Directive Principles


“The Directive Principles, as stated above, have been classified differently by different scholars. Some classify them into socialist, Gandhian and liberal principles while others, like D.D. Basu arrange them into categories such as (i) nature of ideals of the State, (ii) shaping the policy of the States, (iii) non-justiciable rights of the citizens, bringing articles 38(1), 38(2), 39 (b), 43, 47 and (c), 51 under category (i); articles 40, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 48A, 49 and 50 under category (ii) and articles 39 (a) (d), (f), 39A, 41, 42, 43, 43 A and 45 under category (iii) Dr. J.N. Pandey (Constitutional Law of India) classifies the directive principles of state policy into groups such as

(a) social and economic charter, (b) social security charter, (c) community welfare charter.

In the group on Social and Economic Charter, Articles 38 and 39 have been included. Article 38 is basically nothing but is reaffirmation of what has been said in the Preamble: the State is required to secure for all its citizens justice —social, economic and political. “The 44th amendment (1978) inserted a new directive which strengthened the social justice cause of Article 38, i.e., minimising inequalities in income and eliminating inequalities of status, facilities, and opportunities in both the individuals and the groups.

“The emphasis of Article 38 is on ‘social justice’ whose meaning has been explained in Air India Statutory Corporation v. United Labour Union—1997 which meaning includes diverse principles essential for orderly growth and development of personality of every citizen: the attainment of a substantial degree of social, economic and political equality.

Article 39 outlines the principles to be followed by the State for securing justice as stated in Article 38: these principles include that adequate means of livelihood are to be equally provided to all—both men and women; material resources are to be used for the common good; concentration of wealth and means of production are not be held in few hands; equal pay for equal work for both men and women is to be ensured; health and strength of the workers, and children have to be protected, especially the development of children and youth has to be taken care of, and in doing all the above, the constructive role of the State has to be emphasised (42nd amendment – 1976.

“That was why the Supreme Court, in M.C. Mehta v. State of Tamil Nadu—1991 (also known as Child Labour Abolition case) held the view that the children below the age of 14 years should not be allowed to work in (for example, match factories) hazardous enterprises. “The Parliament’s law—the Equal Remuneration Act—1976—was passed to give effect to equal pay for equal work—the principle enshrined in Article 39(d).

In the group on Social Security Charter, the directive principles included are

(a) equal justice and free legal aid to economically backward classes (Article 39 A)—the notable case with regard to free legal aid is H.M. Hoskot v. State of Maharashtra — 1978;

(b) right to work, education and public assistance in cases such as unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement (Article 41);

(c) living wages for workers of all types—agricultural, industrial or otherwise (Article 43—living wages amount to wages necessary for food, shelter, and clothing, education for children insurance etc;

(d) participation of workers in management of industries (Article 43 A);

(e) provision for early childhood care and education to children below the age of six years (Article 45) as also education to children up to 14 years of age (86th amendment,—2002: see Unni Krishnan v. State of Andhra Pradesh—1993);

(f) promotion of educational and economic interests of weaker sections, especially the Scheduled Castes and the Schedule Tribes (Article46);

(g) duty to raise the standard of living and improvement of health (Article 47).

In the group on Community Welfare Charter, the directive principles included are:

(a) organisation of village panchayats (Article 40) so as to make the local bodies as self-governing institutions: 73rd and 74th amendments 1993 implementing the directive principle (under Article 40);

(b) formation of cooperative societies—Article 43 B; uniform civil code (Article 44) the courts, especially the Supreme Court, as in John Vallamatton v. Union of India—2003, have urged the state to give effect to common civil code;

(c) organisation of agriculture and animal husbandry, preserving, in the process, the breeds and prohibiting the slaughter of cows and calves and other ____ and draught cattle (Article 48);

(d) protection and improvement of forests and wildlife (Article 48 A, see M.C. Mehta v. Union of India—1988); the protection of monuments and places and objects of national importance (Article 49);

(e) separation of judiciary from executive (Article 50); and

(f) promotion of international peace and security—just and honorable relations between nations, respect for international law, settlement through peaceful means, peaceful co-existence (Article 51).


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