Directive Principle of State Policy (DPSP)

Directive Principle of State Policy provides guidelines to central & state government in India, to be kept in mind while framing laws & policies & mentioned in part 4 of the constitution.

  • DPSP + FR >> Conscience of Indian Constitution


Basic aim of DPSPs is to set up social & economic goals before the law makers

  • To bring socio-economic change in the country
  • To fulfill the basic needs of the common man
  • To reshape the structure of Indian society in direction of greater socio-economic equality.


DPSPs are fundamentals in governance of the country & shall be considered dutifully by the state while making laws, but DPSPs are not enforceable in court of law

  • If state fails to fulfill these obligations, one cannot go to court of law
  • DPSPs only provides a yardstick for measuring success or failure of the government


Articles 36 to 51 deal with the provisions of the Directive Principles & are broadly classified into

  • Socialist principles
  • Gandhian principles
  • Liberal intellectual principles

Socialist Principles

  • To secure a social order for the promotion of welfare of the people.
  • To strive to minimise inequalities of income i.e. operation of the economic system does not result in the concentration of wealth and means of production to the common detriment;
  • ownership and control of the material resources of the community are so distributed as best to subserve the common good;
  • Equal justice and free legal aid.
  • Ownership and control of material resources of the community shall be so distributed so as to subserve the common good.
  • Equal pay for equal work.
  • Health & strength of workers, and the tender age of children must not be abused.
  • Right to work, to education and to public assistance in certain cases.
  • Provision of just and humane conditions for work and maternity relief.
  • Participation of workers in the management of the industries.
  • Duty of the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health.
  • 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.

The Western Liberal Principles

  • Uniform Civil Code for the citizens.
  • Provide free and compulsory education for children below 14 years.
  • Separation of Judiciary from Executive.
  • To promote international peace and amity.
  • Protection of monuments and places and objects of national importance
  • Protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forests and wild life.

The Gandhian Principles

  • Organization of Village Panchayats & to promote cottage industry.
  • Promotion of educational and economic interests of the SCs, the STs and the other weaker sections of the society.
  • To bring about the prohibition of intoxicating drinks and drugs that are injurious to health.
  • Organization of agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines to prohibit the slaughter of cows, calves and other milch and draught animals.


97th Amendment: Promotion of cooperative societies

Directives in other parts of the Constitution (Except part IV)

Article 350 A: It enjoins every State and every local authority within the State to provide adequate facilities for the instructions in the mother tongue at the primary stage to children of linguistic minority areas.

Article 351: It enjoins the Union to promote the spread of Hindi Language so that it may serve as a medium of expression of all the elements of the composite culture of India.

Article 335: It says that the claims of SC/ST shall be taken into consideration, consistently with the maintenance of efficiency of administration, in the making of appointments to services and posts in connection with affairs of the Union or of a State.

Under the implementation of DPSP,  Zamindari, Jagirdari & inamdari systems were abolished & actual tillers of the soil were made owner of the land.

DPSPs v/s FRs

FRs provide the foundation of political democracy in India DPSPs spell out the character of social & economic democracy in India
Lays down negative obligation / restriction on the state i.e. FRs are prohibitive in nature DPSPs are positive / moral obligations of state towards the citizens
FRs have been laid down in clear legal language in constitution DPSPs are laid in general terms and are sort of moral obligations
FRs represent something static i.e. to preserve certain rights which already exist DPSPs represents a dynamic move towards the betterment of the citizens
FRs are justifiable in nature & can be enforced in court of law DPSPs are non-justifiable in nature & can not be enforced in court of law

What if laws made by state giving effect to DPSP’s violates FR, can they be valid? This question was raised before SC in 1951 in Champakam Dorairajan case !

  • SC held that they are supplementary to each other & no as such inherent conflict is between them, thus, as far as possible, should be interpreted harmoniously. However, if it is not possible, FRs will prevail over DPSPs  means  DPSPs can not override FRs, hence such a law is void.
  • On this ground, SC held Bank nationalisation act & Privy purse (abolition) act unconstitutional


  • In 1971, 25th amendment introduced a new article 31-c, which states that “if state enacts any law giving effect to two directive principles viz. Equitable distribution of wealth (article 39-b) & Prevention of concentration of wealth in fewer hands (article 39-c), & in that process if the law violates FRs (article 14, 19 & 31), it can not be held void merely on this ground.
  • Article 31-c further states that such a law giving effect to 39 – b & 39 – c, can not be questioned in court of law.


  • 25th amendment was challenged in Kesavananda Bharati case (1973), in which SC held that only first part of the article 31-c (overriding article 14, 19 & 31) is valid, but second part which bars judicial review held unconstitutional.
  • 42nd amendment, 1976 further amended article 31-c & widened its scope & gave precedence for all DPSPs over article 14, 19 & 31 & hence made them immune to judicial review.
  • Minerva Mills case, 1980: SC struck down the changes introduced by 42nd amendment in article 31-c & held them unconstitutional on grounds that total exclusion of judicial review would offend the basic structure of the constitution.

Presently, only article 39-b & 39-c can be given precedence over articles 14 & 19

India Yearbook English India Yearbook Hindi Economic Survey 2017

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