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  • Yash Pal

"Exploring the Transformative Role of Directive Principles of State Policy in Shaping the Welfare State Model"

Yash Pal,

IIMT and School of law affiliated to GGSIPU


State is dynamic in nature as it evolved with the needs of the individuals in the society.

There are two forms of government namely, police state and welfare state. Police state is that form where the government is authoritarian towards the citizens and on the other hand, welfare state is that form in which government functions for the welfare of citizens economically and socially.

To establish welfare state, in Indian Constitution directive principles of state policy(DPSPs) has been provided under part IV , from Article 36 to Article 51. These principles are in directives to government to implement them for establishing social and economic democracy in the country.  

DPSPs are not justiciable in nature that means they are not legally enforceable by courts of law. It means its obedience or implementation cannot protect through judicial proceedings but still these are fundamental in securing governance of the country.

Classification of directives

For elaborative and critical analysis the DPSPs are to be classified into three groups which are as follows:

1. Social and Economic nature or charter of DPSPs

Social order based on justice

Social order, an expression is of wide amplitude includes law and order, security of state as well as public order. There is direct nexus with preamble.

In Air India statutory corporation v. United labour union[i], 3 judge bench of supreme court explained the concept of social justice, i, e, it consists diverse principles essential for orderly growth and development of personality.

Article 38 and Article 39 embody Distributive Justice as;

Article 38 provides social order for welfare and,

Article 39 provides policy to be followed by state –

a. Right to adequate means of livelihood for all.

b. Equitable distribution of resources, especially material resources among the citizens, community for common good.

c. Prevention of concentration of means of production and wealth.

d. Equal pay for equal work for men and women.

e. Preservation of strength and health of children and workers against forcible abuse.

f. Opportunity for the healthy development of children in order to protect them from exploitation and against material and moral abandonment.[ii] 


2. Social security nature or charter of DPSPs

A. Worker's participation in management of industries.

Article 43A of Constitution of India provides that state should take steps by suitable legislation or any other way to secure worker

B. Right to work, Education and public assistance in certain cases.

Article 41 directs the state to provide (a) employment, (b) education, (c) public assistance in case of unemployment, old age, sickness, disablement, and in other case undeserved want.

C. Article 42 of Indian constitution provides the Just and Human condition of work.

D. Living wage for workers.

Article 43 of the Indian constitution envisaged the living wage for workers. Here, “living wage” is not comprehended as minimum wage.

E. Provision for early childhood care and education to children below 6 years.

Article 45 of the Indian constitution speaks for this above mentioned provision, and 86th constitutional amendment Act also ensuring the compulsory education for development and growth of child.

F. Improvement of health and standard of livings raised.

Article 47 of the constitution recognizes the duty to raise standard of livings and improvement of health.

G. Promotion of economic and educational interests of weaker sections.

Article 46 under part IV of Indian constitution ensures the promotion of interests of weaker sections, especially educational and economic interests.

65th and 89th constitutional amendments passed to support and strengthen the object of article 46 of constitution.

· In 65th constitutional amendment Act[iii], national commission for scheduled caste and scheduled tribes established and,

· In 89th constitutional amendment Act[iv], the above mentioned institution split into two namely;

o   National commission for scheduled caste and,

o   National commission for scheduled tribes.

H. Equal Justice and free legal aid to economically backward classes

Article 39A, added by 42nd constitutional amendment Act[v] (1976) under part IV of Indian constitution as DPSP, provides the equal justice and free legal aid to economically backward classes.

In Hussainara Khatoon v. Home Secretary, State of Bihar[vi]  (1979), it was held that the state is under a duty to provide lawyer to a poor person and also it must pay to lawyer his fee as fixed by the court.

In State of Maharashtra v. Manubha Pragaji Vashi (1995)[vii] , Supreme Court of India held that article 21 read with article 39A casts a duty on the state to afford grants in aid to recognized private law colleges, similar to other faculties, which qualified for the receipt of grant.


3. Community welfare nature or charter of DPSPs

This nature of directive principles of state policy covers the following articles of Indian constitution:-

A. Article 44, uniform civil code, requires the state ensuring uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.

B. Article 48 directs the state to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on technical and economic lines through legislation or reasonable steps.

C. Article 48A gave directions to the central and state government and various local bodies and boards under the various statutes to take appropriate steps for prevention and control of pollution.[viii]

D. Article 49 provides the protection and preservation of historical monuments. Parliament, in pursuance, has enacted various laws through legislation to protect and preserve the historical monuments.

E. Article 50 which deals with the separation of judiciary from executive ensures and promotes the rule of law.

F. Article 51 provides for the peaceful international relations to avoid conflicts between sovereign States.


Constitution of India is the supreme law of land that governs the functioning of government. It directs the state through directive principle of state policy that the welfare of people socially and economically is the utmost need of the society. The directive principles of state policy are not justiciable but still fundamental in nature similar to that of fundamental rights. They protect and preserve the rights of people very well as they act as directives for States in recognizing the state duty to establish welfare state and good governance in democracy.


[i] AIR 1997 SC 645

[ii] Added and modified by constitution (42nd Amendment) Act, 1976

[iii] 1990

[iv] 2003

[v] 1976

[vi] AIR 1979 SC 1360

[vii] (1995) 5 SCC 730

[viii] MC Mehta v. Union of India  (1988) 1 SCC  471

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