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Directive Principles of State Policy- Whether legitimate or not?


G.N Joshy defines the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) as a comprehensive political, social, and economic programme for a modern democratic state. In other words, Part IV of the constitution lays down the aims and objectives to be taken up by the states in governing the country. It aims is to form a welfare state. It includes certain utopian ideals which the state should observe for the proper administration of law and order for the progress of the country. The directive principles of state policy were borrowed from the Constitution of Ireland. It is to be noted that Directive principles were found even in ancient India i.e., in Kautilya’s Arthasastra.

Objectives of Directive Principles of State Policy

The objective of the Directive Principles of State Policy is to create social and economic conditions under which the citizens can lead a good life. They also aim to establish social and economic democracy through the welfare state. Though the Directive Principles of State Policy are non-justiciable rights of the people, fundamental in the governance of the country, it shall be the duty of the state to apply these principles in making laws as per Article 37.

Besides, all executives’ agencies of union and states could also be guided by these principles. Even the judiciary has to keep them in mind in deciding cases. As per Article 37, state and union government as a duty shall make further detailed policies and laws for implementation considering Directive Principles of State Policy as a fundamental policy.

Classification of Directive Principles of State Policy

  1. Social Order:(Based on Justice) As mentioned in the Preamble, the directive shall secure to all its citizens, social, economic, and political justice. The 44th Amendment provides for inequalities in all spheres of life enabling the state to have a national policy on wages and eliminating inequalities.

  2. Economic justice: The following principles should be secured by the states for economic justice.Equal rights of men and women to adequate means of livelihood, Prevention of concentration of wealth and detriment to means of production Equality in pay for equal work for both men and women, Protection of the health of workers and prevention of child labour, Prevention of exploitation of childhood and youth and their moral and material abandonment

  3. Free Legal aid and Equal justice to Economically Backward Classes: Justice and legal aid should not be denied to any citizen due to economic or other disabilities. This article was added to give legal aid to economically backward classes of people. The State should encourage and support the participation of voluntary organizations or groups in operating the legal aid programme.

  4. Social Security: The State should take steps to make the workers participate in the management of undertakings, establishment, or other organizations engaged in any industry. The state should ensure the people, employment, education, and public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness, and disablement. The state should make provisions for just human conditions and maternity relief The state should secure to all workers agricultural, industrial or otherwise, a living wage, enjoyment of leisure and social and cultural opportunities. In order to abolish illiteracy from our country, the state should provide free and compulsory education for all children until 14 years of age. The state should raise the level of nutrition and standard of living and health of people. The state should provide social privileges for Schedule castes and Schedule Tribes.

  5. Community welfare: The state should secure a uniform civil code for all the citizens throughout the country

Uniform civil code: Article 44 of the Constitution of India specifically speaks on Uniform civil code. The political party Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) propagates the implementation of a Uniform Civil code. The main object of the uniform civil code is to homogenize the personal laws of all religions. In other words, uniform laws on marriage, divorce, succession, inheritance, and maintenance of all religions

In the case of Mohammad Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum[1] popularly known as Shah Bano case, the then chief justice Y.V Chandrachud observed, “A common civil code will help the cause of national integration by removing disparate loyalties to law which have conflicting ideologies.”

Justice Kuldip Singh opined “where more than 80% of the citizens have already been brought under the codified personal law, there is no justification whatsoever to keep in abeyance, any more, the introduction of uniform civil code for all the citizens in the territory.”

Uniform Civil code should be a code, which is just proper and according to a man of ordinary prudence, without any bias regard to religious or political considerations.

Equal pay for equal work: Article 39(c) of the constitution aims to prevent the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few. One such principle is ‘Equal pay for equal work’ i.e., individuals who are doing an equal amount of work shall be entitled to equal remuneration. Equal pay includes salary, bonuses, allowances, and other benefits.

In the case of Randhir Singh V. Union of India,[2] the Supreme Court held that although equal pay for equal work is not regarded as a fundamental right it is a constitutional goal as per provisions of Article 14,16 and 39(c). The court also held that the principle equal pay for equal work can be enforced by courts in cases of unequal pay scales based on unreasonable classifications

In the case of the State of Haryana V. Rajpal Sharma,[3] the Supreme Court held that the teachers employed in private schools aided by the state government are entitled to equal remuneration as that the teachers working in government schools.

To give effect to Article 39(c), the Indian Parliament enacted the Equal Remuneration Act,1976 which provides for the payment of equal remuneration to men and women for the same work or work of similar nation and prevention of discrimination on the grounds of sex in the matter of employment.

Implementation of Directive Principles of State Policy

The Directive Principles of State Policy are guidelines in the Central and State governments of India to be kept in mind while framing laws and policies. However, these provisions contained in Part IV are not enforceable by any court. The State has made the following efforts to implement the Directive Principles of State Policy:

  1. The programme of universalization of elementary education and the five-year plans have given the highest priority to provide free education to all children up to the age of 14 years through Article 21-A.

  2. The Equal remuneration Act of 1976, provides for equal pay for equal work for both men and women.

  3. Several land reform acts were enacted to provide ownership rights to poor farmers. The thrust of banking policy in India has been to improve banking facilities in rural areas.

  4. Welfare schemes for the weaker sections are being implemented both by central and state governments. These include programmes such as boys’ and girls’ hostels for scheduled castes or scheduled tribes students, free textbooks to students belonging to scheduled castes or scheduled tribes pursuing medicine and engineering courses.

  5. The Minimum wages Act,1948 empowers the government to fix minimum wages for employees engaged in various employments.

  6. The Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojna was launched in 2001 to attain the objective of gainful employment for the rural poor.


It’s a sacrilege that the courts have favored towards Directive Principles of State Policy to break down Fundamental rights once for all. Justice Hedge observes that the court is in no way standing in implementing the Directive Principles of State Policy but when fundamental rights are infringed the court could remain silent. Justice Mukherjee has rightly observed that the Directive Principles of State Policy is conducive to the general interest of the public by which the fundamental rights could be overridden.


[1] 1985 AIR 945,1985 SCR(3) 844 Indian Kanoon

[2] AIR 1982 SC 879 Dr. J.N Pandey Constitutional law of India fifty-sixth edition Page 488

[3] AIR 1997 SC 449 Dr. J.N Pandey Constitutional law of India fifty-sixth edition Page 488

Karthik K.P

SASTRA Deemed University