[Answered] Discuss the importance and limitations of Part IV of the Indian Constitution.


Demand of the question

Introduction. Contextual introduction.

Body. Discuss the importance and limitations of Part IV of the Indian Constitution.

Conclusion. Way forward.


Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) is enshrined in Part-IV (Article 36 to 51) of the constitution. It guarantees social and economic democracy and tries to establish a welfare state. These are the ideals that the State should keep in mind while formulating policies and enacting laws.

Importance of DPSP:

  1. Socio-economic rights: Fundamental rights provide for political rights. DPSP supplement them by providing for social and economic rights.
  2. Sustainable development: DPSP are the principles of a welfare state in India. DPSP are important as it seeks to create a balance between economic progress and competition on one hand and environmental sustainability and social and economic equity on the other.
  3. Inequalities:With liberalisation and globalisation inequalities have increased as reflected in the Oxfam report, which says that India’s richest 1% holds over 40% of national wealth. Transition from socialist pattern of society to liberalization and market economy where inequalities were bound to come, it is the duty of the state to reduce these inequalities through tax structure, subsidies, various welfare schemes etc.
  4. Accountability: DPSPs are important as it allows the citizens to hold the government accountable in their policy formulations and implementation e.g. equality at work, minimum wages etc.
  5. Fair market: Globalization is based upon competition and monopolistic tendencies in the market. DPSP is important to provide a laissez faire business environment to industries.
  6. Human rights: Liberalisation and capitalism has scant regards to the human work environment, wages, gender sensitivity and labour concerns. DPSP are relevant to provide a humane work milieu, equal wages for equal work and increase quality of standard of living of workers. It also provides for participation of workers in management of industries for better harmonisation between workers interest and industrial interest.
  7. Human capital: Modern industries seek the best talent and most productive labour from the market having required skills and education. DPSP puts an obligation on the part of the government to provide free, compulsory and quality education up to primary level and improve public health.
  8. Environment: Further it obliges the government to protect and improve the environment and safeguard forest and wildlife in the era of indiscriminate exploitation and deforestation based globalization.
  9. Women rights: Liberalisation and globalisation has led to women empowerment. DPSP put an onus on the state to work towards women education, equal opportunity, equal wages, uniform civil code etc. that would further enhance women rights. Recent triple talaq act was in this direction.

Limitations of Part IV of the Indian Constitution:

  1. No Legal Force: The DPSP are non-justiciable in nature i.e. they are not legally enforceable by the courts for their violation.
  2. Constitutional Conflict: DPSP leads to constitutional conflict between Centre and states, Centre and President, Chief Minister and governor.
  3. Conflict with Fundamental rights: They can be amended to implement the fundamental rights.
  4. Constitutional validity: A law cannot be struck down by courts for violating DPSP.

In spite of above limitations, DPSP are fundamental to the governance of the country. DPSP still holds relevance in this globalised world for a better informed, productive, equity based and sustainable developmental model. There is an increasing realisation that these directives act as bedrocks for good governance and socio-economic justice in the society.

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