Part 3 of Constitution of India which consists of Article 12 to 35 deals with
Fundamental Rights. Part 4 of the Constitution which consists of Art. 36 to 51
deals with Directive Principles of State Policy.
We shall discuss the relation between Fundamental Rights and Directive
Principles of State Policy in following lines:
Fundamental Rights are enforceable by the courts while Directive Principles of
State Policy are not enforceable by courts . Under Article 32(1) of the
Constitution of India in case of infringement of Fundamental Rights a person has
right to move to the Supreme Court by appropriate proceedings .
Art. 32(2) of the Constitution provides:
- The Supreme Court shall have power to issue directions or orders or
writs, including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus,
prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari.
- Article 226(1) confers similar powers on the High Courts for the
enforcement of Fundamental Rights.
- There is no such provision for the enforcement of Directive Principles
of State Policy. According to Article 37 Directive Principles of State
Policy are not enforceable by any court.
- Fundamental Rights deal with civil and political right of the people
while Directive Principles of State Policy deal with socio and economic
right of the people.
- Fundamental Rights contain negative injunctions to the State not to do
various things, Directive Principles of State Policy command to the State to
promote what may be called a social and welfare State.
In its initial decisions Supreme Court gave more importance to the Fundamental
Rights. It declared Fundamental Rights to have overriding effect on Directive
Principles of State Policy. Later it tried to maintain balance in case of
conflict between the two. It tried to interpret them harmoniously. Afterwards
some the Directive Principles of State Policy have been declared enforceable
like that of the Fundamental Rights.
We shall study this in the light of following cases:
State of Madras v. Champakam Dorairajan. AIR 1951 SC 28 The Supreme Court observed as follows:
The Directive Principles of State Policy, which by Art.37 are expressly
made unenforceable by Courts cannot override the provisions found in Part 3
which, notwithstanding other provisions, are expressly made enforceable by
appropriate writs, orders or directions under Article 32. The Directive
Principles of State Policy have to conform and to run as subsidiary to the
Chapter on Fundamental Rights. In case of any conflict between Fundamental
Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy Fundamental Rights would
In Re Kerala Education Bill. AIR 1957 SC 956 The Supreme Court observed that though the directive principles cannot
override the fundamental rights, nevertheless, in determining the scope and
ambit of fundamental rights the court may not entirely ignore the directive
principles but should adopt the principle of harmonious construction and
should attempt to give effect to both as much as possible.
Kesvananda Bharati v. State of Kerala . AIR 1973 SC 1461 The Supreme Court has said – Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles
aim at the same goal of bringing about a social revolution and establishment
of a Welfare State and they can be interpreted and applied together. They
are supplementary and complementary to each other. It can well be said that
Directive Principles prescribed the goal to be attained and the Fundamental
Rights lay down the means by which that goal is to be achieved.
Unni Krishnan v. State of A.P. (1993) 1 SCC 645 The Supreme Court has affirmed the same view and observed - Fundamental
Rights and Directive Principles are supplementary and complementary to each
other and the provisions in Part 3 should be interpreted having regard to
the Preamble and Directive Principles of the State Policy.