Definition: In this Part, unless the context otherwise requires, "the State" has the same meaning as in Part III.
Application of the principles contained in this Part
The provisions contained in this Part shall not be enforceable by any court, but the principles therein laid down are nevertheless fundamental in the governance of the country and it shall be the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws.
State to secure a social order for the promotion of welfare of the people
(1) The State shall strive to promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may a social order in which justice, social, economic and political, shall inform all the institutions of the national life.
(2) The State shall, in particular, strive to minimise the inequalities in income, and endeavour to eliminate inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities, not only amongst individuals but also amongst groups of people residing in different areas or engaged in different vocations.
Certain principles of policy to be followed by the State
The State shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing—
(a) That the citizens, men and women equally, have the right to an adequate means of livelihood;
(b) That the ownership and control of the material resources of the community are so distributed as best to subserve the common good;
(c) That the operation of the economic system does not result in the concentration of wealth and means of production to the common detriment;
(d) That there is equal pay for equal work for both men and women;
(e) that the health and strength of workers, men and women, and the tender age of children are not abused and that citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their age or strength;
(f) That children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and that childhood and youth are protected against exploitation and against moral and material abandonment.
Equal justice and free legal aid
The State shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice, on a basis of equal opportunity, and shall, in 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.
Organisation of village panchayats
The State shall take steps to organise village panchayats and endow them with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-government.
Right to work, to education and to public assistance in certain cases
The State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and in other cases of undeserved want.
Provision for just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief
The State shall make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief.
Living wage, etc., for workers
The State shall endeavour to secure, by suitable legislation or economic organisation or in any other way, to all workers, agricultural, industrial or otherwise, work, a living wage, conditions of work ensuring a decent standard of life and full enjoyment of leisure and social and cultural opportunities and, in particular, the State shall endeavour to promote cottage industries on an individual or co-operative basis in rural areas.
Participation of workers in management of industries
The State shall take steps, by suitable legislation or in any other way, to secure the participation of workers in the management of undertakings, establishments or other organisations engaged in any industry.
Uniform civil code for the citizens
The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.
Provision for early childhood care and education to children below the age of six years
The State shall endeavour to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years.
Promotion of educational and economic interests of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other weaker sections
The State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.
Duty of the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health
The State shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties and, in particular, the State shall endeavour to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health.
Organisation of agriculture and animal husbandry
The State shall endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.
Protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forests and wild life
The State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wild life of the country.
Protection of monuments and places and objects of national importance
It shall be the obligation of the State to protect every monument or place or object of artistic or historic interest, declared by or under law made by Parliament to be of national importance, from spoliation, disfigurement, destruction, removal, disposal or export, as the case may be.
Separation of judiciary from executive
The State shall take steps to separate the judiciary from the executive in the public services of the State.
Promotion of international peace and security
The State shall endeavour to—
(a) Promote international peace and security;
(b) Maintain just and honourable relations between nations;
(c) Foster respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings of organised peoples with one another; and
(d) Encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration.
Some other Directives outside the Part IV of the constitution
1. Article 335 Claims of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to services and posts. It has to be taken into consideration by the Union or State (as the case may be).
2. Article 350A Facilities for instruction in mother-tongue at primary stage should be made available by the respective authorities.
3. Article 351 Directive for development of the Hindi language. It is the duty of the Union to promote Hindi Language.
The amemdments made to the constitution to implement directives:
Further, two new Chapters i.e. IX consisting of 16 Articles, IX-A consisting of 18 Articles, and two new Schedules Eleven and Twelve were added to the Constitution by 73rd & 74th Amendment in order to give effect to the Directives under Art. 40. Hence, it can be executed through Courts like any other constitutional rights though it is not a fundamental right.
Further, in view of the insertion of a New Art. 21-A, by the 93rd Amendment Act, providing free and compulsory education to all children of age 6 to 14 is declared as Fundamental Right in order to implement one of the directives under Art.45
Directive Principles of State Policy in detail:
Right to work
Article 41 of the Constitution provides that "the State shall within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and in other cases of undeserved want."(Article 6 of the ICESCR) Article 38 states that the state shall strive to promote the welfare of the people and article 43 states it shall endeavour to secure a living wage and a decent standard of life to all workers. One of the contexts in which the problem of enforceability of such a right was posed before the Supreme Court was of large-scale abolition of posts of village officers in the State of Tamil Nadu in India. In negating the contention that such an abolition of posts would fall foul of the DPSP, the court said:
It is no doubt true that Article 38 and Article 43 of the Constitution insist that the State should endeavour to find sufficient work for the people so that they may put their capacity to work into economic use and earn a fairly good living. But these articles do not mean that everybody should be provided with a job in the civil service of the State and if a person is provided with one he should not be asked to leave it even for a just cause.
If it were not so, there would be justification for a small percentage of the population being in Government service and in receipt of regular income and a large majority of them remaining outside with no guaranteed means of living. It would certainly be an ideal state of affairs if work could be found for all the able-bodied men and women and everybody is guaranteed the right to participate in the production of national wealth and to enjoy the fruits thereof. But we are today far away from that goal.
The question whether a person who ceases to be a government servant according to law should be rehabilitated by being given an alternative employment is, as the law stands today, a matter of policy on which the court has no voice. (K.Rajendran v. State of Tamil Nadu (1982) 2 SCC 273, para. 34, p. 294.). But the court has since then felt freer to interfere even in areas which would have been considered to be in the domain of the policy of the executive. Where the issue was of regularizing the services of a large number of casual (non permanent) workers in the posts and telegraphs department of the government, the court has not hesitated to invoke the DPSP to direct such regularization. The explanation was:
Even though the above directive principle may not be enforceable as such by virtue of Article 37 of the Constitution of India, it may be relied upon by the petitioners to show that in the instant case they have been subjected to hostile discrimination.
It is urged that the State cannot deny at least the minimum pay in the pay scales of regularly employed workmen even though the Government may not be compelled to extend all the benefits enjoyed by regularly recruited employees. We are of the view that such denial amounts to exploitation of labour. The Government cannot take advantage of its dominant position, and compel any worker to work even as a casual labourer on starvation wages. It may be that the casual labourer has agreed to work on such low wages. That he has done because he has no other choice. It is poverty that has driven him to that state. The Government should be a model employer. We are of the view that on the facts and in the circumstances of this case the classification of employees into regularly recruited employees and casual employees for the purpose of paying less than the minimum pay payable to employees in the corresponding regular cadres particularly in the lowest rungs of the department where the pay scales are the lowest is not tenable . It is true that all these rights cannot be extended simultaneously. But they do indicate the socialist goal. The degree of achievement in this direction depends upon the economic resources, willingness of the people to produce and more than all the existence of industrial peace throughout the country. Of those rights the question of security of work is of utmost importance.
In Bandhua Mukti Morcha v. Union of India, (1984) 3 SCC 161 a PIL by an NGO highlighted the deplorable condition of bonded laborers in a quarry in Haryana, not very far from the Supreme Court. A host of protective and welfare-oriented labor legislation, including the Bonded Labour (Abolition) Act and the Minimum Wages Act, were being observed in the breach. In giving extensive directions to the state government to enable it to discharge its constitutional obligation towards the bonded laborers, the court said: The right to live with human dignity enshrined in Article 21 derives its life breath from the Directive Principles of State Policy and particularly clauses (e) and (f) of Article 39 and Article 41 and 42 and at the least, therefore, it must include protection of the health and strength of workers, men and women, and of the tender age of children against abuse, opportunities and facilities for children to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity, educational facilities, just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief.
These are the minimum requirements which must exist in order to enable a person to live with human dignity and no State has the right to take any action which will deprive a person of the enjoyment of these basic essentials.
Since the Directive Principles of State Policy contained in clauses (e) and (f) of Article 39, Articles 41 and 42 are not enforceable in a court of law, it may not be possible to compel the State through the judicial process to make provision by statutory enactment or executive fiat for ensuring these basic essentials which go to make up a life of human dignity, but where legislation is already enacted by the State providing these basic requirements to the workmen and thus investing their right to live with basic human dignity, with concrete reality and content, the State can certainly be obligated to ensure observance of such legislation, for inaction on the part of the State in securing implementation of such legislation would amount to denial of the right to live with human dignity enshrined in Article 21, more so in the context of Article 256 which provides that the executive power of every State shall be so exercised as to ensure compliance with the laws made by Parliament and any existing laws which apply in that State.
Thus the court converted what seemed a non-justiciable issue into a justiciable one by invoking the wide sweep of the enforceable article 21. More recently, the court performed a similar exercise when, in the context of articles 21 and 42, it evolved legally binding guidelines to deal with the problems of sexual harassment of women at the work place (Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan (1997) 6 SCC 241.).
The right of workmen to be heard at the stage of winding up of a company was a contentious issue. In a bench of five judges that heard the case the judges that constituted the majority that upheld the right were three. The justification for the right was traced to the newly inserted article 43-A, which asked the state to take suitable steps to secure participation of workers in management. The court observed: It is therefore idle to contend 32 years after coming into force of the Constitution and particularly after the introduction of article 43-A in the Constitution that the workers should have no voice in the determination of the question whether the enterprises should continue to run or be shut down under an order of the court.
Right to shelter
Unlike certain other ESC rights, the right to shelter, which forms part of the right to an adequate standard of living under article 11 of the ICESCR, finds no corresponding expression in the DPSP. This right has been seen as forming part of article 21 itself. The court has gone as far as to say, "The right to life . . . would take within its sweep the right to food and a reasonable accommodation to live in." However, given that these observations were not made in a petition by a homeless person seeking shelter, it is doubtful that this declaration would be in the nature of a positive right that could be said to be enforceable.
On the other hand, in certain other contexts with regard to housing for the poor, the court has actually refused to recognize any such absolute right.
In Olga Tellis v. Bombay Municipal Corporation (1985) 3 SCC 545 the court held that the right to life included the right to livelihood. The petitioners contended that since they would be deprived of their livelihood if they were evicted from their slum and pavement dwellings, their eviction would be tantamount to deprivation of their life and hence be unconstitutional. The court, however, was not prepared to go that far. It denied that contention, saying:
No one has the right to make use of a public property for a private purpose without requisite authorisation and, therefore, it is erroneous to contend that pavement dwellers have the right to encroach upon pavements by constructing dwellings thereon. If a person puts up a dwelling on the pavement, whatever may be the economic compulsions behind such an act, his use of the pavement would become unauthorised.
Later benches of the Supreme Court have followed the Olga Tellis dictum with approval. In Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Gurnam Kaur, (1989) 1 SCC 101. The court held that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi had no legal obligation to provide pavement squatters alternative shops for rehabilitation as the squatters had no legal enforceable right.
In Sodan Singh case (1989) 4 SCC 155 a constitution bench of the Supreme Court reiterated that the question whether there can at all be a fundamental right of a citizen to occupy a particular place on the pavement where he can squat and engage in trade must be answered in the negative. These cases fail to account for socioeconomic compulsions that give rise to pavement dwelling and restrict their examination of the problem from a purely statutory point of view rather than the human rights perspective.
Fortunately, a different note has been struck in a recent decision of the court. In Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation v. Nawab Khan Gulab Khan, (1997) 11 SCC 123 in the context of eviction of encroachers in a busy locality of Ahmadabad city, the court said: Due to want of facilities and opportunities, the right to residence and settlement is an illusion to the rural and urban poor. Articles 38, 39 and 46 mandate the State, as its economic policy, to provide socio-economic justice to minimise inequalities in income and in opportunities and status. It positively charges the State to distribute its largesse to the weaker sections of the society envisaged in Article 46 to make socio-economic justice a reality, meaningful and fruitful so as to make life worth living with dignity of person and equality of status and to constantly improve excellence.
Though no person has a right to encroach and erect structures or otherwise on footpaths, pavements or public streets or any other place reserved or earmarked for a public purpose, the State has the constitutional duty to provide adequate facilities and opportunities by distributing its wealth and resources for settlement of life and erection of shelter over their heads to make the right to life meaningful.
Directive Principles: Universalisation of Education, Child Labour and Status of Women Universalisation of Education
The percentage of literate people at the time of independence was only 14%. Our government realized the importance of education and laid stress on the spread of literacy among the masses. Efforts have been made by the governments to raise this level. But a large section of our population is still illiterate. The foremost effort which is required in this field-is the spread of elementary education and its universalisation. Due to increased number of drop outs at the primary stage, the number of illiterates between 15 to 35 years of age has constantly increased.
According to National Policy on Education, 1986, the government has launched National Literacy Mission and ‘Operation Blackboard’ for the spread of mass literacy at primary stage.
For those who were deprived of the benefits of education in their childhood, the government and many voluntary agencies are making special efforts to educate them by opening night schools and adult literacy centres.
Many distance education programmes through correspondence courses, distance education and open learning have been started in different states. The National Institute of Open Schooling and several Open Universities have been set up to attain the goal of universalisation of education. The Directive Principles providing free and compulsory education for children up to the age of 14 years has been included through the 86th Amendment Act, 2002 in the list of Fundamental Rights under Article 21A.
Though much has been achieved but still there is a long way to go to accomplish this objective of a welfare state.
You have already read that one of the Directive Principles provides opportunities and facilities to children to develop in a healthy manner. You have also read about the Fundamental Right against Exploitation of children. Employment of children below the age of 14 years in mines and industries which are hazardous to their health is prohibited.
In spite of these provisions, the desired results have not been reached. In most of the cases, the parents attitude is not conducive to the elimination of child labour. They force their children to do some sort of work to earn money and contribute to the family income.
Poverty and social stigma are certain constraints on the path of eradication of this problem apart from the lack of will. All efforts by governments at various levels would prove futile unless the willingness and awareness to get rid of the social challenge comes from within. Dr. Abdul Kalam’s ‘dream of developed India 2020’ can be achieved only when the children who are the future of the country are secured and protected from being exploited. The children should not be deprived of their right to enjoy childhood and right to education.
Status of Women
Indian society basically is a male dominated society in which father has been head of the family and mother’s position has been subordinated to him. The position of a woman in such a system is naturally weak. Women have been suffering a great deal on account of cruel social customs and religious practices like, pardah and dowry etc.
Women as an integral part, account for 495.74 million and represent 48.3% of the country’s total population as per 2001 census.
Necessity of raising the status and education of women has already been stressed in our Constitution through Fundamental Rights and various Directive Principles of State Policy. They have been provided with the right to an adequate means of livelihood and equal pay with that of men for their work. Women workers have also been provided for health-care and maternity-relief.
Even in the Fundamental Duties stress has been laid on the duty of every citizen of India to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women. Many laws and judicial decisions have restored the dignity of women. To protect their rights, measures have been taken to give them share in the family property. For their emancipation from cruel practices like bride burning for dowry, wife beating, sati etc. Laws have been enacted. Prohibition of female infanticide, foeticide, discrimination against girl child and child-marriage are some of the other measures that will help in improving the status of women.
To empower women, reservation of one third of seats through the 73rd and 74th Amendment Act, 1991, 1992 for them has been made in the Panchayats and Municipalities. There is a similar proposal for reservation of seats for them in the Parliament and in the state Legislatures.
Uniform Civil Code
Article 44 of the constitution of India lists Uniform Civil Code as one of the Directive Principles of state policy. Directive Principles of State policy, which comprises the Part IV of the Constitution of India, are guidelines for the State and Central governments to help them in framing laws and policies. However these Directive Principles "shall not be enforceable by any court, but the principles therein laid down are nevertheless fundamental in the governance of the country and it shall be the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws", according to Article 37 of the Constitution which talks about the application of the Principles contained in Part IV.
In India, there are different set of laws for different communities pertaining to personal matters like marriage, divorce, property, adoption, inheritance and maintenance.
The Uniform Civil Code implies covering all these personal laws into one unified set of a secular law, that will be applicable for each and every citizen of India irrespective of his/her religious community.
However, in India, Goa is the only state to have implemented the directive principle on the Uniform Civil Code and converted it into a law called the Goa Civil Code or the Goa Family Law.
It is the set of civil laws that governs all the Goans irrespective of the religion or the ethnicity to which they belong.
Organisation of village Panchayats
Article 40 of the Constitution which enshrines one of the Directive Principles of State Policy lays down that the State shall take steps to organise village panchayats and endow them with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-government. In the light of the experience in the last forty years and in view of the short-comings which have been observed, it is considered that there is an imperative need to enshrine in the Constitution certain basic and essential features of Panchayati Raj Institutions to impart certainty, continuity and strength to them.
Accordingly, it is proposed to add a new Part relating to Panchayats in the Constitution to provide for among other things, Gram Sabha in a village or group of villages; constitution of Panchayats at village and other level or levels; direct elections to all seats in Panchayats at the village and intermediate level, if any, and to the offices of Chairpersons of Panchayats at such levels; reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in proportion to their population for membership of Panchayats and office of Chairpersons in Panchayats at each level;
Reservation of not less than one-third of the seats for women; fixing tenure of 5 years for Panchayats and holding elections within a period of 6 months in the event of supersession of any Panchayat; disqualifications for membership of Panchayats; devolution by the State Legislature of powers and responsibilities upon the Panchayats with respect to the preparation of plans for economic developments and social justice and for the implementation of development schemes; sound finance of the Panchayats by securing authorisation from State Legislatures for grants-in-aid to the Panchayats from the Consolidated Fund of the State, as also assignment to, or appropriation by, the Panchayats of the revenues of designated taxes, duties, tolls and fees; setting up of a Finance Commission within one year of the proposed amendment and thereafter every 5 years to review the financial position of Panchayats; auditing of accounts of the Panchayats; powers of State Legislatures to make provisions with respect to elections to Panchayats under the superintendence, direction and control of the chief electoral officer of the State; application of the provisions of the Part to Union territories; excluding certain States and areas from the application of the provisions of the Part; continuance of existing laws and Panchayats until one year from the commencement of the proposed amendment and barring interference by courts in electoral matters relating to Panchayats.
Article 39A of the Constitution of India provides for free legal aid to the poor and weaker sections of the society and ensures justice for all. Article 14 and 22(1) of the constitution also make it obligatory for the State to ensure equality before law and a legal system which promotes justice on the basis of equal opportunity to all, In 1987, the Legal Services Authorities Act was enacted by the Parliament which came into force on 9th November, 1995 with an object to establish a nationwide uniform network for providing free and competent legal services to the weaker sections of the society on the basis of equal opportunity. The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) has been constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to monitor and evaluate implementation of legal services available under the Act.
Hon'ble Mr. Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, the Chief Justice of India is the Patron-in-Chief and Hon'ble Mr. Justice S.B. Sinha, Judge Supreme Court of India, is the Executive Chairman of the Authority.
In every State, a State Legal Services Authority and in every High Court, a High Court Legal Services Committee has been constituted.
District Legal Services Authorities and Taluka Legal Services Committees have been constituted in the Districts and most of the Talukas in order to give effect to the policies and directions of the NALSA and to provide free legal services to the people and conduct Lok Adalats in the State. The State Legal Services Authorities are chaired by Hon'ble Chief Justice of the respective Districts and the Taluk a Legal Services Committees are chaired by the Judicial Officers at the Taluka Level.
Supreme Court Legal Services Committee has been constituted to administer and implement the legal services programme in so far as it relates to the Supreme Court of India.
Participation of workers in management of industries
Under the Government of India’s 20-Point Economic Programmes, a new scheme of shops and plants councils was introduced in 1975 after the emergency was declared in June 1975. In the following year 1976, the Government of India amended the constitution to incorporate workers participation in management as one of the Directive Principles of State Policy.
In June 1977, the Government of India set up a high-powered Expert Committee on Companies and MRTP Acts under the Chairmanship of Rajinder Sachar with terms of reference to:
(i) Consider the provisions of the Companies Act and MRTP Act and
(ii) To suggest measures participation in management and share capital of companies can be brought about. The Sachar Committee submitted its report in August 1978.
Meanwhile, the Janata Government also set up a "Committee Workers’ Participation Management and Equity" in September 1977 under the Chairmanship of Ravindra Varma the then Union Minister of Labour. The Committee consisted of 18 members representing Central Organisations of trade unions and employers and some of the States and professional institutions of management.
The strength of Committee increased to 21 by nominating three additional members in January 1978. The terms of reference of the Committee were to consider, among other things, the need for a statutory scheme for workers’ participation in management. The Committee was also to study and recommend an outline of a comprehensive scheme of workers participation at different levels of management in industrial establishments and undertakings.
The Committee submitted its report to the Government in March 1979. The report showed that the majority of the members favoured adoption of a three-tier system of participation, viz., at the shop, plant and corporate or board levels.
However, the employer of private sector did not favour board or corporate level participation in management. It also recommended to enact legislation on workers participation in management covering all undertakings, be public or private, employing 500 or more workers.
The Government accepted the recommendations made by the 21-Member Committee on Workers’ Participation in Management and Equity. Based on a review of the working of the various schemes of workers’ participation in management and experiences so gamed the Government formulated and notified a new comprehensive scheme on a voluntary basis for ‘Workers’ Participation in Management’ on 30th December, 1983.
The salient features of the scheme were:
1. The scheme will be non-legislative.
2. It will apply to all central public sector enterprises, except those specifically exempted.
3. It envisaged constitution of bipartite forums at shop and plant levels.
4. The mode of representation of workers representatives was to be determined by consultation with the concerned unions.
5. A wide range of work related issues were brought within the ambit of the councils.
However, a host of constraints such as multiplicity of unions, inter-union rivalry, lack of proper knowledge on the part of workers about the scheme, etc., served as stumbling blocks in the successful working of the scheme.
Separation of judiciary from executive
Article 50 lays emphasis to separate judiciary from executive. But in practice we find that the executive also exercises the powers of judiciary as in appointment of judges. (Articles 124, 126 & Article 127). The legislative (either House of Parliament) also exercises judicial function in removal of President (Article 56) in the prescribed manner. Judiciary also exercises legislative power; High Court and Supreme Court are empowered to make certain rules legislative in character. Whenever High Court or the Supreme Court finds a certain provision of law against the Constitution or public policy it declares the same null and void, and then amendments may be incorporated in the Legal System. Some time High Court and Supreme Court formulate the principles on the point where law is silent. This power is also legislative in character.