June 23, 2024
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This article has been written by Jatin Rana ( pursuing a B.A.LL.B. (Hons.) (IVth Year) from Law College Dehradun faculty of Uttaranchal University)


Directive principles of State policy is the track to be followed by the government while making any law or policy in order to protect the Fundamental Rights of the people.

According to John Locke, every human being has certain rights which evolves naturally and without any act of the Government. The only duty of the government is to protect these rights of the people. It is also said that human beings have natural rights and only due to the reason that they are born as human. The rights are collectively known as the Human Rights of which the fundamental Rights are the part. As John Locke has assigned the duty to the government, which is to protect the rights, it put light on the Directive principles of the state policy (hereinafter known as DPSP) because it shows the basic principles which the government should adopt while making any policy or law. Thus, fundamental rights and DPSP are closely interrelated and same is shown under the Constitution of India, 1959 (hereinafter known as COI).

Meaning of Fundamental Rights

The bare meaning of the fundamental rights is ‘basic rights’. It  means that fundamental rights are the basic or the bare minimum rights which every person of the country should have. In India, the fundamental rights are enumerated under Part III of the COI. Fundamental Rights are not the only rights given under the COI. There are many other rights given under the COI, except the Part III. All the Rights given under the COI are collectively known as the Constitutional Rights of which the Fundamental Rights are the part.  

The COI classifies fundamental rights into 6 categories,

  1. Right to Equality ( Article 14-18).
  2. Right to freedom (Article 19-22).
  3. Right against Exploitation (Article 23-24).
  4. Right to Freedom of Religion (Article 25-28).
  5. Cultural and Educational Rights (Article 29-30).
  6. Right to Constitutional Remedies (Article 32-35).

Meaning of DPSP

Directive Principles of State Policy are given under Part IV (which is from Article 36 -51) of the COI. The principles under part IV of COI can be classified into three categories:

  1. Certain economic ideals for which the state should work.
  2. Certain directions which the legislature and the executive should follow while performing their legislative and executive functions.
  3. Certain rights to the citizens which are not enforceable like the fundamental rights given under part III of the COI by the courts, but the state is intended to secure these rights through their policies.

It is the duty of the state to abide by the above mentioned principles and it is also important to notice that the meaning of the word “State” is similar to that mentioned under part III or to be more specific, under Article 12 of the COI. Thus, it is not only the duty of the Union and State authorities but also the local authorities have moral obligations to abide by these principles. The core of these principles is the attainment of social and economic democracy.

Difference between Fundamental Rights and DPSP

There is a vast difference between Fundamental Rights and DPSP. The Fundamental Rights are enforceable by the courts and there are also constitutional remedies for their protection, while rights given under Part IV are not enforceable by the courts and there is not any remedy for their protection or enforcement.

It is the legal obligation over the state to protect the fundamental rights of the citizens but in the case of rights under DPSP, it is merely a moral obligation over the state to secure the rights. The fundamental rights act to limit the state actions but on the same part, the DPSP lays down the instructions and directions for the state to meet certain ends through their actions and functions.

Any law passed by the legislature in the in the violation of the DPSP cannot always be declared as the unconstitutional law but the same law in in the violation of any of the fundamental rights, judiciary acting as a guardian can declare that law as unconstitutional by virtue of Article 13 of the COI. Also, in case of conflict between Fundamental Rights and DPSP, the former shall prevail.

In the case of Minerva Mills v. UOI,[1] the hon’ble Supreme Court observed that the directive principles of the state policy have to conform and run as subsidiary to the chapter on Fundamental Rights and state should attempt to give effect to both DPSP and Fundamental Rights harmoniously as much as possible.


Fundamental Rights and DPSP are two different streams according to the COI but the state should consider them collectively while making policies and performing their functions. Fundamental Rights put legal obligations on the state and DPSP put only moral obligation on the state but Part III and IV  of the COI should be considered collectively because DPSP is subsidiary to the Fundamental Rights and they both run parallel.


Aequitas Sequitur Legem

[1] Minerva Mills v. Union of India, AIR 1980 SC 1789.

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