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Directive Principles of State Policy

Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSPs) are a set of guidelines and principles enshrined in Part IV of the Indian Constitution, aimed at guiding the state in its policy-making and governance to achieve social justice and welfare. Unlike fundamental rights, which are justiciable and enforceable by law, DPSPs are non-justiciable and serve as moral and political directives for the government. They are inspired by the socio-economic philosophy of the Indian freedom struggle and are instrumental in shaping the socio-economic policies of the Indian state.

Article 37

Article 37 clarifies that DPSPs are not enforceable by any court, yet they are fundamental in the governance of the country. It is the duty of the state to apply these principles in making laws and policies.

Article 38

Article 38 of the Indian Constitution delineates the overarching objective of fostering a societal framework grounded in justice, encompassing social, economic, and political spheres. It endeavours to achieve equality of opportunity and the eradication of disparities in income, status, and access to facilities within the societal structure.

Article 39

Article 39 of the Indian Constitution delineates several principles, encompassing the following:

  1. It asserts the right to an adequate means of livelihood, ensuring that every citizen, irrespective of gender, possesses the entitlement to earn a livelihood.
  2. It emphasises the equitable distribution of material resources to forestall the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few.
  3. It advocates for equal pay for equal work, thereby prohibiting any discrimination in wages based on gender.
  4. This clause underscores the protection of workers and children, safeguarding their health, strength, and welfare and preventing their exploitation.
  5. It further accentuates the provision of opportunities for children, promoting their wholesome development and ensuring their access to education.
  6. It further underscores the protection of children against exploitation, striving to prioritise their freedom and dignity.

Article 39A

This article guarantees free legal aid for those unable to afford it, thereby ensuring a just legal system. This further provides for the making of relevant legislations and schemes to ensure that legal aid can be provided to those in need.

Article 40

This provision of the Indian Constitution advocates for the establishment of village panchayats, which serve as local self-government bodies aimed at fostering democratic engagement and driving development initiatives at the grassroots level.

Article 41

This principle of the Indian Constitution envisages the establishment of a welfare state, emphasising the government’s responsibility to ensure essential rights. These rights include:

  • The right to work, guaranteeing employment opportunities;
  • The right to education, ensuring access to quality education for all;
  • The right to public health, providing healthcare facilities regardless of employment status, age, sickness, or disablement; and
  • The right to an adequate standard of living, enabling individuals to lead dignified lives with their basic necessities met.

Article 42

This article strives to ensure equitable and compassionate working conditions for individuals. This includes provisions for fair wages, relief during maternity, and safeguards against any form of abuse in the workplace.

Article 43

The article strives to ensure fair wages and a decent standard of living for workers, enabling them to lead a dignified life.

Articles 43A and 43B

These articles delve further into empowering workers and economic development:

  • Article 43A: Encourages workers’ participation in management of industries, giving them a voice in decision-making.
  • Article 43B: Promotes the formation of cooperatives as instruments for economic and social betterment, allowing communities to collectively own and manage businesses.

Article 45

The article underscores the significance of early childhood care and education, prioritising the safeguarding of infants and children until they reach the age of six. It advocates for the provision of essential care and facilities aimed at ensuring their healthy and proper development.

Article 46

This article ensures the promotion and protection of socially and educationally backward classes (SCs and STs) and other weaker sections of society, addressing historical inequalities and creating equal opportunities, thereby removing disabilities and inequalities.

Article 47

Article 47 of the Constitution promotes the improvement of public health and nutrition, aiming to raise the overall health standards of the population.

Article 48

It promotes protection of agriculture and animal husbandry, improving farmers’ lives and animal welfare.

Article 48A

This article advocates for the protection of forests and wildlife and the environment, highlighting the importance of sustainable development.

Article 49

This principle emphasises the protection of monuments and places and objects of national importance. It directs the state to protect every monument or place or object of artistic or historic interest declared by or under law made by Parliament.

Article 50

This article highlights the crucial role of an autonomous judiciary in preserving justice and the rule of law. It stresses the importance of separating the judiciary from the executive branch, thereby enabling judges to operate without undue interference or influence, thus safeguarding the impartiality and autonomy of the judiciary.

Article 51

This article promotes international peace and security, fostering respect for international law and peaceful settlement of disputes and maintain just and honourable relations between nations.

These DPSPs serve as guiding principles for the State in formulating policies and laws, aiming to achieve social, economic, and political justice and welfare for all citizens. While they are not legally enforceable, they provide a moral and ethical framework for governance, reflecting the vision of the Indian Constitution makers for an inclusive, just, and equitable society.

Note: Article 44, that is the Uniform Civil Code and Fundamental Duties of citizens will be discussed in the next article.