Directive Principles Of State Policy (DPSPs) In The Indian Constitution

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Index

  1. Introduction 
  2. Directive Principles Of State Policy (DPSPs) In The Indian Constitution
  3. Examples Of Implementing Directive Principles
  4. The Importance Of Directive Principles Of State Policy (DPSPs)
  5. Can Courts Issue A Writ Of Mandamus For Non-Compliance With DPSPs
  6. Differences Between Fundamental Rights And Directive Principles Of State Policy
  7. New Directive Principles Added By The 42nd Amendment Act Of 1976
  8. Impact Of Directive Principles On Indian Laws
  9. Conclusion 

Introduction 

Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) are guidelines in the Indian Constitution that obligate the State to act in the citizens’ best interests. These principles provide constitutional recommendations for legislative, executive, and administrative actions. Similar to the ‘Instrument of Instructions’ in the Government of India Act, 1935, DPSPs offer a detailed list of economic, social, and political goals for a modern democratic state. They aim to promote the concept of a welfare state that ensures social, political, and economic democracy. 

Directive Principles Of State Policy (DPSPs) In The Indian Constitution

  1. Article 36: Defines “State” as the same as in Article 12, unless the context specifies otherwise.
  2. Article 37: States that the principles in this part are fundamental to the governance of the country.
  3. Article 38: Mandates the state to ensure a social order that promotes the welfare of the people.
  4. Article 39: Lists certain policy principles the state should follow.
  5. Article 39A: Ensures equal justice and free legal aid.
  6. Article 40: Encourages the organization of village panchayats.
  7. Article 41: Grants the right to work, education, and public assistance in specific cases.
  8. Article 42: Provides for just and humane working conditions and maternity leave.
  9. Article 43: Advocates for a living wage and decent working conditions for workers.
  10. Article 43-A: Promotes workers’ participation in industrial management.
  11. Article 43-B: Encourages the promotion of cooperative societies.
  12. Article 44: Calls for a uniform civil code for all citizens.
  13. Article 45: Provides for early childhood care and education for children under six years.
  14. Article 46: Promotes education and economic interests of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and other weaker sections.
  15. Article 47: Obligates the state to raise the level of nutrition and standard of living and improve public health.
  16. Article 48: Focuses on the organization of agriculture and animal husbandry.
  17. Article 48-A: Ensures the protection and improvement of the environment, including forests and wildlife.
  18. Article 49: Protects monuments and places of national importance.
  19. Article 50: Ensures the separation of the judiciary from the executive.
  20. Article 51: Promotes international peace and security.
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Examples Of Implementing Directive Principles

The Right to Education Act, 2009, exemplifies how DPSPs are implemented to provide free and compulsory education for children aged six to fourteen. Before this act, Articles 45 and 39(f) of the DPSPs called for state-funded, equitable, and accessible education. The 86th Constitutional Amendment in 2002 made education a fundamental right under Article 21A.

The Mid-day Meal Scheme, which aims to improve nutrition, is an example of implementing Article 47 of the DPSPs. Similarly, welfare programs like MGNREGA reflect the principles of Article 41, which provides for the right to work.

The Importance Of Directive Principles Of State Policy (DPSPs)

Many scholars consider the DPSPs as the core of the Constitution. These principles guide the state and reflect the objectives in the Preamble.

The goal of achieving social, economic, and political justice is pursued through DPSPs. They are included to realize the ideals of the Preamble which is Justice, Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. Additionally, DPSPs promote the concept of a welfare state, which was absent during colonial rule in India.

Citizens can use DPSPs to evaluate government performance and identify areas needing improvement. Knowing these provisions allows people to judge the laws that govern them and prevents the state from enacting oppressive laws.

 

Can Courts Issue A Writ Of Mandamus For Non-Compliance with DPSPs

No, the Supreme Court or High Court cannot issue a writ of mandamus to the government for not following the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSPs). Mandamus, meaning “to command,” is a writ issued to compel a person or authority to fulfill their legal duty.

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The writ of mandamus is issued when someone files a petition or when the court acts on its own (suo moto). According to constitutional principles, courts cannot issue this writ for non-compliance with DPSPs since they serve as a moral, not legal, obligation for the state. However, the court can take suo moto action if the issue significantly impacts public interest.

While Fundamental Rights are legally enforceable obligations of the state, DPSPs are moral guidelines. Article 38 outlines the broad ideals the state should aim for. Some DPSPs have become enforceable laws and have expanded the scope of Fundamental Rights.

Additionally, individuals cannot sue the state or central government for not following the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSPs). Article 37 clarifies that the provisions in this Part are not enforceable by any court. However, it also states that these principles are essential for governing the country and must guide the state in making laws.

Differences Between Fundamental Rights And Directive Principles Of State Policy

  1. Fundamental Rights impose limitations on the government’s actions towards individuals, whereas Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSPs) provide guidelines for the government to achieve certain objectives through its actions.
  2. DPSPs cannot be violated by individuals or the State unless there is a specific law addressing them, while violations of an individual’s Fundamental Rights have strict legal remedies.
  3. Courts cannot declare a law void solely on the basis of it being contrary to DPSPs, unlike the case with laws violating Fundamental Rights.

New Directive Principles Added By The 42nd Amendment Act Of 1976

The 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 introduced four new Directive Principles to the original list, requiring the state to:

  1. Add a clause to Article 39: Ensure opportunities for the healthy development of children.
  2. Add Article 39A: Promote equal justice and provide free legal aid to the poor.
  3. Add Article 43A: Take steps to secure workers’ participation in the management of industries.
  4. Add Article 48A: Protect and improve the environment and safeguard forests and wildlife.
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Impact Of Directive Principles On Indian Laws

While the direct implementation of the principles in Part IV of the Indian Constitution might not always be evident, numerous laws and government policies reflect their influence. The judiciary has often used these Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSPs) to shape laws and legal decisions.

For example, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) aligns with Article 39(a), which ensures the right to adequate means of livelihood. The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, supports Article 39(g), focused on protecting children. 

Laws prohibiting the slaughter of cows and bullocks derive their authority from Article 48, related to agriculture and animal husbandry. Additionally, laws like the Workmen Compensation Act, Minimum Wages Act, Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, Factories Act, and Maternity Benefit Act reflect the principles of Articles 41, 42, and 43A, which deal with workers’ rights and social welfare.

 

Conclusion 

The Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSPs) in the Indian Constitution serve as crucial guidelines for the government to create a just society. Through various legislative and policy measures, these principles have been implemented to improve social and economic conditions, such as land reforms, labor rights, and education. Despite their non-justiciable nature, which means courts cannot issue a writ of mandamus for their enforcement, DPSPs play a vital role in shaping laws and governance. Unlike Fundamental Rights, which are enforceable by the courts, DPSPs provide a moral and political framework for creating an equitable society. The 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 further strengthened these principles by adding new directives to promote environmental protection and equitable access to resources. Overall, DPSPs have significantly influenced Indian laws, underscoring the government’s commitment to social welfare and economic democracy.

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