Directive Principles of State Policy, Fundamental Rights & Duties: A Comparison

Directive Principles of State Policy, Fundamental Rights & Duties
Directive Principles of State Policy, Fundamental Rights & Duties

For Law Students- Important Exam Questions on the Directive Principles of State Policy-

  1. What is the importance of the Directive Principles of State Policy and what roles does it play in the establishment of an economic or social democracy?
  2. One of the essential features of the Constitution is the balance and harmony between its Direct Policy and Fundamental Rights. Discuss.
  3. Discuss the relationship between a non-judicial Direct Policy by the Constitution and a Judicial Direct Policy by the Indian Supreme Court
  4. Explain the decade-long quarrel and settlement of Directive Principles of State Policy and Fundamental Rights as enshrined in the Constitution.



The Indian Constitution made provision for the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP), the Fundamental Rights and the Fundamental Duties. The DPSP was defined as the State’s obligations to the people while the duties and rights are the obligations of the citizens to the people.

The DPSP drew its words from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the General Assembly of the United Nations, the Bill of Rights of the United States, the Bill of Rights of England and the Declaration of the Rights of Man in France.

The awareness on DPSP was created by the Indian Independence Movement and by 1947 – 1949; the Indian Constituency Assembly developed it as a part of the Indian Constitution. The Directive Principles, the Fundamental Duties, and Fundamental Rights are enshrined in Chapter III and Chapter IV of the Indian Constitution. Each Chapter shall be discussed accordingly.


Fundamental Duties

The definition of Fundamental Duties is the citizen’s moral obligations to help to uphold India’s unity and promote a spirit or sense of patriotism.

The Constitution made provision for the Fundamental duties and they include:

  • It is the duty of every Indian citizen to value, preserve and cherish our rich cultural heritage.
  • It is the duty of every Indian citizen to improve and protect our natural environment. Such an environment includes lakes, forests, rivers, wildlife, etc.
  • It is the duty of every Indian citizen to develop humanism, scientific temper, the spirit of reform and inquiry.
  • It is the duty of every Indian citizen to avoid violence and safeguard public property.
  • It is the duty of every Indian citizen who happens to be a parent to provide basic education for his or her child or children between ages six (6) to fourteen (14).
  • It is the duty of every Indian citizen to respect and abide by the constitution, the National Flag, and the National Anthem.
  • It is the duty of every Indian citizen to follow and cherish noble ideals that highlight our struggle for freedom.
  • It is the duty of every Indian citizen to uphold, protect and foster India’s unity, sovereignty, and integrity.


Fundamental Rights

Fundamental Rights are synonymous to Basic Human Rights. They are provided in Chapter III of the Constitution and are drawn to apply to all persons irrespective of color, race, and gender, place of birth, caste, creed, religion, and ideology. These rights are sometimes subject to specific restrictions but they are all enforceable by the courts.


Right to Equality-

The Right to Equality is one of the fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution. It is enshrined in Articles 14 – 18. Article 14 -16 bothers on the nondiscrimination on the grounds of color, race, and gender, place of birth, caste, creed, religion, and ideology.

This right is enforceable against private individuals including women and children, the physically challenged, and the State, although women and children have special additional rights; and equality before the law for all persons including Indian citizens and non-Indian citizens provided that such persons are on Indian soil.

Article 17 – 18 prohibits the practice of untouchability and the conferment of any title including the British nobility title except for academic and military distinction.


Right to Freedom-

The Right to Freedom is enshrined in Articles 19 – 22. It guarantees, although with restrictions, six (6) freedoms to Indian citizens in civil rights nature. These six freedoms are:

  • Freedom of speech and expression
  • Freedom of association
  • Freedom of movement
  • Freedom to practice any profession
  • Freedom to settle or reside in any part of the Indian territory
  • Freedom of assembly without firearms.

Some of the restrictions applied to this right are public order, contempt of the court, national security, defamation, decency and morality, and incitement to offenses.

The main concept of this right is that for a restriction to be applied, it must be reasonable, just, fair, and follow due process. This was iterated in the Supreme Court case of Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India.

In this case, the court added that the definition of life encompasses more than mere human and animal existence to include human dignity, health, livelihood, speedy trials, clean environment, and humane treatment while in prison, and other aspects of life.

Also, this section of human rights protects against double jeopardy, self-incrimination, ex-post facto laws. It grants every individual an opportunity to be in detention for only 24 hours and arraigned before a magistrate within 24 hours of arrest, to also consult a lawyer of one’s choice.

Right against Exploitation-

The Right against Exploitation prohibits the exploitation of all persons including children by offering them jobs without wages or remuneration.

It also prohibits human trafficking and forced labor. On the part of children, the constitution prohibits children less than 14 years of age from working in mines, factories or other hazardous places.

Additional backing for the Children is the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986. This Act creates penalties, punishments, and rehabilitation for such. The Right against Exploitation is covered under Articles 23 – 24 of the Indian Constitution.


Right To Freedom of Religion-

The Right to Freedom of Religion posits that all persons are entitled to his or her own religion. This right is enshrined under Articles 25 – 28 and provided that India is a secular nation. It owns no affiliations or standing with any religious bodies or organizations. But this right has its restrictions.

It posits that whatever religion a person opts for, it must consider public order, the power of the State as it pertains to measures of reform and social welfare, morality, and health.

Therefore, the right to freedom of religion comes with the right to propagate but it does not include the right to convert. Converting another person is an infringement of the person’s right to conscience.

Nonetheless, the State still has the powers to acquire the property of religious institution and also, religious institutions are not compelled to pay tax.


Cultural and Educational Rights and Rights to Constitutional Remedies-

There are the cultural and educational rights and the rights to constitutional remedies. The cultural and educational rights are enshrined in Articles 29 – 30.

It protects cultural rights, linguistics rights, minorities’ rights, and rights as it pertains to cultural heritage, distinct languages, etc.


Directive Principles of State Policy-

The Directive Principles of State Policy are defined as the directives or directions the State is given by its provisions in the constitution for the establishment of a social and economic democracy.

These directive principles were created by the Constituent Assembly in India and the State is expected to have these principles in mind when they create, adapt, frame, and pass laws and policies in the country.

The directive principles are not justiciable. That is, no provision as to whether it is enforceable in court or not was made in the Constitution.

Therefore, the court is not mandated to enforce it if it is not provided for by the State. The principles only serve as a guide on what the Indian Government ought to do for its citizens. These are provided under Chapter IV of the Constitution. Chapter IV comprises of Articles 36 – 51.

The Important Directive Principles are discussed below.

  • Article 36 stipulates that the State will ensure that it secures a social order for the advancement of justice, economic and political order for the people including the promotion of the people’s welfare.
  • Article 39 justifies equal work opportunity and equal wages and salaries for men and women. It shall also protect the children from Child Labour, Child Exploitation, Child Trafficking including making adequate provision and facilities for the healthcare of the children. This is seen with the passage of the Child Labour (Exploitation and Regulations) Act, 1986, etc.
  • Article 39-A is almost synonymous to Right to freedom. This Article stipulates that the State shall provide equal justice and access to free legal aid to its citizen.
  • Therefore, if a person is arrested, he shall not be detained for more than 24 hours and is expected to be arraigned before a magistrate within 24 hours. Such an individual is entitled to a counsel of his/her choice.
  • Article 40 covers for the decentralization of power for the organization of village Panchayat.
  • Article 41 provides the right for an Indian citizen to work and also have access to education. This creates room for persons studying and working either part time or full time. The aim is not to allow one to affect the other.
  • Article 42 highlights that persons employed shall be provided with just, better and human places of work. This includes factories, institutions, office complex, hazardous places of work, mines, etc.
  • Article 43 provides that the State shall create living wages for workers. This can also be described as a minimum wage. This is to ensure that the workers are not underpaid, or made to work without wages or remuneration.
  • Article 43 A provides that workers shall participate in the management system at their place of employment.
  • Article 44 covers for citizen’s Uniform Civil Codes.
  • Article 45 makes provision for the compulsory and free primary education for children. The free basic and compulsory education is intended for children less than 14 years.
  • Article 46 provides for economic and educational interest of Scheduled tribes, scheduled caste and other weaker sections in India.
  • Article 47 makes provision for the improvement of public health and public healthcare.
  • Article 48 is for the creation of the Organization for Animal husbandry and Agriculture while Article 48 A offers protection for the environment.
  • Article 49 protects monuments, objects and places of natural importance.
  • Article 50 is for separation of power. This separates power between the judiciary and the executives. It also grants both powers of autonomy and independence.
  • Article 51 is on the promotion of security and peace including international security and peace.

Differences between Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties and Directive Principles


S/N Fundamental Rights and Fundamental Duties Directive Principles
1.       They are rights created for benefit of the citizens. They are created to serve as a guide for lawmaking.
2.       They are enforceable in court. They are not enforceable in court.


3.       They are justiciable They are non-justiciable.
4.       They create negative obligations on the State because the State cannot create laws contrary to it.     They create positive obligations on the State. This means that any law created by the State that is contrary to it is not invalid.


An infringement of these rights ultimately results in a criminal cause of action    An infringement of these principles may not result in a lawsuit especially when the State does not make any provisions for it.




The Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties and Directive Principles are two sides of a coin that serve one purpose, the interest of the citizen. While rights and duties are fundamental and go to the root of how a citizen behaves or acts in the society, the other is a guideline for the State to create and pass laws.

The former was provided in the constitution to be enforceable in court while the other was not. Therefore, the decision to enforce a directive principle in court lies in the hands of the aggrieved and it is left for the court to decide whether to adjudicate it or not.



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