The Directive Principles of State Policy are the course of action or principles given to the central and state governments of India, to be kept in mind while framing laws and policies.
These provisions are contained in Part IV (Article 36-51) of the Constitution of India). Directive Principles of State Policies are not enforceable by any court, but the principles laid down therein are considered fundamental in the governance of the country, making it the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws to establish a just society in the country.
This concept has been derived from the Directive Principles given in the Constitution of Ireland, which provides for social justice), economic welfare foreign policy and legal and administrative matters.
Directive Principles are classified under the following categories: economic and socialistic, political and administrative, justice and legal, environmental, protection of monuments and peace and security.
In a conflict between fundamental rights and DPSPs, as in the Champakam Dorairajan Case (1952), the Supreme Court held that Article 37 expressly says that the directive principles are not enforceable by the court. Supreme Court mandated that the chapter on Fundamental rights in the constitution is sacrosanct and the directive principles have to conform to and run subsidiary to the chapter on Fundamental Rights. This means that Fundamental Rights were given superiority over the Directive Principles. This continued for a decade and half and some other cases such as Qureshi v/s State of Bihar, Sajjan Singh V/s State of Rajasthan cases court confirmed this stand. Directive means something which provides us with some guidance
‘Principles’, as we know, are ethics set by us which serve as a fundamental rule. ‘State’ refers to an area or territory having its own government(in this case Republic of India). ‘Policy’ refers to a proposed course of action to complete the objective.
To sum up all, Directive Principles of State Policy refers to those principles, which should be kept in mind by the State while formulating policies.
They are listed in Part IV from Article 36 to Article 51 in our constitution.
Some of these principles are:-
- To organise village panchayats and endow them with the necessary powers and authority to enable them to function as units of self governance.
- To protect and improve the environment and to safeguard forests and wildlife.
- To raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living of people and also to improve public health.
A number of schemes like the Forest conservation act 1980 , Panchayati Raj 1992, Midday meal scheme 2004 are examples of how these principles influence our policy making, and are the moral conscience of our constitution.