Under Part IV of the Constitution, Articles 36 to 51 provide fifteen guidelines to the federal institutes governing the State of India for formulating policies and enacting laws. These are known as Directive Principles of the State Policies. DPSP along with the Fundamental Rights contain the Philosophy of the Constitution. Dr B.R Ambedkar called it as the ‘novel feature’ of the Constitution whereas Granville Austin called it as the ‘Conscience of the Constitution’.

Directive Principles has been adopted from the Irish Constitution of 1937, which itself was copied from the Spanish Constitution.



  • It serves as constitutional recommendations to all the central, state and local level authorities in legislative and executive affairs to frame and execute policies for the welfare of the citizens.
  • It is similar to the ‘Instrument of Instructions’ as set out by the Government of India Act 1935 during British rule in India. These instructions were given to Governor-General and Governors. Now it is given to the legislative and executive.
  • It is an attempt to establish a system in the country to promote the philosophical ideas of the Constitution like liberty, justice, equality. The purpose it to a create and run a welfare model based upon principles of social, economic and political programme.
  • Though Article 37 in the Constitution depicts how these principles are fundamental in nature and shall be performed as duty by the Government, DPSP, are non-justiciable and cannot be enforced legally by the court for their violation.
  • The Directive Principles, though non-justiciable in nature, help the courts in examining and determining the constitutional validity of a law. The Supreme Court has ruled many a times that in determining the constitutionality of any law, if a court finds that the law in question seeks to give effect to a Directive Principle, it may consider such law to be ‘reasonable’ in relation to Article 14 (equality before law) or Article 19 (six freedoms) and thus save such law from unconstitutionality.
  • These principles if implemented properly, creates environment where fundamental rights can flourish.
  • It also enables opposition to check and influence the government functioning.



According to the content of the ideas behind these principles, they are categorized as follows:


  • To create a democratic socialist state
  • To provide social, political and economic equality
  • To reduce inequalities in income, status, opportunities
  • To provide adequate means of livelihood
  • To make justice and free legal aid available
  • To give right to education, work and public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disability
  • To ensure proper humane working condition and maternity relief
  • To equally distribute the material resources of community for common good
  • To provide healthy environment for the development of the children
  • To improve public health, raise nutrition level and standard of living



  • Based upon the ideology of Gandhiji as proposed during national movement
  • To make functioning of the self-government powerful by giving required authority to village panchayats
  • To encourage cottage industries in rural areas
  • To ensure democratic means of formation, functioning and management of co-operative
  • To protect weaker sections of the society, providing them better educational and economic conditions of SC and ST community
  • To ban consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs
  • To prevent slaughter of cows, calves and other milch cattle in order to improve their breeds



  • To secure for all citizens a uniform civil code throughout the country
  • To provide early childhood care and proper education until the age of six to all the children
  • To develop agriculture and animal husbandry on the basis of modern scientific techniques
  • To protect and safeguard the wildlife and forest in the country
  • To protect all the historical monuments and places that are declared to be of national importance
  • To ensure separation of Judiciary from the executive in the public service commission
  • To promote international peace and security and maintain just and honourable relations between nations
  • To foster respect for international law and treaty obligations, and to encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration



  • Four new directive principles were added through 42nd Amendment Act of 1976
  1. To provide healthy environment for the development of the children
  2. To promote equal justice and to provide free legal aid to the poor
  3. To take steps to secure the participation of workers in the management of industries
  4. To protect and improve the environment and to safeguard forests and wildlife
  • The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 added one more Directive Principle, which requires the State to minimise inequalities in income, status, facilities and opportunities.
  • The 86th Amendment Act of 2002 changed the subject-matter of Article 45 and made elementary education a fundamental right under Article 21 A. This amendment requires the State to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years.

The 97th Amendment Act of 2011 added a new Directive Principle relating to co-operative societies. It requires the state to promote voluntary formation, autonomous functioning, democratic control and professional management of co-operative societies.


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