Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP)- Concept and Features
The Constitution of India laid down certain Directive Principles of State Policy which are fundamental in the governance of the nation. It is the duty of each Indian State to apply these principles while making laws as these constitute a very comprehensive social, economic and political programme for a modern welfare state.
These principles emphasise that the State shall try to promote the welfare of people by providing them basic facilities like shelter, food and clothing.
Unlike Fundamental Rights, the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) are non-binding in nature which means they are not enforceable by the courts for their violation. They, however, impose a moral obligation on the state authorities for their implementation.
Features of Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP)
1. It denotes the ideals that the State should keep in mind while formulating policies and enacting laws.
2. It resembles the ‘Instrument of Instructions’ enumerated in the Government of India Act of 1935. In the words of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, 'the Directive Principles are like the instrument of instructions, which were issued to the Governor-General and to the Governors of the colonies of India by the British Government under the Government of India Act of 1935.'
What is called Directive Principles is merely another name for the instrument of instructions. The only difference is that they are instructions to the legislature and the executive.
3. It constitutes a very comprehensive economic, social and political programme for a modern democratic State which aimed 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’ that was absent during the colonial era.
4. They are non-justiciable in nature, which means that they are not legally enforceable by the courts for their violation.
5. Though non-justiciable in nature, the Directive Principles help the courts in examining and determining the constitutional validity of a law.
Classification of Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP)
The Constitution of India does not formally classify the Directive Principles of State Policy but for better understanding and on the basis of content and direction- they can be classified into three categories. These are as follows:
1- Socialistic Principles
2- Gandhian Principles
3- Liberal-Intellectual Principles
These principles contemplate the ideology of socialism and lay down the framework of a democratic socialist state. The concept envisages providing social and economic justice, so that state should achieve the optimum norms of the welfare state. They direct the state through the following articles:
1- Article 38: To promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may a social order in which justice, social, economic and political shall inform all the institutions of the national life.
2- Article 39: To Secure:
(a) Right to an adequate means of livelihood for all citizens
(b) Equitable distribution of material resources of the community for the common good
(c) Operation of an economic system to prevent the concentration of wealth and means of production
(d) Equal pay for equal work for both men and women
Preservation of the health and strength of workers and children against forcible abuse
(e) Opportunities for the healthy development of children.
3- Article 39 A: To promote equal justice and to provide free legal aid to the poor.
4- Article 41: To secure the right to work, right to education and right to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement.
5- Article 42: To make provision for just and humane conditions for work and maternity relief.
6- Article 43: To secure a living wage, a decent standard of living and social and cultural opportunities for all workers. The State shall promote cottage industries on an individual or co-operative basis in rural areas.
7- Article 43 A: To take steps to secure the participation of workers in the management of industries.
8- Article 47: Raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living of people and improve public health.
These principles reflect the programme of reconstruction enunciated by Gandhi during the national movement. In order to fulfil the dreams of Gandhi, some of his ideas were included in DPSP and they direct the state through the following articles:
1- Article 40: To organise village panchayats and endow them with necessary powers and authority to enable them to function as units of self-government.
2- Article 43: To promote cottage industries on an individual or co-operation basis in rural areas.
3- Article 43 B: To promote voluntary formation, autonomous functioning, democratic control and professional management of co-operative societies.
4- Article 46: To promote the educational and economic interests of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and other weaker sections of the society and to protect them from social injustice and exploitation.
5- Article 47: To prohibit the consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs which are injurious to health.
6- Article 48: To prohibit the slaughter of cows, calves and other milch and draught cattle and to improve their breeds.
These principles are inclined towards the ideology of liberalism and they direct the state through the following articles:
1- Article 44: To secure for all citizens a uniform civil code throughout the country.
2- Article 45: To provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years.
3- Article 48: To organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines.
4- Article 48 A: To protect and improve the environment and to safeguard forests and wildlife.
5- Article 49: To protect monuments, places and objects of artistic or historic interest which are declared to be of national importance.
6- Article 50: To separate the judiciary from the executive in the public services of the State.
7- Article 51: To promote international peace and security and maintain just and honourable relations between nations; to foster respect for international law and treaty obligations, and to encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration.
New Provisions of Directive Principles of State Policy after Amendment
Four new Directive Principles were added in the 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 to the original list. These are:
1. Added clause in Article 39: To secure opportunities for the healthy development of children.
2. Added clause in Article 39 as Article 39A: To promote equal justice and to provide free legal aid to the poor.
3. Added clause in Article 43 as Article 43 A: To take steps to secure the participation of workers in the management of industries.
4. Added clause in Article 48 as Article 48A: To protect and improve the environment and to safeguard forests and wildlife.
The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 added one more DPSP which requires the state to minimise inequalities in income, status, facilities and opportunities under Article 38.
The 86th Amendment Act of 2002 changed the subject matter of Article 45 and made elementary education a fundamental right under Article 21 A. The amended directive requires the State to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of fourteen years.
The 97th Amendment Act of 2011 added a new DPSP relating to cooperative societies. It envisages that the state promotes voluntary formation, autonomous functioning, democratic control and professional management of cooperative societies (Article 43B).
In nutshell, the Directive Principles of State Policy refers to those principles, which should be kept in mind by the State while formulating policies. They are non-justiciable, which means one cannot approach the court for its non-implementation but can be referred to by the Supreme Court while deciding whether a particular policy is unconstitutional or not.