Directive Principles of State Policy are contained in Part IV of the Constitution from Articles 36 to 51 (also freely subscribe to our YouTube Education channel with about 100 free videos on UPSC IAS and other competitive examinations):
Directive Principles of State Policy – Introduction
- Directive Principles of State Policy are contained in Part IV of the Constitution from Articles 36 to 51.
- The idea to have such directive principles in the Constitution has been borrowed from the Irish Constitution of 1937.
- Approximately till the 19th century, the state was known more as a laissez faire state, as per which the state was mainly concerned with defence of the country, maintenance of law & order, administration of justice, and collection of taxes, etc.
- However, such a restrictive concept of the state became obsolete in the 20th century.
- The state is now supposed to be a “welfare state” which seeks to promote the prosperity and well-being of the people.
- Directive principles of state policy are meant to implement the concept of a welfare state.
- Directive principles are supplemental to the fundamental rights.
- While the fundamental rights are mainly aimed at guaranteeing political democracy, the directive principles are designed to usher in social and economic democracy in the country.
- Preamble to the Constitution declares India to be a socialist, secular, democratic republic.
- Preamble further aims at securing Justice – social, economic and political.
- Directive principles are designed to secure these ideals mentioned in the Preamble, especially social and economic justice.
- Directive Principles and Fundamental Rights have together been described as the “Conscience of the Constitution”.
Main features of the Directive Principles
- Directive Principles of State Policy are 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 and administrative matters.
- Directive Principles constitute an 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 British rule.
- They seek to establish economic and social democracy in the country.
- Directive Principles are non-justiciable. This means that are not legally enforceable by the courts for their violation.
- The state cannot be compelled to implement them.
- However, Article 37 lays down that these directive 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, while not legally enforceable, the directive principles are moral commands to the state to implement them while making laws and framing policies.
- Directive Principles help the courts in examining and determining the constitutional validity of a law. 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 or Article 19 and thus save such law from unconstitutionality
Article 36 of the Constitution
- Definition. – In this Part, unless the context otherwise requires, “the State” has the same meaning as in Part III.
Article 12 of the Constitution:
- Definition. – In this Part, unless the context otherwise requires, “the 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 the Government of India.
Article 37 of the Constitution
- 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.
Brief points on Article 37:
- Directive principles are thus not legally enforceable.
- They are more akin to moral, rather than legal, principles.
- The basic idea is that the directive principles would serve for educational purposes or as guiding principles for the Government.
- It is expected that the persons in power would show respect to these principles in exercising power; they could be held accountable before the voters, if not before the court of law.
- In the Constituent Assembly, Dr. Ambedkar said that a party which failed to implement the directive principles would stand to lose in the next elections.
- The accountability to implement these principles was left to the political process.
- However, over a period of time, greater emphasis has been laid on implementing the ideals mentioned in the directive principles.
- Brief introduction to all directive principles.
- Conflict between fundamental rights and directive principles.
- Practical utility of directive principles.
- In practice, how directive principles have been implemented by making various laws and policies.
- Sanction for the directive principles.
- Criticism of directive principles.
Watch the YouTube video with full explanation:
This YouTube video is Part 1 of the video series on Directive Principles of State Policy laid down in the Constitution of India.
This video is useful for the aspirants of the UPSC Civil Services Examination (for IAS, IPS, IFS, and Group-A Central Services) for the General Studies, Paper 2, for Indian Polity. This lecture is also useful for those appearing for Judicial Service Examinations in India, as also for law students, and also for aspirants of other competitive examinations.
This video has been prepared by Dr. Ashok Dhamija, a former IPS.
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