Important Directive Principles

 Important Directive Principles

The Indian constitution sets out certain fundamental philosophies for the nation to follow when new policies are formed. These are the Important Directive Principles. Read on to know more.


There is a greater purpose to the Important Directive Principles to be included in the constitution than merely setting a tone or creating a philosophy. The purpose of these Important Directive Principles is to ensure social and economic democracy is clearly established. 

Why are the Directive Principles important?

Important Directive principles are key in the constitution as they set the tone of the policy of the state in a manner so as to provide equal opportunity to all citizens of the country irrespective of their gender or class or religion that would create opportunities for livelihood. This has a greater purpose of not allowing a concentration of wealth among a few individuals in society. The important directive principles are key because they set the tone of how any policy needs to be framed. It is a kind of a policy of policies.

Do the Directive Principles stand a test in a court of law?

The Directive Principles, despite being key to the framing of policies in the country, cannot stand the rigour of courts and cannot be challenged in a court. These are only the directions to the state and other law-making organisations and the laws need to be framed keeping them in mind. They cannot be justified in a court when there is a possibility that they are violated.

The all-important Directive Principles are part IV of the constitution. They are explained in Art 36 – 51. It is said that these principles have been modelled on the lines of the Irish constitution.

Objectives of the Directive Principles

The stated objectives of the important directive principles are to provide socio-economic development in the country. The significance of these are:

Provision of a welfare state: The purpose of the directive principles is to ensure there is a principle of ‘welfare state’ that is embodied. Justice, freedom, and equality are guaranteed to all citizens of the country by the constitution.  The premise is that just by ensuring freedom, justice, and equality, the people in the country will not become prosperous. The belief is that through various policies the state must ensure the implementation of projects that will help ensure prosperity for its citizens.

Development: From the face of challenges immediately after independence, it was important for the nation to progress towards being fully developed and progressive. Therefore, development was an important agenda for the nation. It was hence important to provide guidance for the future.

Supplement to the fundamental rights: As the Directive principles dealt out socio-economic justice to the people, the principles served as a lighthouse to those who made policies. 

The Directive Principles in the Constitution:

Although not classified officially by the Indian constitution, the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) are typically classified into three specific categories as listed under:

  • Socialistic Principles
  • Gandhian Principles, and 
  • Liberal-Intellectual Principles 

However, the formal classification includes four dimensions namely, social, political, economic, and international principles.  Each of these are briefly explained below. 

The social principles state that all children must be given free education till the age of 14 years, promoting the cause of the SC and ST population. The state must ensure good health for all, and intoxicating drugs must be banned. Agriculture and animal husbandry must be developed on the basis of scientific principles. Environment, forests, and wildlife must be given protection. All monuments of historical and national importance must be preserved.

The political principles state that the state is providing a livelihood for all in the society. The resources that are available must be used for the well-being of all. There should be no concentration of wealth in the hands of a few.  There should be no difference in pay between men and women. Men and women should be able to choose a vocation according to their ability and age. And that the state should have a legal system that is accessible to all.

Political Principles state that there must be panchayats at the village level so that the village people can participate in the political process. There should be a uniform civil code for all people in the country. The judiciary and the executive must be independent of each other. 

The International relations principle states that the international policy of the country must promote peace and security at the international level. There must be a promotion of friendly relationships between the nations. Any international disputes must be resolved in a peaceful manner.

These directives differ from the fundamental rights in the following ways:

Fundamental rights are protected by the courts, these principles are not.

Fundamental rights give people freedom and liberty. Directives are mere guidelines for the state.

Together both bring a fine balance to civil society.

When there is a conflict between directives and fundamental rights, the fundamental rights take precedence over the directives


The directive principles of the Indian constitution have been framed to provide socio-economic democracy in Indian society. They are different from fundamental rights in that they cannot stand judicial scrutiny or the test of the court. They are organized along four dimensions of social, political, economic, and international principles.