Directive Principles of State Policy

  • The source of the concept of Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) is the Spanish Constitution from which it came in the Irish Constitution.
  • The concept of DPSP emerged from Article 45 of the Irish Constitution.

Object and Purpose behind DPSP:

The Preamble sounds the solemn resolve of the people of India, to secure to all its citizens justice-social, economic and political, liberty of thought expression, belief, faith and worship. It speaks to secure to all citizens equality of status and of opportunity, and to promote among them all fraternity, assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation. The intention of the Makers, therefore, was to establish in India a democracy-political, economic and social.

To achieve this cherished goal, the framers were unanimous to secure the people practically all the prevailing political, social and economic rights.

The rights were, broadly speaking, divided into two categories: (i) Political Civil Rights; and (ii) Social and Economic Rights. The former rights which were, in their opinion, within the reach of the individual was provisioned as Fundamental Rights and the latter being considered beyond individual’s reach under the prevailing circumstances, we titled as Directive Principles of State Policy. 

Dr. BR Ambedkar, explaining the object underlying the Directive: While we have established political democracy, it is also the desire that we should lay down our ideal economic democracy. We do not want merely to lay down a mechanism to enable people to come and capture power. The Constitution also wishes to lay down an ideal before those who would be forming the Government. That ideal is economic democracy, whereby, so far as I am concerned, I understand to mean one man one vote.

Mr. Justice Hegde explained that the Directive Principles proceeded on the basis of human rights. Representative democracies will have no meaning without economic and social justice to the common man. It is thus social and economic justice which is required to be achieved by the incorporation of the Directive Principles of State Policy.

Constitutional Provisions:

  • Part IV of the Constitution of India (Article 36–51) contains the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP).
  • Article 37 of the Indian Constitution States about the application of the Directive Principles.
  • These principles aim at ensuring socioeconomic justice to the people and establishing India as a Welfare State.

Fundamental Rights vs DPSP

  • Unlike the Fundamental Rights (FRs), the scope of DPSP is limitless and it protects the rights of a citizen and works at a macro level.
  • DPSP consists of all the ideals which the State should follow and keep in mind while formulating policies and enacting laws for the country.
  • Directive Principles are affirmative directions on the other hand, Fundamental Rights are negative or prohibitive in nature because they put limitations on the State.
  • The DPSP is not enforceable by law; it is non-justiciable.
  • It is important to note that DPSP and FR go hand in hand.
  • DPSP is not subordinate to FR.
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