Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP)
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Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP)

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The concept of Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) in India traces its origins to the Spanish and Irish constitutions. In India, DPSP is enshrined in Part IV (Article 36–51) of the Constitution. It provides a set of principles that guide the State in formulating policies and enacting laws. The objective of DPSP is to ensure socioeconomic justice and establish India as a Welfare State.

While Fundamental Rights (FRs) impose limitations on the State, DPSP presents ideals that the State should follow. Unlike FRs, DPSP is not enforceable by law and is non-justiciable. However, DPSP and FRs are complementary and go hand in hand. They serve as pillars for a just and equitable society.

The Directive Principles are classified into three categories based on their ideological source and objectives: Socialist Principles, Gandhian Principles, and Liberal-Intellectual Principles. Each category reflects specific ideals that the State should strive to achieve.

Directives based on Socialist Principles

Article 38: Ensuring Social, Economic, and Political Justice

Article 38 of the Indian Constitution emphasizes the State's responsibility to promote the welfare of the people and minimize inequalities. It aims to achieve social, economic, and political justice by ensuring equal opportunities, income distribution, and access to resources.

Articles 39: Promoting Welfare and Equality

Articles 39 of the Constitution directs the State to secure adequate means of livelihood, organize material resources for the common good, prevent concentration of wealth, provide equal pay for equal work, protect workers' strength and health, and prevent the exploitation of children and youth.

Article 41: Right to Work, Education, and Public Assistance

Article 41 focuses on securing the right to work, education, and public assistance for citizens. It emphasizes the State's responsibility to provide employment opportunities, education, and assistance during unemployment, old age, sickness, and disability.

Article 42: Just and Humane Conditions of Work

Under Article 42, the State is obligated to ensure just and humane conditions of work. It encompasses provisions for fair wages, maternity relief, and safe working conditions.

Article 43: Living Wage and Decent Standard of Life

Article 43 emphasizes the State's duty to secure a living wage and a decent standard of life for all workers. It aims to uplift the socioeconomic status of workers and improve their quality of life.

Article 43A: Participation of Workers in Management

Article 43A highlights the importance of workers' participation in the management of industries. It aims to promote industrial democracy and empower workers by involving them in decision-making processes.

Article 47: Raising Nutrition and Public Health Standards

Article 47 focuses on improving public health and raising the level of nutrition among the population. It emphasizes the State's responsibility to provide access to nutritious food and healthcare facilities.

Directives based on Gandhian Principles

Article 40: Organizing Village Panchayats

Article 40 emphasizes the State's duty to organize village panchayats as units of self-government. It aims to promote local governance and empower communities at the grassroots level.

Article 43: Promoting Cottage Industries

Article 43 directs the State to promote cottage industries in rural areas. It aims to encourage individual or cooperative-based cottage industries as a means of rural development and employment generation.

Article 43B: Encouraging Cooperative Societies

Article 43B highlights the importance of promoting voluntary formation, autonomous functioning, democratic control, and professional management of cooperative societies. It aims to encourage cooperative movements and their contribution to socioeconomic development.

Article 46: Promoting Weaker Sections' Interests

Article 46 focuses on promoting the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of society, including Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), and other marginalized communities. It aims to bridge the socioeconomic gap and ensure equal opportunities for all.

Article 48: Protection of Cows and Animal Breeds

Article 48 emphasizes the State's responsibility to protect cows, calves, and other milch and draught cattle. It aims to improve animal husbandry practices and conserve indigenous breeds.

Directives based on Liberal-Intellectual Principles

Article 44: Uniform Civil Code

Article 44 advocates for the State's endeavor to secure a Uniform Civil Code throughout India. It aims to promote equality and social justice by harmonizing personal laws related to marriage, divorce, adoption, and inheritance.

Article 45: Early Childhood Care and Education

Article 45 highlights the State's duty to provide early childhood care and education for children until the age of six. It aims to ensure equal access to quality education, especially in the formative years.

Article 48A: Protecting the Environment

Article 48A emphasizes the State's responsibility to protect and improve the environment. It aims to safeguard forests, wildlife, and natural resources for the present and future generations.

Article 49: Preservation of Monuments and Places

Article 49 directs the State to protect and preserve monuments or places of artistic and historic interest. It aims to safeguard cultural heritage for the enrichment of society.

Article 50: Separation of Judiciary from Executive

Article 50 highlights the State's duty to separate the judiciary from the executive in the public services. It aims to ensure the independence and impartiality of the judicial system.

Article 51: Establishing International Peace and Security

Article 51 declares the State's commitment to establish international peace and security. It emphasizes maintaining just and honorable relations with other nations, respecting international law, and promoting peaceful dispute resolution.

Amendments in DPSP

42nd Constitutional Amendment, 1976

The 42nd Constitutional Amendment introduced changes to DPSP by adding new directives. It included provisions for free legal aid, participation of workers in management, and protection and improvement of the environment. Additionally, it eliminated the Right to Property from the list of Fundamental Rights.

44th Constitutional Amendment, 1978

The 44th Constitutional Amendment inserted Section-2 to Article 38, declaring the State's responsibility to minimize economic inequalities and eliminate inequalities in status, facilities, and opportunities. It also reaffirmed the Parliament's power to amend any part of the Constitution.

86th Amendment Act, 2002

The 86th Amendment Act changed the subject-matter of Article 45 and made elementary education a fundamental right under Article 21A. This amendment aimed to ensure access to education for all children between the ages of six and fourteen.

Conflicts Between Fundamental Rights and DPSP: Associated Cases

The interpretation of conflicts between Fundamental Rights and DPSP has been a subject of legal scrutiny. Several landmark cases have shaped the understanding of their relationship.

Champakam Dorairajan v the State of Madras (1951)

In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that Fundamental Rights would prevail in case of conflicts with DPSP. The court stated that DPSP must conform to and run as subsidiary to Fundamental Rights. It also held that the Parliament could amend Fundamental Rights through 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 the implementation of DPSP. This decision contradicted the court's previous judgment in the Shankari Parsad case.

Kesavananda Bharati v the State of Kerala (1973)

In this landmark case, the Supreme Court overruled its Golaknath verdict and held that Parliament could amend any part of the Constitution but not alter its "Basic Structure." This decision reaffirmed the supremacy of the Constitution while allowing amendments within its framework.

Minerva Mills v the Union of India (1980)

In this case, the Supreme Court reiterated that Parliament could amend any part of the Constitution but could not change its "Basic Structure." The judgment emphasized the importance of preserving the core values and principles enshrined in the Constitution.

Implementation of DPSP: Associated Acts and Amendments

The implementation of DPSP has been facilitated through various acts and amendments aimed at translating the principles into tangible outcomes.

Land Reforms

To address agrarian inequalities and improve the conditions of the rural masses, most states have enacted land reform laws. These laws include the abolition of intermediaries, tenancy reforms, imposition of landholding ceilings, distribution of surplus land, and promotion of cooperative farming.

Labour Reforms

To protect the interests of workers, several acts have been enacted, including the Minimum Wages Act, Contract Labour Regulation and Abolition Act, Child and Adolescent Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act, and Bonded Labour System Abolition Act. These acts ensure fair wages, safe working conditions, and protection against exploitation.

Panchayati Raj System

The 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992, introduced the three-tier Panchayati Raj system at the village, block, and district levels. This initiative aims to promote local self-government, empower rural communities, and foster participatory democracy.

Cottage Industries

To promote cottage industries, various boards and commissions have been established, such as the Khadi and Village Industries Commission, All India Handicraft Board, Silk Board, and Coir Board. These bodies provide financial and marketing support to individuals and cooperatives engaged in cottage industries.


The State has implemented provisions related to free and compulsory education, as mentioned in Article 45. The 86th Constitutional Amendment Act and the Rights to Education Act, 2009, have made elementary education a fundamental right for children between the ages of six and fourteen.

Rural Area Development

Programs like the Community Development Programme, Integrated Rural Development Programme, and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) have been launched to raise the standard of living in rural areas. These initiatives focus on providing employment opportunities, infrastructure development, and poverty alleviation.


The Central Government has sponsored schemes like Pradhan Mantri Gram Swasthya Yojana (PMGSY) and National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) to fulfill the State's social sector responsibility. These programs aim to improve access to healthcare services and promote public health.


To protect the environment, several acts have been enacted, such as the Wildlife (Protection) Act, Forest (Conservation) Act, and Environment (Protection) Act. These laws aim to safeguard wildlife, forests, and natural resources, while the Water and Air Pollution Control Acts address pollution issues.

Heritage Preservation

The Ancient and Historical Monument and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958, has been enacted to protect monuments, places, and objects of artistic and historic interest. This legislation aims to preserve cultural heritage and promote tourism.

Legal Insights on DPSP

The Directive Principles of State Policy provide a roadmap for the State to achieve socioeconomic justice and establish a welfare society. While they are non-justiciable and not enforceable by law, they guide policymakers in formulating inclusive policies. The courts have played a crucial role in interpreting conflicts between Fundamental Rights and DPSP, ensuring a balance between individual rights and the collective welfare of society.

DPSP reflects the aspirations of the Indian Constitution to promote social, economic, and political justice. The principles are aimed at achieving a just and equitable society by minimizing inequalities, empowering marginalized sections, promoting sustainable development, and preserving cultural heritage. The implementation of DPSP requires a combination of legislative measures, policy interventions, and active citizen participation. By striving to fulfill the ideals of DPSP, India can move closer to its vision of a progressive and inclusive nation.

For the latest updates on legal matters, visit Legalstix Law School and stay informed.

Note: This article is a comprehensive guide to DPSP and does not constitute legal advice. Consult legal professionals for specific legal matters.

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