Thursday, 21 January 2016


A more direct activist role of the state in bringing forth socio-economic transformation was
assigned by the Constitution of India through Directive Principles of State Policy. These
principles are not directly enforceable by the law courts. But the courts, while interpreting the Constitution, including the Fundamental Rights, are to be guided by them. The Constitution enjoins the state to regard them as fundamental in governance and to apply them when making laws.

Common Good and Life of Dignity
The most fundamental directive to the state is to strive to secure a social order in which justice,social, economic and political shall inform all the institutions of their national life. The state shall, in particular, strive to minimise inequalities in income and eliminate inequalities of status,facilities and opportunities not only among the individuals but also among groups of people residing in different areas or engaged in different vocations (Article 38). In particular the state shall direct its policies toward securing adequate means of livelihood for all citizens, men and women equally, distribution of ownership and control to best serve the common good, preventing concentration of wealth and means of production to the common detriment, ensuring equal pay for equal work for both men and women, protection of the health and strength of the workers,men and women, prevention of the abuse of the children, and facilitation of the children to grow in a healthy manner and with freedom and dignity (Article 39).

In the Sphere of Law
Most other Articles in this part of the Constitution (Part IV) are elaborations of these basic
objectives. The state shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice, on
a basis of equal opportunity, and shall, in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic and other disabilities (Article 39A, added in 1977 by the 42nd amendment to the Constitution). The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India (Article 44). The state shall take steps to separate the judiciary from the executive in the public services of the state (Article 50).

The state shall take steps to organise village panchayats and endow them with such powers
and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-government
(Article 40).

In the Economic Sphere
There is a more guarded promise in the economic sphere. The state shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to
work, to education and to public assistance in case of unemployment, old age, sickness and
disablement, and in other cases of undeserved want (Article 41). The right to work as such
cannot be granted by any liberal democratic state simply because it does not control all the
means of production. The system of social insurance is also provided by only developed
industrial countries though its operation is unstable. For a developing country like India the
promise of universal right to work and/or social insurance is obviously too ambitious.
The State shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of the
people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties and, in particular,
endeavour to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for medicinal purposes of
intoxicating and harmful drugs (Article 47).

Rights of Workers
The State shall make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for
maternity relief. The state shall endeavour to secure, by suitable legislation or economic
organisation or in any other way, to all workers, industrial, agricultural or otherwise, a living
wage, conditions of work ensuring a decent standard of life and full enjoyment of leisure and
social and cultural opportunities and, in particular, the state shall endeavour to promote cottage industries on an individual or co-operative basis in rural areas (Article 43). By the 42nd Amendment to the Constitution, the State was enjoined to take steps, by suitable legislation or any other way, to secure the participation or workers in the management of undertakings,establishments of other organisations engaged in any industry (Article 43A)

 For Children and the Weaker Sections
The state is directed to provide, within a period of ten years (from the proclamation of the
Constitution) to all children up to the age of fourteen years (Article 45).
The state shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation (Article 46).

In the Sphere of Agriculture and Environment
The state shall endeavour to develop agriculture and industry along modern scientific lines
(Article 48).

It is the obligation of the state to protect every monument or place or object of historic interest declared by the Parliament to be of national importance from spoilation, disfigurement, destruction, removal, disposal or export, as the case may be (Article 49).
Article 48A, incorporated by the 42nd amendment in 1977 enjoins the duty to protect and
improve the environment and safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country.

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