Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) – Indian Constitution Basic Notes

Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) are those principles contained in Part IV of the Indian Constitution which is not enforceable by the courts.

The concept of Directive Principles of State Policy was borrowed from the Irish Constitution. While most of the Fundamental Rights are negative obligations on the state, DPSPs are positive obligations on the state, though not enforceable in a court of law.

The concept of DPSP emerged from Article 45 of the Irish Constitution.

DPSP vs Fundamental rights

Fundamental RightsDirective Principles of State Policy
Part 3 of the Constitution of India contains the Fundamental Rights guaranteed to the citizens of India. Articles 12-35 of the Constitution of India deal with Fundamental Rights.Directive Principles are written in Part 4 of the Constitution of India. They are given in Articles 36-51 of the Constitution of India.
The basic rights that are guaranteed to Indian citizens by the Constitution of India are known as Fundamental Rights Directive Principles of the Indian constitution are the guidelines to be followed by the Government while framing policies.
Political Democracy is established in India with the help of Fundamental Rights given in the Constitution of India.Economic and Social Democracy is established with the help of the Directive Principles of State Policy
The welfare of each and every citizen is promoted through the Fundamental RightsThe welfare of the entire community is fostered with the help of Directive Principles. 
As per the law, the violation of Fundamental Rights is punishable.Violation of Directive Principles is not a punishable crime unlike violation of Fundamental Rights
Fundamental Rights are justiciable as they can be enforced legally by the courts if there is a violation.Directive Principles are not justiciable as they cannot be enforced by the courts if there is a violation.
If there is a law that is in violation of fundamental rights then the courts can declare it invalid and unconstitutional.If there is a law in violation of Directive Principles, then the courts do not have the power to declare it as invalid and unconstitutional.
Fundamental Rights are sometimes considered as a kind of restriction imposed on the State.Directive Principles are directions for the Government in helping it to achieve some particular objectives.
Fundamental rights can be suspended during a national emergency. But, the rights guaranteed under Articles 20 and 21 cannot be suspended.Directive Principles of State Policy can never be suspended under any circumstances.
Fundamental Rights was borrowed from the Constitution of the United States of AmericaDirective Principles of State Policy was borrowed from the Constitution of Ireland which was in turn copied from the Constitution of Spain.

Article 36 of Indian Constitution

In this Part, unless the context otherwise requires, “the State” has the same meaning as in Part III.

Article 37 of Indian Constitution

Article 37 of the Indian Constitution States the application of the Directive Principles. These principles aim at ensuring socio-economic justice to the people and establishing India as a Welfare State.

Directives based on Socialist Principles

Article 38 of Indian Constitution

The State shall strive to promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting a social order by ensuring social, economic, and political justice and by minimizing inequalities in income, status, facilities, and opportunities

Article 39 of Indian Constitution

The State shall, in particular, direct its policies towards securing:

  • Right to an adequate means of livelihood to all the citizens.
  • The ownership and control of material resources shall be organised in a manner to serve the common good.
  • The State shall avoid concentration of wealth in a few hands.
  • Equal pay for equal work for both men and women.
  • The protection of the strength and health of the workers.
  • Childhood and youth shall not be exploited.

Article 41 of Indian Constitution

To secure the right to work, to education, and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness, and disability.

Article 42 of Indian Constitution

The State shall make provisions for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief.

Article 43 of Indian Constitution

The State shall endeavor to secure to all workers a living wage and a decent standard of life.

Article 43A of Indian Constitution

The State shall take steps to secure the participation of workers in the management of industries.

Article 47 of Indian Constitution

To raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living of people and to improve public health.

Directives based on Gandhian Principles

Article 40 of Indian Constitution

The State shall take steps to organize village panchayats as units of Self Government

Article 43 of Indian Constitution

The State shall endeavor to promote cottage industries on an individual or cooperative basis in rural areas.

Article 43B of Indian Constitution

To promote voluntary formation, autonomous functioning, democratic control, and professional management of cooperative societies.

Article 46 of Indian Constitution

The State shall promote the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, particularly that of the Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), and other weaker sections.

Article 47 of Indian Constitution

The State shall take steps to improve public health and prohibit the consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs that are injurious to health.

Article 48 of Indian Constitution

To prohibit the slaughter of cows, calves, and other milch and draught cattle and to improve their breeds.

Directives based on Liberal-Intellectual Principles

Article 44 of Indian Constitution

The State shall endeavor to secure for the citizen a Uniform Civil Code through the territory of India.

Article 45 of Indian Constitution

To provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years.

Article 48 of Indian Constitution

To organize agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines.

Article 48A of Indian Constitution

To protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country.

Article 49 of Indian Constitution

The State shall protect every monument or place of artistic or historic interest.

Article 50 of Indian Constitution

The State shall take steps to separate the judiciary from the executive in the public services of the State.

Article 51 of Indian Constitution

It declares that to establish international peace and security the State shall endeavor to:

  • Maintain just and honourable relations with the nations.
  • Foster respect for international law and treaty obligations.
  • Encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration.

Amendments in DPSP

42nd Constitutional Amendment, 1976: It introduced certain changes in the part-IV of the Constitution by adding new directives:

  • Article 39A: To provide free legal aid to the poor.
  • Article 43A: Participation of workers in management of Industries.K1M
  • Article 48A: To protect and improve the environment.

44th Constitutional Amendment, 1978: It inserted Section-2 to Article 38 which declares that; “The State, in particular, shall strive to minimize economic inequalities in income and eliminate inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities not amongst individuals but also amongst groups”.

  • It also eliminated the Right to Property from the list of Fundamental Rights.

86th Amendment Act of 2002: It changed the subject matter of Article 45 and made elementary education a fundamental right under Article 21 A.

Conflicts Between Fundamental Rights and DPSP: Associated Cases

Champakam Dorairajan v the State of Madras (1951): In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that in case of any conflict between the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles, the former would prevail.

  • It declared that the Directive Principles have to conform to and run as subsidiary to the Fundamental Rights.
  • It also held that the Fundamental Rights could be amended by the Parliament by enacting constitutional amendment acts.

Golaknath v the State of Punjab (1967): In this case, the Supreme Court declared that Fundamental Rights could not be amended by the Parliament even for implementation of Directive Principles.

  • It was contradictory to its own judgement in the ‘Shankari Parsad case’.

Kesavananda Bharati v the State of Kerala (1973): In this case, the Supreme Court overruled its Golak Nath (1967) verdict and declared that Parliament can amend any part of the Constitution but it cannot alter its “Basic Structure”.

  • Thus, the Right to Property (Article 31) was eliminated from the list of Fundamental Rights.

Minerva Mills v the Union of India (1980): In this case, the Supreme Court reiterated that Parliament can amend any part of the Constitution but it cannot change the “Basic Structure” of the Constitution.

Implementation of DPSP: Associated Acts and Amendments

Land Reforms: 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:

  • Abolition of intermediaries like zamindars, jagirdars, inamdars, etc
  • Tenancy reforms like security of tenure, fair rents, etc
  • Imposition of ceilings on land holdings
  • Distribution of surplus land among the landless labourers
  • Cooperative farming

Labour Reforms: The following acts were enacted to protect the interests of the Labour section of the society.

  • The Minimum Wages Act (1948), Code on Wages, 2020
  • The Contract Labour Regulation and Abolition Act (1970)
  • The Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act (1986). Renamed as the Child and Adolescent Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act, 1986 in 2016.
  • The Bonded Labour System Abolition Act (1976)
  • The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957
  • The Maternity Benefit Act (1961) and the Equal Remuneration Act (1976) have been made to protect the interests of women workers.

Panchayati Raj System: Through the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992, the government fulfilled the constitutional obligation stated in Article 40.

  • Three tier ‘Panchayati Raj System’ was introduced at the Village, Block and District level in almost all parts of the country.

Cottage Industries: To promote cottage industries as per Article 43, the government has established several Boards such as Village Industries Board, Khadi and Village Industries Commission, All India Handicraft Board, Silk Board, Coir Board, etc., which provide essential help to cottage industries in finance and marketing.

Education: Government has implemented provisions related to free and compulsory education as provided in Article 45.

  • Introduced by the 86th Constitutional Amendment and subsequently passed the Rights to Education Act 2009, Elementary Education has been accepted as Fundamental Right of each child between the 6 to 14 years of age.

Rural Area Development: Programmes such as the Community Development Programme (1952), Integrated Rural Development Programme (1978-79), and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA-2006) were launched to raise the standard of living particularly in rural areas, as stated in the Article 47 of the Constitution.

Health: Central Government sponsored schemes like Pradhan Mantri Gram Swasthya Yojana (PMGSY) and National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) are being implemented to fulfill the social sector responsibility of the Indian State.

Environment: The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, and the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 have been enacted to safeguard the wildlife and the forests respectively.

  • The Water and Air Pollution Control Acts have provided for the establishment of the Central Pollution Control Board.

Heritage Preservation: The Ancient and Historical Monument and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act (1958) has been enacted to protect the monuments, places, and objects of national importance.