CRITICISM OF THE DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES
1. No Legal Force
The Directives have been criticised mainly because of their non-justiciable character. While K T Shah dubbed them as ‘pious superfluities’ and compared them with ‘a cheque on a bank, payable only when the resources of the bank permit’, Nasiruddin contended that these principles are ‘no better than the new year’s resolutions, which are broken on the second of January’.
2. Illogically Arranged
Critics opine that the Directives are not arranged in a logical manner based on a consistent philosophy. According to N Srinivasan, ‘the Directives are neither properly classified nor logically arranged. The declaration mixes up relatively unimportant issues with the most vital economic and social questions. It combines rather incongruously the modern with the old and provisions suggested by the reason and science with provisions based purely on sentiment and prejudice’.
He opined that the Directives ‘are deemed to be suitable in India in the middle of the twentieth century. The question whether they are suitable for the twenty-first century cannot be answered; but it is quite probable that they will be entirely out moded.’
4. Constitutional Conflict
K Santhanam has pointed out that the Directives lead to a constitutional conflict (a) between the Centre and the states, (b) between the President and the Prime Minister, and (c) between the governorand the chief minister. According to him, the Centre can give directions to the states with regard to the implementation of these principles, and in case of non-compliance, can dismiss the state government.
Similarly, when the Prime Minister gets a bill (which violates the Directive Principles) passed by the Parliament, the president may reject the bill on the ground that these principles are fundamental to the governance of the country and hence, the ministry has no right to ignore them. The same constitutional conflict may occur between the governor and the chief minister at the state level.
UTILITY OF DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES
In spite of the above criticisms and shortcomings, the Directive Principles are not an unnecessary appendage to the Constitution. The Constitution itself declares that they are fundamental to the governance of the country. The Directive Principles, although confer no legal rights and creates no legal remedies, are significant and useful in the following ways:
1. They are like an ‘Instrument of Instructions’ or general recommendations addressed to all authorities in the Indian Union. They remind them of the basic principles of the new social and economic order, which the Constitution aims at building.
2. They have served as useful beacon-lights to the courts. They have helped the courts in exercising their power of judicial review, that is, the power to determine the constitutional validity of a law.
3. They form the dominating background to all State action, legislative or executive and also a guide to the courts in some respects.
4. They amplify the Preamble, which solemnly resolves to secure to all citizens of India justice, liberty, equality and fraternity.
The Directives also play the following roles:
1. They facilitate stability and continuity in domestic and foreign policies in political, economic and social spheres in spite of the changes of the party in power.
2. They are supplementary to the fundamental rights of the citizens. They are intended to fill in the vacuum in Part III by providing for social and economic rights.
3. Their implementation creates a favourable atmosphere for the full and proper enjoyment of the fundamental rights by the citizens. Political democracy, without economic democracy, has no meaning.
4. They enable the opposition to exercise influence and control over the operations of the government. The Opposition can blame the ruling party on the ground that its activities are opposed to the Directives.
5. They serve as a crucial test for the performance of the government. The people can examine the policies and programmes of the government in the light of these constitutional declarations.
6. They serve as common political manifesto. ‘A ruling party, irrespective of its political ideology, has to recognise the fact that these principles are intended to be its guide, philosopher and friend in its legislative and executive acts’.
IMPLEMENTATION OF DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES
Since 1950, the successive governments at the Centre and in the states have made several laws and formulated various programmes for implementing the Directive Principles. These are mentioned below:
1. The Planning Commission was established in 1950 to take up the development of the country in a planned manner. The successive Five Year Plans aimed at securing socio-economic justice and reducing inequalities of income, status and opportunities.
2. Almost all the states have passed land reform laws to bring changes in the agrarian society and to improve the conditions of the rural masses. These measures include (a) abolition ofintermediaries like zamindars, jagirdars, inamdars, etc; (b) tenancy reforms like security of tenure, fair rents, etc; (c) imposition of ceilings on land holdings; (d) distribution of surplus land among the landless labourers; and (e) cooperative farming.
3. The Minimum Wages Act (1948), the Payment of Wages Act (1936), the Payment of Bonus Act (1965), the Contract Labour Regulation and Abolition Act (1970), the Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act (1986), the Bonded Labour System Abolition Act (1976), the
Trade Unions Act (1926), the Factories Act (1948), the Mines Act (1952), the Industrial Disputes Act (1947), the Workmen’s Compensation Act (1923) and so on have been enacted to protect the interests of the labour sections. In 2006, the government banned the child labour.
4. The Maternity Benefit Act (1961) and the Equal Remuneration Act (1976) have been made to protect the interests of women workers.
5. Various measures have been taken to utilise the financial resources for promoting the common good.These include nationalisation of life insurance (1956), the nationalisation of fourteen leading commercial banks (1969), nationalisation of general insurance (1971), abolition of Privy Purses (1971) and so on.
6. The Legal Services Authorities Act (1987) has established a nation-wide network to provide
free and competent legal aid to the poor and to organise lok adalats for promoting equal justice. Lok adalat is a statutory forum for conciliatory settlement of legal disputes. It has been given the status of a civil court. Its awards are enforceable, binding on the parties and final as no appeal lies before any court against them.
7. Khadi and Village Industries Board, Khadi and Village Industries Commission, Small-Scale
Industries Board, National Small Industries Corporation, Handloom Board, Handicrafts Board, Coir Board, Silk Board and so on have been set up for the development of cottage industries in rural areas.
8. The Community Development Programme (1952), Hill Area Development Programme (1960), Drought-Prone Area Programme (1973), Minimum Needs Programme (1974), IntegratedRural Development Programme (1978), Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (1989), Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (1999), Sampoorna Grameena Rozgar Yojana (2001), National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (2006) and so on have been launched for raising the standard of living of people.
9. The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, have beenenacted to safeguard the wildlife and the forests respectively. Further, the Water and Air Acts have provided for the establishment of the Central and State Pollution Control Boards, which are engaged in the protection and improvement of environment. The National Forest Policy(1988) aims at the protection, conservation and development of forests.
10. Agriculture has been modernised by providing improved agricultural inputs, seeds, fertilisers and irrigation facilities. Various steps have also been taken to organise animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines.
11. Three-tier panchayati raj system (at village, taluka and zila levels) has been introduced to translate into reality Gandhiji’s dream of every village being a republic. The 73rdAmendment Act (1992) has been enacted to provide constitutional status and protection to these panchayati raj institutions.
12. Seats are reserved for SCs, STs and other weaker sections in educational institutions, government services and representative bodies. The Untouchability (Offences) Act, 1955, which was renamed as the Protection of Civil Rights Act in 1976 and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, have been enacted to protect the SCs and STs from social injustice and exploitation. The 65th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1990 established the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to protect the interests of SCs and STs. The 89th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2003 bifurcated this combined commission into two separate bodies, namely, National Commission for Schedule Castes and National Commission for Schedule Tribes.
13. The Criminal Procedure Code (1973) separated the judiciary from the executive in the public services of the state. Prior to this separation, the district authorities like the collector, the sub-divisional officer, the tehsildar and so on used to exercise judicial powers along with the traditional executive powers. After the separation, the judicial powers were taken away from these executive authorities and vested in the hands of district judicial magistrates who work under the direct control of the state high court.
14. The Ancient and Historical Monument and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act (1951) has been enacted to protect the monuments, places and objects of national importance.
15. Primary health centres and hospitals have been established throughout the country to improve the public health. Also, special programmes have been launched to eradicate wide spread diseases like malaria, TB, leprosy, AIDS, cancer, filaria, kala-azar, guineaworm, yaws, Japanese encephalitis and so on.
16. Laws to prohibit the slaughter of cows, calves, and bullocks have been enacted in some states. 17. Some states have initiated the old age pension schemes for people above 65 years.
18. India has been following the policy of non-alignment and panchsheel to promote international peace and security. In spite of the above steps by the Central and state governments, the Directive Principles have not been implemented fully and effectively due to several reasons like inadequate financial resources, unfavourable socio-economic conditions, population explosion, strained Centre-state relations and so on.
DIRECTIVES OUTSIDE PART IV
Apart from the Directives included in Part IV, there are some other Directives contained in other Parts of the Constitution. They are:
1. Claims of SCs and STs to Services: 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 a State (Article 335 in Part XVI).
2. Instruction in mother tongue: It shall be the endeavour of every state and every local authority within the state to provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother-tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups (Article 350-A in Part XVII).
3. Development of the Hindi Language: It shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language and to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India (Article 351 in Part XVII). The above Directives are also non-justiciable in nature. However, they are also given equal importance and attention by the judiciary on the ground that all parts of the constitution must be read together.
CRITICISM OF THE DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES