Role of the Legislature in Upholding the Directive Principles

Albeit held non-justiciable, the Government of India was enthusiastic to implement the goals mentioned in part IV of the Constitution. Recurring judicial rulings supplemented by conflicts with Fundamental Rights led to a plethora of Constitutional amendments from time to time. Also, the harmony between the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles find its place in the Basic Structure Doctrine. 

After the Champakam Dorairajan case (1951), the first amendment (1951) inserted clause 4 to Article 15 of the Constitution that empowered the parliament to make any special provision for the advancement of the socially and economically backward classes or the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes. This amendment is complementary to article 46, a Directive Principle that asks the state to promote the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the society, especially the SCs and the STs. In 2005, clause 5 to the same article was inserted that provided special provisions for the backward classes, especially in educational institutions.

Directive Principles of State Policy - Radian Learning


 In 1976, the State decided to allot some vacant lands for the slum dwellers. A special census was conducted to populate a list of slum dwellers and some were given identity cards by the State. 

Several Zamindari abolition acts were passed in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh and the Zamindars filed petitions in the High Courts and the apex court on the ground that it violated their fundamental right to property. To thwart unfavourable decisions from the court and to ensure social justice, the first amendment inserted articles 31A, 31B and the 9th schedule to the Constitution of India. Article 31A protected estate laws passed by the legislatures of any State or the Parliament from the attack on the ground that it violated the Fundamental Rights. Also, Article 31B held that any law placed in the 9th schedule of the Constitution would be immune from any such attack on the ground that it violated the Fundamental Rights. The Fourth Amendment Act of 1955 extended the protection of Art. 31A to other types of social welfare regulations and inserted seven more acts in the 9th schedule. The 17th Amendment Act of 1964 inserted as many as 44 acts in the 9th schedule. 

The 25th Amendment Act of 1972 added Article 31C to the Constitution of India lent further clearance to the primacy of the Directive Principles under Article 39(b) and 39(c). The 29th Amendment added Kerala Land Reforms (Amendment) Act into the 9th schedule. The 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 amended article 31C by protecting all the laws intended to implement any of the Directive Principles from any attack based on the violation of Fundamental Rights. Also, 14 commercial banks were nationalized in 1969 followed by six more private banks in 1980. The 26th Amendment Act of 1971 abolished the privy purse system. The 39th Amendment incorporated the Sick Textiles Undertakings (Nationalization) Act of 1974 in the 9th schedule. The Act empowered the National Textile Corporation to take over the management of sick mills. It was followed by the 44th Amendment that finally removed the Right to Property from Fundamental Rights and placed it under Article 300A. 

Section 304 of the CrPC, 1973 recognizes the right to free legal aid that is placed under Article 39A as a Directive Principle. The 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution realized the implementation of Article 40 that encouraged the Government to organize Panchayats. The 86th Amendment Act of 2002 transferred Article 45 from the Directive Principles to the Fundamental Rights under Article 21(A) [Right to Education]. 

Various environment protection acts were passed by the Government of India in support of Article 48A of the Constitution of India, which is a Directive Principle. Some important laws of this genre, inter alia, are:

  • Wildlife Protection Act, 1972
  • Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1977
  • Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980
  • Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
  • Wildlife Protection (Amendment) Act, 1991
  • National Environmental Tribunal Act, 1995

20 out of 28 states in India had passed anti-cow slaughter regulations in sync with Article 48 of the Directive Principles. The consumption of liquor is banned in the states of Gujrat (1960), Nagaland (1989), Bihar (2016) and Mizoram (2019) to give effect to Article 47 of the Directive Principles. 

Equal Remuneration Act was passed in 1976 to give effect to Article 39(d) followed by the implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 to give effect to Article 41 of the Directive Principles. 

The measures adopted by the Government to promote Skill Development, enhance Public Distribution Systems, family healthcare and general health schemes including the AYUSH, ICDS, INDRADHANUSH, AAYUSHMAN BHARAT, NHM, etc. comes under the ambit of protecting social goals.