Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) (PART IV, ARTICLE 36-51)

Mains Marks Booster     29th July 2023        

Introduction: The Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) in India are derived from the Irish constitution and are a set of guiding principles for the government. The Directive Principles resemble the "Instrument of Instructions" in the Government of India Act, 1935.

  • The purpose of DPSP is to establish a welfare state and promote economic and social democracy in the country. However, it's important to note that DPSPs are not legally enforceable by the courts if they are violated.

Amendments in the DPSP:

  • 42nd Constitutional Amendment in 1976: Added directives in part IV, including Article 39A for free legal aid to the poor, Article 43A for worker participation in industrial management, and Article 48A for environmental protection. 
  • The 44th Amendment in 1978 inserted Section-2 in Article 38 for state efforts in minimizing economic inequalities and removed the Right to Property as a Fundamental Right
  • The 86th Amendment in 2002 modified Article 45 and made elementary education a fundamental right under Article 21A.

Judicial Evolution of Conflict between DPSP vs Fundamental Rights:

Case Name



Champakam Dorairajan Case


SC held that the Directive Principles are not enforceable by court as per Article 37. Fundamental Rights have supremacy over Directive Principles.

Golak Nath Case


SC declared that Fundamental Rights cannot be abridged or diluted in order to implement the Directive Principles.

Kesavananda Bharati Case


SC ruled that the Parliament can amend any part of the Constitution, including Fundamental Rights, but cannot alter its basic structure.

Minerva Mills Case


SC emphasized the harmony between Part III (Fundamental Rights) and Part IV (Directive Principles), considering them as two wheels of the chariot in establishing an egalitarian social order.

Importance of DPSP:

Key idea


Fundamental to governance

Essential for country's governance (Art. 37).

Idea of welfare state

Introduces concept of welfare state.

Guidance to legislatures

Sets ideal for policy and law making.

Reflection of Preamble

Aims for social, economic, political justice.

Four pillars of Indian Constitution

Supports Justice, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.

Key Arguments Against DPSPs:

  • Non-enforceable: Resource constraints and the potential for better laws make them non-enforceable.
  • Disorganized: The arrangement mixes Gandhian, Socialist, and Liberal philosophies without clear logic.
  • Potentially regressive: Some provisions can be reactionary or regressive, such as the Uniform Civil Code.
  • Potential for conflict: They can cause constitutional conflicts between federal and state governments.
  • Resource-intensive: Implementation of many DPSPs seem difficult due to very high cost associated

Schemes & Initiatives to give effect to DPSPs:

DPSP Article


Article 38

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), MUDRA scheme

Article 39A

National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) to aid poor people

Article 39

Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), Skill India, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY)

Article 40

73rd and 74th Amendment, PM Adarsh Gram Yojna, Aspirational District Programs

Article 41

Mid-Day Meal Scheme, National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016

Article 42

Maternity Benefit Act, Factories Act, Minimum Wages Act

Article 43

Minimum Wages Act, Code on Wages, 2019

Article 44

Abolition of Triple Talaq, UCC in Goa

Article 45

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan

Article 46

Reservation of SC, ST & OBCs, EWS

Article 47

National Health Mission, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Poshan Abhiyaan, Prohibition on Alcohol in states like Bihar, Gujrat

Article 48

Beef Ban across multiple states

Article 49

Adopt a Heritage Scheme, National Museum, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts

Article 50

Striking down of NJAC by Supreme Court 

Recent Debates Associated with DPSP:

Uniform Civil Code: A Uniform Civil Code is one that would provide for one law for the entire country, applicable to all religious communities in their personal matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption, etc.

Merits/Demerits and Challenges of Implementing UCC:




Gender Equality

Potential Erosion of Diversity

Harmonizing Diverse Personal Laws

National Integration

Community Identity Concerns

Addressing Cultural Sensitivities

Simplification of Legal System

Perceived Majoritarian Imposition

Resistance from Religious Groups

Reducing Gender-Based Discrimination

Loss of Customary Laws

Achieving Consensus among Stakeholders

Streamlining Adoption and Marriage Laws

Fear of Cultural Homogenization

Balancing Gender Justice with Traditions

Promoting Secularism

May Create Initial Social Unrest

Implementation and Enforcement

Legal Clarity and Certainty

Risk of Oversimplification

Educating the Masses on New Laws

Rationalization of Personal Laws and Protection of Individual Rights

Possible Legal Loopholes

Addressing Regional Differences and Consideration of Tribal Laws

Key Recommendation of Law Commission (2018) on UCC:
         BR Amedekar

  • Rejection of Uniform Civil Code (UCC): Law Commission deems UCC neither feasible nor desirable(By 21st Law commission).
  • Recently, the 22nd Law Commission of India asked for ideas from public and religious bodies on Uniform Civil Code.
  • Focus on Codification: Recommends codification of personal laws to expose prejudices and test them against constitutional fundamental rights. Equality Within Communities: Prioritizes achieving gender equality within religious communities before seeking equality across communities.
    • Legal Status through Codification: Codifying customs and practices would classify them as ‘law’ under Article 13 of the Constitution.
  • Alignment with Fundamental Rights: Laws under Article 13 must comply with fundamental rights, ensuring the protection of religious plurality.

Judicial Pronouncements Associated with UCC:

Case Name


Outcome and Remarks

Shah Bano Case


  • SC held that a common Civil Code would help national integration by removing conflicting loyalties to laws with disparate ideologies.

Sarla Mudgal Case


  • SC reiterated the need for a Uniform Civil Code to help national integration by removing ideological contradictions.

Ahmedabad Women Action Group (AWAG) v. Union of India


  • SC observed that many provisions of personal laws are discriminatory, resulting in discussions on the introduction of the Uniform Civil Code.

Shabnam Hashmi v. Union of India


  • SC raised the issue of the Uniform Civil Code on personal law matters like adoption.

Shayara Bano v. Union of India (Triple Talaq Case)


  • SC held triple talaq as unconstitutional and un-Islamic, raising the question of the Uniform Civil Code to stop such personal law practices.

Way Forward for UCC:

  • Inclusive Deliberative Process: Engage representatives from diverse backgrounds in a deliberative process to discuss UCC implementation, fostering dialogue and consensus. 
  • Consultation with Stakeholders: Seek inputs from religious leaders, women's rights activists, and marginalized communities to address concerns while formulating a UCC. 
  • Legislative Reforms: Initiate gradual legislative reforms to harmonize personal laws, respecting specific cultural and religious practices. 
  • Gender Equality and Women's Rights: Ensure a UCC promotes gender equality and safeguards women's rights, addressing discriminatory practices. 
  • Sensitivity and Flexibility: Develop a UCC framework sensitive to diverse practices, allowing for customary practices alongside provisions protecting individual rights and gender equality. 

Other Key Issues with reference to DPSPs:


Key Points

Right To Health 

Recently, the Rajasthan Govt. announced a Right to Health bill, raising concerns about challenges of effective delivery of such right 

Affordable and Accessible Judicial System 

  • The Vice President of India has raised the need to make the judicial system more accessible 

Free Legal Aid to People

  • 1.2 million legal aid and advice have been rendered by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) to

Environmental Protection (Article 48A)

  • India’s Commitment to Paris Agreement, INDCs

Way forward for Directive Principles of State Policy in India: 

  • Legislative Reforms: Enact laws for effective implementation of Directive Principles. 
  • Policy Alignment: Align government policies with Directive Principles to address inequalities. 
  • Resource Allocation: Prioritize budgetary allocations for sectors related to Directive Principles. 
  • Inter-Departmental Coordination: Foster collaboration among government departments. 
  • Empower Marginalized Sections
  • Establish mechanisms to monitor policy progress and outcomes. 
  • Judicial Interpretation: Encourage judiciary to interpret laws in line with Directive Principles. 
  • Political Will and Leadership: Demonstrate strong commitment to prioritize Directive Principles' implementation.

Balancing Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles for Social Order and Empowerment:

  • Former Chief Justice of India P. Sathasivam said Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles of State Policy needed to be balanced and harmonised if they were to reap social order and empower people.


  • Effectively implementing the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) in the Indian Constitution requires strong political will, streamlined governance, and active public participation. Engaging all stakeholders for transparency, promoting social justice, and ensuring sustainable development are key areas of focus to fulfil the vision of DPSPs.