This article is written by Aanchal Rawat, a Second Year student of R N Patel Ipcowala School of Law and Justice.


Directive principles are those principles which the state takes into consideration while making laws.

In India, these principles are mentioned in the Indian Constitution under Part -4 from article 36 to article 51.these principles are borrowed from the Irish Constitution. There are 15 principles.

History of Directive Principles

In 1945, the Sapru Committee suggested that there should be two types of individual’s rights.

  1. Justiciable Rights
  2. Non-Justiciable Rights

Justiciable rights are those rights which are legally enforceable by a court and Non-Justiciable Rights are those rights which are non – enforceable by a court.

Fundamental rights are justiciable rights and Directive principles are non-Justiciable rights.

Directive Principles are taken into consideration by the state when it formulates policies or enacting laws.


In Government of India Act, 1935, the Directive principles are defined as,

“Instrument of Instructions”.

Classification of Directive Principles

The directive principles can be classified into 3 groups:

  1. Social and Economic Charter
  2. Social Security Charter
  3. Community Welfare Charter

Social and Economic Charter

Article 38:

The welfare of the people should be promoted by the State which is to be done by maintaining Social order through justice.

The justice should be social, economic and political.

The state should try to minimise inequalities in income, status, facilities and opportunities.

Article 39:

The State shall direct its policy towards the following:

  1. Sufficient means of livelihood for all its citizens.
  2. Material resources should be distributed in such a way among the community that it is for common good.
  3. Equal pay for equal work for everyone
  4. Due to economic necessity, no one should do the work unsuited to them
  5. Opportunities and facilities should be given to children so that they can live a healthy life and also can live with dignity.

Social Security Charter

Article 41:

The state shall make sure that that the people are given employment, education, and public assistance if they are unemployed, are old or are sick and disable.

Article 42:

Just and Humane conditions should be made for workers and maternity relief should be provided to pregnant females.

Article 43:

All the workers irrespective of their working sector should be able to have a living wage. So that they can have a decent standard of living and can enjoy social and cultural opportunities.

Article 43-A:

The workers should participate in the management of the industry irrespective of the nature of the industry.

Article 45:

Compulsory education should be provided to children until the age of 14 years.

Article 46:

Promotion of education and economic interests among weaker sections. Protection of weaker sections from social injustice and exploitation.

Article 47:

Prohibition on the consumption of drinks which are injurious to health.

Community Welfare Charter

Article 40:

 Organising village panchayats and endowing them powers so that they can function as units of self-government.

Article 44:

Uniform civil code for citizens throughout the nation.

Article 48:

Organising agriculture and animal husbandry with the help of modern and scientific lines. Prohibition on the slaughter of cows, calves and other milch cattle. Improvement of animal breeds.

Article 48-A:

Protecting and improving the environment and safeguarding forests and wildlife.

Article 49:

Protection of monuments, places and objects of the artistic and historic event which are declared is of national importance.

Article 50:

Judiciary should be separate from the executive.

Article 51:

The State shall make sure to achieve the following things:

  1. International peace and security 
  2. Just and Honorable relations are maintained.
  3. Settlement of international disputes by arbitration.

To achieve these things the state should promote and encourage them.

The Relation between Directive Principles and Fundamental Rights

Fundamental rights and Directive principles are mentioned in Part 3 and Part 4 of the Indian constitution respectively. Both of them are important for the governance of the nation. They both set out state duty and action. 

While fundamental rights tell not to interfere with an individual’s rights and liberty arbitrarily, Directive principles tell how the state should take positive action.

Both of them talks about welfare. While Fundamental rights talk about an individual’s welfare, Directive principles talk about the welfare of people as a whole.

Fundamental rights are enforceable in court but Directive principles are not enforceable. But both of them are important for establishing an egalitarian state.

Difference between Directive Principles and Fundamental Rights

  1. Fundamental rights are those basic rights which an individual needs to live while Directive principles are those principles which the state takes into consideration while framing laws.
  2. Political democracy is established with the help of Fundamental Rights and Social and Economic democracy is established with the help of Directive principles.
  3. Violation of fundamental rights is punishable but the violation of directive principles is not punishable.
  4. Fundamental rights are suspended during an emergency but directive principles cannot be suspended during any circumstances.
  5. Fundamental rights are negative rights and directive principles are positive rights.

Amendments in Directive principles

For amending Directive principles, Constitutional amendment should be made. It should be approved by the special majority in both the houses of parliament.

It has been amended many times. In 1976, Directive principles were amended for the first time. It is known as the 42nd Constitutional amendment, 1976. There were 4 changes in it.

  1. Article 39 was amended.
  2. Article 39 –A was added.
  3. Parliament came up with the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 
  4. Article 48-A was added.

In 1978, Article 38 clause (2) was added (44th Constitutional Amendment, 1978).

In 1992, Panchayats were brought in Part IX of Indian constitution had its origin from Article 40 of the Constitution (Constitutional Amendment, 1992).

In 2002, Article 21-A was added in the Indian Constitution. The origin of this amendment came from Article 41(86th Constitutional Amendment, 2002).

In 2011, Article 43-B was added in Indian Constitution (97th Constitutional Amendment, 2011).


Directive principles are an important part of the Indian Constitution. Though they are not enforceable and are non-Justiciable the State still considers them while making laws. Because these principles help in the governance of the State. Some of the origins of the fundamental rights are from Directive principles such as article 21-A : Free and compulsory education whose origin can be seen in Article 41which talks about the right to work, education and public assistance in certain cases.

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