Part IV of the Indian Constitution which deals with the Directive Principles of State Policy, is directly connected with the Preamble. The Preamble gives us the fundamental principles on which the Constitution has been founded and the Directive Principles of State Policy lay down the fundamental principles according to which the Constitution is to be operated. Though the Directive Principles are not enforceable in a Court, they are fundamental in the governance of the country and it is the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws. The provisions contained in this Part, shall not be enforceable by any court, but the principles the in laid down are nevertheless fundamental in the governance of the country and it shall be the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws.


Part IV (Articles 37 to 51) contains what may be described as the active obligations of the State. The State shall secure a social order in which social, economic and political justice shall inform all the institutions of national life. Wealth and its source of production shall not be concentrated in the hands of the few but shall be distributed so as to subserve the common good, and there shall be adequate means of livelihood for all and equal pay for equal work. The State shall endeavour to secure the health and strength of workers, the right to his right to education is subject to the limits of economic capacity and development of the State.


What are the different categories of DPSPs?

The Directive Principles covering Article 38 to 51 of the Indian Constitution can be classified in the following categories:

  • Socialistic Principles : (i) Adequate means of livelihood for all citizens; (ii) fair distribution of wealth and material resources among all classes and to prevent concentration of wealth in a few hands; (iii) equal pay for equal work for men as well as women; and (iv) to secure just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief.
  • Gandhian Principles : (i) To organise village panchayats and to endowing them with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them toe function as units of self-government; (ii) to promote cottage industries on individual or co-operative basis in rural areas; (iii) the safeguard and promote the educational and economic interests or the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes; (iv) to bring about the prohibition and consumption of intoxicating liquor; and (v) to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and in particular prohibit slaughter of cows.
  • Liberal Principles : (i) To secure uniform and liberal code of law for all citizens of India; (ii) to separate the judiciary from the executive; (iii) to raise the standard of nutrition and standard of living of the people; (iv) to protect monuments of historical and national interest; (v) equal justice and free legal aid to economically backward classes; (vi) participation of workers in management of organisations engaged in any industry; and (vii) promotion and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forests and wild life.
  • Provisions relating to be International Peace and Security : (i) To promote international peace and security ; and to maintain just and honourable relations between nations; (iii) to foster respect for international law and treaty obligations; (iv) to encourage settlement of disputes by arbitration.



It is now universally recognised that the difference between the fundamental rights and the directive principles lies in this that the fundamental rights are primarily aimed at assuring political freedom to the citizens by protecting them against excessive State action while the directive principles are aimed at securing social and economic freedom by appropriate action. The fundamental rights are intended to foster the ideal of a political democracy and to prevent the establishment of authoritarian rule but they are of no value unless they can be enforced by resort to courts, so they are made justiciable. However, notwithstanding their great importance the directive principles cannot in their nature of things be enforced in a court of law. It is unimaginable that any court can compel a legislature to make a law. If the court can compel Parliament to make laws then parliamentary democracy would soon be reduced to a oligarchy of judges. It is for this rea son that the Constitution says that the directive principles shall not be enforceable by courts. However, it does not mean that the directive principles are less important than the fundamental rights for the simple reason that they are not judicially enforceable. Article 37 of the Constitution emphatically states that directive principles are nevertheless fundamental in the governance of the country and it shall be the duty of the State to apply these principles in making principles in interpreting the Constitution and the laws. The directive principles thus be interpreted in he light of the directive principles and the latter should the Constitution must be ever present in the minds of the judges when interpreting statues which concern themselves directly or indirectly with matters set out in the directive principles. In Bandhaua Mukti Morcha v. Union of India52, the Court has also held that thought he directive principles are unenforceable by the courts and the courts cannot direct the legislature or executive to enforce them, the State to enforce the law, particularly when non-enforcement of law leads to denial of a fundamental right.

DPSPs explained

State to secure a social order for the promotion of welfare of the people: The State shall strive 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.

Certain principles of policy to be followed by the State: The State shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing –

  • that the citizens, men and women equally, have the right to an adequate means of livelihood.
  • that the ownership and control of the material resources of the community are so distributed as best to subserve the common good;
  • that the operation of the economic system does not result in the concentration of wealth and means of production to the common detriment;
  • that there is equal pay for equal work for both men and women;
  • that the health and strength of workers, men and women, and the tender age of children are not abused and that citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter vocations unsuited to their age or strength;
  • that children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and that childhood and youth are protected against exploitation and against moral and material abandonment.

This article specifically requires the State to ensure for its people adequate means of livelihood, fair distribution of wealth, equal pay for equal work and protection of children and labour. Article 39 (b) and (c) together with other provisions of the Constitution contain the main objectives, namely, the building of a welfare society and an equalitarian social order in the Indian Union. When the Constitution-makers envisaged development in social , economic and political fields, they did not desire that it should be a society where a citizen will have the dignity of the individual.

 Equal justice and free legal aid: The State shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice, on a basis of equal opportunity, and shall, in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in another way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities.

 Organisation of village panchayats: The State shall take steps to organise village panchayats and down them with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-government. Under this article, the State is expected to take steps to organize village panchayats and endow them with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-government. But, this directive is to be read with the directive contained in Article 50 which lays down the principle of separation of the executive from the judiciary. The organization of village panchayats must be carried out in practice consistently with Article 50 so as to maintain the fundamental principle of the rule of law. Power of the people, which is the soul of a republic, stands subverted if decentralization and devolution desiderated in Article 40 is ignored by the executive in action even after holding elections to the floor-level of administrative bodies.