Directive Principles of the State Policy

Directive Principles of the State Policy

Part IV of the Indian Constitution, deals with the Directive Principles of State Policy. The Directive Principles of State Policy are stated under Articles 36 to 51 of Indian constitution.  Article 36 and 37 contain definition and application of the Principles.
The idea of directives being included in the constitution was borrowed from the constitution of Ireland. As the very term “Directives” indicate, the Directive principles are broad directives given to the state in accordance with which the legislative and executive powers of the state are to be exercised.
The Directive Principles are some principles which give a direction in the making certain decisions. These are guidelines by the constitution of India to the state. State is defined by Article 12. State includes the Government and Parliament of India and the Government and the Legislature of each of the states and all local or other authorities within the territory of India or under the control of Government of India.
As Nehru observed, the governments will ignore the directives “Only at their own peril.” As India seeks to secure an egalitarian society, the founding fathers were not satisfied with only political justice. They sought to combine political justice with economic and social justice.
The Directive Principles may be classified into three broad categories—
  1. Socialistic
  2. Gandhian
  3. Liberal-intellectual
Socialistic Directives
  • Article 38- Securing welfare of the people
  • Article 39- Securing proper distribution of material resources of the community as to best sub serve the common-good, equal pay for equal work, protection of childhood and youth against exploitation etc
  • Article 41- Curing right to work, education etc
  • Article 42- Securing just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief etc
Gandhian Directives
  • Article 40- To organize village Panchayats
  • Article 43- To secure living wage, decent standard of life, and to promote cottage industries
  • Article 45- To provide free and compulsory education to all children up to 14 years of age
  • Article 46 to 48- To promote economic and educational interests of the weaker sections of the people, particularly, the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, to enforce prohibition of intoxicating drinks and cow-slaughter and to organize agriculture and animal husbandry on scientific lines.
Liberal Intellectual Directives
  • Article 49- To secure uniform civil code throughout the country
  • Article 50- To separate the judiciary from the executive
  • Article 51- To protect monuments of historic and national importance and to promote international peace and security.
Part IV contains a formidable list of directives given to the executive and the legislatures to follow in issuing orders or making laws. The directives are non-justiciable in character. The courts cannot compel the governments to enforce the directives. The government cannot totally ignore them, for fear of adverse popular reaction. The opposition inevitably takes the government to task whenever the directives are blatantly ignored, thus scoring a political point.
Ambedkar considered them as powerful instruments for the transformation of India from a political democracy into an economic democracy. The directive principles according to Granville Austin, are “positive obligations”… to find a piddle way between individual liberty and Public good.


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