What Are The Directive Principles of State Policy: Nature and Criticism

Directive Principles of the State policy present in Part IV of the Indian Constitution are intended to act as guiding principles for the governments in formulating their policies.

Nature of the Directive Principles

The Directive Principles are given in Articles 36 to 51 in Part IV of the Indian Constitution. These are the directions along with the State ought to make its laws and policies. It ensures social, economic, and legal justice to every Indian.

The Directive Principles of State Policy are not enforceable in the courts of law. They have been declared fundamental in the governance of the country. All the States have to apply these principles in making laws and in their day-to-day administration.

Directive Principles of State Policy

Do you know why these principles are the only manifesto of aims and aspirations? The courts do not entertain any cause for the failure of the government to comply with the Directive Principles. This is the reason, that the principles are the only manifesto of aims and aspirations.

These Directive Principles are the measures to judge the work and performance of every government. The government cannot ignore them without risking the popular vote in the elections. At the time of elections, the electorate will question the integrity and motives of the government in office. It is a powerful weapon in the hands of the opposition to discredit the government as and when an executive or legislative act goes against these principles.

Indian Governance

If there is a conflict between the Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles, then the latter cannot take precedence over the former. The Directive Principles are supposed to conform to the Fundamental Principles. But Supreme Court has ruled in several decisions that ‘the general welfare prevails over the individual rights’ as in the case of the Zamindari Abolition Act and the Minimum Wages Act.

Article 355 under the Directive Principles states that ‘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 this Constitution.

Article 37 includes that, ‘it shall be the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws. The Union has to make sure that the states take concrete steps for implementing these Directives. The principles have great educational value as they remind those in power that the goal of Indian polity is not just political democracy.

The main principles of Directive Principles can be classified into the following categories:
1. Economic Principles or Socialist Principles
2. Gandhian Principles
3. Protection of Environment and Monuments
4. Principles Relating to Justice and Administration
5. Principles Relating to International Peace and Security

Criticism of Directive Principles

Do you know why the directive principles are criticized? Let us have a look at some reasons.

• Directive Principles appear to be ‘pious aspiration’ and philosophy as the principles do not have legal backing.
• The Principles are vague and repetitive. They are not classified properly or arranged.
• The Directive Principles are dependent on the rulers and their ideologies for the establishment of a welfare state.
• At times, States might find it difficult to implement some of the principles due to inadequate resources. This is the reason that some of the Principles are ignored even after sixty-two years. Principles like Prohibition, etc. have promoted controversies.
• As per the Constitution, the Union must see that the States implement the Directive Principles. The Union overlooks its duty and the principles thus become meaningless.

In a democratic country, where the government comes into power after conducting elections, it plays a major role as the efficiency of the political parties in power can be monitored. The people vote according to the welfare schemes for the public. The parties in power are under the pressure to implement these Principles.

Exercise

The Directive Principles of State Policy are mentioned in which part of the Constitution?

  1. Part V
  2. Part III
  3. Part II
  4. Part IV

The elements of the Directive principles are explained in the articles _________.

  1. From 18 to 24
  2. From 12 to 35
  3. From 5 to 11
  4. From 36 to 51

Which of the following is not the objective of Directive Principles of State Policy?

  1. Establish a welfare state
  2. Establish a secular state
  3. Ensure social justice
  4. Establish a religious state

The Directive Principles are criticized on which of the following grounds?

  1. Can be easily implemented
  2. Legal powers
  3. Union’s duties
  4. Vague and repetitive

Under which article it is mentioned that ‘it shall be the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws’?

  1. Article 39
  2. Article 40
  3. Article 35
  4. Article 37

Read: Importance of Directive Principles of State Policy – Class 9 Civics Notes

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