and thus save such law from unconstitutionality.
CLASSIFICATION OF THE DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES
The Constitution does not contain any classification of Directive Principles. However, on the basis of their content and direction, they can be classified into three broad categories, viz, socialistic, Gandhian and liberal–intellectual.
These principles reflect the ideology of socialism. They lay down the framework of a democratic socialist state, aim at providing social and economic justice, and set the path towards welfare state.
They direct the state:
1. To promote the welfare of the people by securing a social order permeated by justice— social, economic and political—and to minimise inequalities in income, status, facilities and
opportunities4 (Article 38).
2. To secure (a) the right to adequate means of livelihood for all citizens; (b) the equitable distribution of material resources of the community for the common good; (c) prevention of concentration of wealth and means of production; (d) equal pay for equal work for men and women; (e) preservation of the health and strength of workers and children against forcible abuse; and (f) opportunities for healthy development of children5 (Article 39).
3. To promote equal justice and to provide free legal aid to the poor6 (Article 39 A).
4. To secure the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement (Article 41).
5. To make provision for just and humane conditions for work and maternity relief (Article 42).
6. To secure a living wage7, a decent standard of life and social and cultural opportunities for all workers (Article 43).
7. To take steps to secure the participation of workers in the management of industries 8 (Article 43 A).
8. To raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living of people and to improve 11
These principles are based on Gandhian ideology. They represent the programme of reconstruction enunciated by Gandhi during the national movement. In order to fulfil the dreams of Gandhi, some of his ideas were included as Directive Principles. They require the State:
1. To organise village panchayats and endow them with necessary powers and authority to enable them to function as units of self-government (Article 40).
2. To promote cottage industries on an individual or co-operation basis in rural areas (Article 43).
3. To promote voluntary formation, autonomous functioning, democratic control and professional management of co-operative societies8a (Article 43B).
4. To promote the educational and economic interests of SCs, STs, and other weaker sections of the society and to protect them from social injustice and exploitation (Article 46).
5. To prohibit the consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs which are injurious to health (Article 47).
6. To prohibit the slaughter of cows, calves and other milch and draught cattle and to improve their breeds (Article 48).
The principles included in this category repre-sent the ideology of liberalism. They direct the state:
1. To secure for all citizens a uniform civil code throughout the country (Article 44).
2. To provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years9 (Article 45).
3. To organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines (Article 48).
4. To protect and improve the environment and to safeguard forests and wild life10 (Article 48 A).
5. To protect monuments, places and objects of artistic or historic interest which are declared to be of national importance (Article 49).
6. To separate the judiciary from the executive in the public services of the State (Article 50).
7. To promote international peace and security and maintain just and honourable relations between nations; to foster respect for international law and treaty obligations, and to encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration (Article 51).
NEW DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES
The 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 added four new Directive Principles to the original list. They require the State:
1. To secure opportunities for healthy development of children (Article 39).
2. To promote equal justice and to provide free legal aid to the poor (Article 39 A).
3. To take steps to secure the participation of workers in the management of industries (Article 43 A).
4. To protect and improve the environment and to safeguard forests and wild life (Article 48 A).
The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 added one more Directive Principle, which requires the State to minimise inequalities in income, status, facilities and opportunities (Article 38).
Again, the 86th Amendment Act of 2002 changed the subject-matter of Article 45 and made elementary education a fundamental right under Article 21 A. The amended directive requires the State to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years.
The 97th Amendment Act of 2011 added a new Directive Principle relating to co-operative societies.
It requires the state to promote voluntary formation, autonomous functioning, democratic control and professional management of co-operative societies (Article 43B).
SANCTION BEHIND DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES
Though the Directive Principles are non-justiciable, the Constitution (Article 37) make it clear that ‘these 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’. Thus, they impose a moral obligation on the state authorities for their application, but the real force behind them is political, that is, public opinion.
The framers of the Constitution made the Directive Principles non-justiciable and legally non-enforceable because:
1. The country did not possess sufficient financial resources to implement them.
2. The presence of vast diversity and backwardness in the country would stand in the way of their implementation.
3. The newly born independent Indian State with its many preoccupations might be crushed under the burden unless it was free to decide the order, the time, the place and the mode of fulfill
The Directive Principles of State Policy are enumerated in Part IV of the Constitution from