The Directive Principles lay down a code of conduct for the governments in discharge of their duties and responsibilities. They place an ideal before the legislators and bureaucrats of the nation, while they frame new laws and policies for the country’s governance.

Taken together these principles are the guiding parameters that a new democratic India should follow while framing rules and regulations to administer the people. They also represent the minimum of the ambitions and aspirations cherished by the people of India and set as a goal to be achieved within a reasonable period of time.

The Supreme Court of India in various decisions affirms that the objective of Directive Principles is to employ the concept of a welfare state. However, the directives do not confer any enforceable rights and their alleged breach does not invalidate a law, nor does it entitle a citizen to complain of its violation by the state so as to seek mandatory relief against the state.

There are sixteen Articles of the Constitution from Article 36 to Article 51, which deal with the Directive Principles. These comprise a wide range of state activities, embracing economic, social, legal, educational and international fields.

Some of the important directives are as per following

  1. To ensure and protect a social order which stands for the welfare of the people. (Article 38)
  2. In particular, the state shall direct its policy towards securing

(a)adequate means of livelihood to all citizens; (b) a proper distribution of the material resources of the community for the common good; (c) the prevention of concentration of wealth to the common detriment; (d) equal pay for equal work for both men and women; (e) the protection of the strength and health of workers and avoiding circumstances which force citizens to enter avocations unsuited to their age or strength; and (f) that children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and the protection of childhood and youth against exploitation or moral and material abandonment. (Article 39)

The state shall secure that the operation of the legal                                                                        system promotes justice, on a basis of equal opportunity particular provide free legal aid by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities. (Article 39(A))

  1. To organize village Panchayats as units of self- government. (Article 40)
  2. To secure the right to work, education and public assistance in cases of undeserved want, such as unemployment, old-age sickness, etc (Article 41)
  3. To secure just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief. (Article 42)
  4. To secure work, a living wage, a decent standard of life, leisure and social and cultural opportunities for people and in particular to promote cottage industries. (Article 43)
  5. The state shall take steps by suitable legislation or in any other way to secure the participation of workers in the management of under takings, establishments or other organizations engaged in any industry, (Article 43(A))
  6. To secure a uniform civil code applicable to the entire country. (Article 44)
  7. To provide within ten years from the commencement of the Constitution, free and compulsory education to all children up to the age of fourteen years. (Article 45)

  1. To promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, especially, the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. (Article 46)
  2. To secure the improvement of public health and the prohibition of intoxicating drinks and drugs. (Article 47)
  3. To organize agriculture and animal husbandry on scientific lines and preserve and improve the breeds and prohibit the slaughter of cows, calves and other milch and draught cattle. (Article 48)
  4. The state shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country. (Article 48(A))
  5. To protect all monuments of historic interest and national importance. (Article 49)
  6. To bring about the separation of the Judiciary from the Executive. (Article 50)
  7. To endeavour to secure (a) the promotion of international peace and security; (b) the maintenance of justice and honourable relations between nations; and (c) the settlement of international disputes by arbitration.(Article 51)

Though, Directive Principles are not enforceable by the court of law, yet it should be clearly understood, that these are not to be treated merely platitudes, but are to be put into application systematically in order to transform Indian society and bring about a social order in conformity with these principles.

   The efforts of the government to realize the goals set through the Directive Principles can be seen in the Five Year Plan priorities and various welfare acts passed by the state. The central objective of government policies and national efforts, as envisaged through the Five Year Plans have been the promotion of speedy and balanced economic development which in turn raise the economic status of the people thus raise their standard of living. Such development is intended to expand the society’s purchasing and productive capacity and to open the various new opportunities for the welfare of the society. It simply means that the pattern of development should be linked and related to the basic objectives, enshrined under the Directive Principles, The basic objective may be sum up in a phrase ‘Socialistic pattern of Society’.

How far the state has moved towards the realization of these principles is a point of analysis and discussion? Nevertheless, an impartial observer can see the directions towards which the policy of state is directed It may be slow in pace but positive in directions.

It is true that the state could not achieve fully the objectives; laid down under these principles, yet a lot of efforts are made to realize the theme set out under these principles. It is a good sign that every new government pledges in their election manifestoes to achieve the goal of a welfare state.

During the debate, at the time of introducing the fourth Amendment to the Constitution, the then Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, observed that where there was conflict between a Fundamental Right and a Directive Principles the latter should prevail. So far nature of Directive Principles is concerned from judicial point of view these are not enforceable but this is the judicial point of view. Whenever, the court is called upon to resolve a conflict between a Fundamental Right and a Directive Principle, it is the duty of the court to decide in favour of the Fundamental Right.

   The significance and importance of Directive Principles in relation to Fundamental Right can be seen only by making a reference to the object of constitutional makers, in making these principles as integral part of the Constitution. These are not simply the pious wishes of the Constitution makers. Every endeavour must be made by the state to transfer these principles into reality. Nothing is allowed to come in their way, not even the Fundamental Rights. The theme of the arguments is that the progress and welfare of society as a whole must not be hampered and obstructed by the rights of an individual even if it is the Fundamental Rights. That’s why; most of the Fundamental Rights are subjected to reasonable restrictions and exceptions. Generally, there can be no real conflict between the two as they are ultimately related and in fact complementary to establish a welfare state. Welfare of a state means welfare of its people, welfare of the people over all results in welfare of the state.

The real importance and value of embodying these principles as an integral part of the Constitution lies in the fact that they contain a positive obligation on the part of state and for the achievement of goal of a welfare state; these are the guiding principles which are pious and sacred in nature.