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What are the directive principles of State Policy?

Purpose of Directive Principles

Part IV of the constitution from Articles 36 to 51 lays down the Directive Principles of State Policy. These principles constitute a sort of moral supplement to the Fundamental Rights. The idea of incorporating the Directive Principles in the constitution was borrowed from the constitution of Ireland. The fundamental rights are negative in character. They only guarantee certain freedoms to the citizen against the encroachment by the Government. There is nothing positive in them that may promote the material and-6ocial welfare of the individual. There is nothing in them that may lead to the realization of the ideas of justice and equality enshrined in the preamble to the constitution. The purpose of the Directive Principles is to secure social and economic justice and equality of opportunity and status. Article 38 of the constitution states.

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“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 institutions of the national life. The state shall in particular minimize the inequalities in income, and Endeavour to eliminate inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities not only amongst individuals but among groups of people residing in different areas or engaged in different vocations.

The Directive Principles:

Article 39 of the constitution lays down “the following principles to be followed by the state.

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The state shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing –

  1. That the citizens, men and women equality, have the right to an adequate means to livelihood.
  2. That the ownership and control of the material resources of the community are so distributed as best to sub serve the common good:
  3. That the operation of the economic system does not result in the concentration of wealth and means of production to the common detriment;
  4. That there is equal pay for equal work for both men and women:
  5. 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 avocations unsuited to their age or strength.
  6. Those 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 again moral-and material abandonment.

Guidelines:

In addition to the above principles the following guidelines have been laid down:

  1. To secure equal justice by providing free legal aid to the poor and to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities;
  2. To organize village Panchayats and to endow them with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-Government:
  3. To secure the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and other cases of undesired want;
  4. To make provision for security just and human conditions of work and for maternity relief.
  5. To secure to all workers, agricultural, industrial or otherwise, work aliving wage, conditions of work ensuring a decent standard of life and full enjoyment of leisure and social and cultural opportunities, and in particular to Endeavour to promote cottage industries on an individual or cooperative basis in rural areas.
  6. To secure the participation of workers in the management of undertakings, establishment of other organizations engaged in any industry.
  7. To secure for the citizens a unified civil code throughout the territory of India.
  8. To Endeavour to provide for free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of fourteen years.
  9. To promote the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people and; in particular of the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and to protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation;
  10. To raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living of the people and improve public health and to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for medical purposes of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are’ injurious- to health.
  11. To organize agriculture and animal husbandry on modern scientific lines and to take steps for preserving and improving the breeds and prohibiting the slaughter of cows, calves and other milch and draught cattle;
  12. To protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wild life of the country;
  13. To protect every monument or place or object of artistic or historic interest from spoliation, disfigurement, destruction, removal, disposal or export, as the case may be;
  14. To separate the judiciary from the executive in the public services of the state;
  15. To promote international peace and security, to maintain just and honorable relations between nations, to foster respect for International law and treaty obligations in the dealings of organized people with one .another and to encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration.

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Sanction behind Directive Principles:

The Directive Principles are not enforceable by the courts and, if the government of the day fails to carry out these objectives, no court can make the government ensure them, yet these principles have been declared to be “Fundamental in the governance of the country and it shall be the duty of the state to apply these principles in making taws.”

Article 355 of the constitution says: “It shall be the duty of the Union to ensure that the government of every state is carried on in accordance with the provisions of the constitution.” There is no doubt that the Directive Principles constitute a part of the constitution. It is therefore, the duty of the Union to see that every state takes proper steps for implementing the Directive Principles. It can issue directions to states to implement the Directive Principles. If a state fails to comply with such directions issued by the union, it may apply Art. 365 against it. Art 365 says: “Where arty state has failed to comply with, or to give effect to, any directions given in the exercise of the executive power of the Union under any of the provisions of the constitution, it shall be lawful for the President to hold that a situation has arisen in which the government of the state, cannot be carried on in accordance with the-provisions of this constitution. It makes it clear that the Union Government has the power to get the Directive Principles implemented by the states.

However, the most important sanction behind the Directive Principles is political. As Dr. Ambedkar observed in the Constituent Assembly, “if any government ignores them, they will certainly have to answer for them before the electorate at the election time. The opposition can use it as a weapon to discredit the government on the ground that it’s Executive or Legislative; acts have been opposed to the Directive Principles.

Significance of the Directive Principles:

(1) Conscience of Constitution

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In the words of justice Hegde and justice Mukherji, the Directive Principles constitute the Conscience of our constitution. Their purpose is to fix certain social and economic goals for immediate attainment by bringing about a non-violent social revolution. Through such a social revolution the constitution seeks to fulfill the basic needs of the common man and to change the structure of our society. It aims at making the Indian masses free in the positive sense.

(2) Socialism

This is the age of socialism and welfare state. Our views about the purpose and functions of the state have completely changed. The old concept of the police state has been discarded. Now it is considered to be the duty of the state to interfere positively in the life of the society with a view to promoting economic, social and cultural welfare of the citizens. The Directive Principles enshrined in the constitution aim at giving effect to these modern social and political ideals.

(3) Minimizing Competitive Economy

The Directive Principles aim at minimizing the effects of competitive economy. If free competition is allowed to dominate life, the poor- are bound to go to the wall. Only the rich and the strong will survive. The Directive principles aim at promoting the spirit of cooperation and mutual aid in society so that every individual irrespective of his caste, creed, sex, birth etc. may get a chance to lead a decent human life.

(4) Non-violent Socio Economic Revolution

The most important thing about the Directive Principles is that they aim at bringing about a non-violent socio economic revolution in the country. This is the age of revolutionary upheavals. The masses are on the march everywhere. If exploitation of man by man is not eliminated, if social justice is not established by peaceful democratic methods, violent upheavals are bound to occur. If directive principles are implemented, there would be no need for
a violent revolution.

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