Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) Part 4 of Indian Constitution

Article 36 to Article 51 classified as part 4 in the constitution of India, Which known as directive principles of state policy in short DPSP.

Borrowed from: The Irish Constitution of 1937 (Which had copied it from the Spanish Constitution)

Dr. B R Ambedkar described – “Novel Features of Indian Constitution” And “Instruments of Instructions”

Fundamental Rights(FR) + Directive Principles of State Policy(DPSP) = Soul Of Indian Constitution

Granville Austin described FR + DPSP as “Conscience of the Constitution”.

Part 4: Directive Principles of State Policy

Article 36Definition.
Article 37Application of the principles contained in this Part.
Article 38State to secure a social order for the promotion of welfare of the people.
Article 39Certain principles of policy to be followed by the State.
Article:39AEqual justice and free legal aid.
Article 40Organisation of village panchayats.
Article 41Right to work, to education and to public assistance in certain cases.
Article 42Provision for just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief.
Article 43Living wage, etc., for workers.
Article 43AParticipation of workers in management of industries.
Article 43BPromotion of co-operative societies.
Article 44Uniform civil code for the citizens.
Article 45Provision for early childhood care and education to children below the age of six years.
Article 46Promotion of educational and economic interests of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other weaker sections.
Article 47Duty of the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health
Article 48Organisation of agriculture and animal husbandry.
Article 48AProtection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forests and wild life.
Article 49Protection of monuments and places and objects of national importance.
Article 50Separation of judiciary from executive.
Article 51Promotion of international peace and security.

Features of the DPSP

(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 States in legislative, executive, and administrative matters.

Article 36: “the State” has the same meaning as in Part III dealing with FR. (Article 12)

Therefore, DPSP includes the legislative and executive organs of the central and state governments, all local authorities, and all other public authorities in the country.

(2) DPSP are like the instrument of instruction.

In past, DPSP was issued to the Governor-General and to the Governors of the colonies of Indian by the British Government under the Government of India Act of 1935.

(3) The Directive Principles constitute a very comprehensive economic, social, and political program for a modern democratic State.

They aim at realizing the high ideals of justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity as outlined in the Preamble to the Constitution.

They express 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, where political democracy was ensured in part 3 of the constitution as fundamental rights.

(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 forced to implement them.

Article 37: Application of the principles contained in this Part.—The provisions contained in this Part shall not be enforceable by any court, but the principles therein laid down are nevertheless 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 time 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 Directive Principles of State Policy

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,

  1. Socialistic
  2. Gandhian
  3. Liberal-intellectual

1. Socialist Principles

These principles reflect the ideology of socialism.

They lay down the framework of a democratic socialist state, aims at providing social and economic justice, and set the path towards a welfare state.

They direct the state to;

Article 38Promote the welfare of the people by securing a social order through justice—social, economic, and political—[added]and to minimize inequalities in income, status, facilities, and opportunities
Article 39Secure citizens:
(a) Right to adequate means of livelihood for all citizens
(b) 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
(f) Opportunities and facilities for the healthy development of Children and Youth
Article:39APromote equal justice and free legal aid to the poor
Article 41In cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, secure citizens:
1. Right to work
2. Right to education
3. Right to public assistance,
Article 42Make provision for just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief
Article 43Secure a living wage, a decent standard of living and social and cultural opportunities for all workers
Article:43ATake steps to secure the participation of workers in the management of industries
Article 47Duty of the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health

Gandhian Principles

These principles are based on Gandhian ideology.

They represent the program of reconstruction enunciated by Gandhi during the national movement In order to fulfill the dreams of Gandhi, some of his ideas were included as Directive Principles.

They direct the state to;

Article 40Organize village panchayats and endow them with necessary powers and authority to enable them to function as units of self-government
Article 43Promote cottage industries on an individual or co-operation basis in rural areas
Article:43BPromote voluntary formation, autonomous functioning, democratic control, and professional management of co-operative societies
Article 46Promote 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 47 Prohibit the consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs which are injurious to health
Article 48Prohibit the slaughter of cows, calves, and other milch and draught cattle and to improve their breeds

Liberal-Intellectual Principle

This principle included in this category reflect the ideology of liberalism. They direct the state to;

Article 44Secure for all citizens a uniform civil code throughout the country
Article:45Provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years
Article 48Organize agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines
Article:48AProtection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forests and wildlife
Article 49Protect monuments, places, and objects of artistic or historic interest which are declared to be of national importance
Article 50Separate the judiciary from the executive in the public services of the State
Article 511. Promote international peace and security and maintain just and honorable relations between nations
2. Foster respect for international law and treaty obligations
3. Encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration

Amendments or New DPSP’s

42th Amendment 1976Add provison in Article 39 + add new Article 39A, 43A, 48A
44th Amendment 1978Add provision in Article 38
86th Amendment 2002Change the subject matter of Article 45
97th Amendment 2011Add new Article 43B

Directive Principle Outside Part 4

Mainly Directive principles include in part 4 of the constitution but some directive principles contain in the other parts of the constitution also.


(1) In Part 16 Article 335:- 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.

(2) In Part 17 Article 350A:- Instruction in the mother tongue, It shall be the endeavor 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.

(3) In Part 17 Article 351:- 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.

The above three DPSP also has the same nature and applicability as in part 4 mention.

Criticism of Directive Principle of State Policy

  1. No legal Force:- The directives have been criticized mainly because of their non-justiciable nature.
  2. Illogically Arranged:- The directives are neither properly classified nor logically arranged in a consistent philosophical manner.
  3. Conservative:- The directive is based on the political philosophy of 19th century England. The question is Whether they are suitable for the 21st century?
  4. Constitutional Conflict:
  • Conflict with Fundamental Rights
  • Between the center and the states
  • Between the President and the Prime Minister
  • Between Governor and Chief Minister

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