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  • Paras Sharma

Relationship Between Fundamental Rights And Directive Principles

Written By: Rupali Jain, Student, Banasthali University


Sir B.N. Rau, the advisor of the constituent assembly recommended that the right should be divided into 2 parts i.e. justiciable and non- justiciable rights. So, fundamental rights are justiciable which were incorporated in part 3 and part 4 of the Constitution consists of non- justiciable principles i.e. directive principle of state policy.

Though the DPSP'S are non-justiciable and article 37[1] of the constitution makes clear that these principles are fundamental for governance of the country and it is the duty to applies directive principles in making law for the welfare of the society. It is non- enforceable in the court of law, if such a law is passed to give an effect to one or more directive principle and which violates one or more fundamentals then it is considered a valid?

For instance, when the central government gives direction to the state concerning the implementation of principles and in case of non- compliance leads to dismissal of the state government. That means the directive principle can lead to a constitutional conflict between Central and state, between the prime minister and President and between Governor and chief minister. The DPSP's are conservative and might be entirely out model in the 21st century. The fundamental rights and DPSP's are supplementary to each other as the implementation of them creates a favorable environment for full and proper enjoyment of the fundamental rights by citizens. This serves as a test for the performance of the government. Now the individual have a right to review all the policies and programs of the government which threw the light on constitution declaration or implementations. The tussle of supremacy is continuously going on between the fundamental rights and directive principles. It becomes difficult to decide who is supreme?


Article 37 states that the directive principle is not enforceable in the court of law but fundamental rights are enforceable. However, it continues at state that nevertheless the directive principle of fundamental in the governance of the country. The state must have to incorporate the directive principle in the policies formulated by the execution in the law enacted by the legislature. If such a law is partial which give effect to one or more directive principle, equal is one or more fundamental rights then. Hence the phases of tussle between both of them-

First phase –

The directive principles are subordinate to the fundamental rights

Initially, the judiciary held that directive principles are subordinate to the fundamental rights and if any inconsistency arises then the Fundamental would prevail over DPSP's.

State of Madras v. champakam dorairajan, [2]

In case the Supreme Court passed an order which reserve the seat for admission into the state educational institute for the backward class. The court held that directive principles are Subordinate to the fundamental rights and directive principles shall confirm and subsidiary to the fundamental right. If any conflict between them arises then fundamental rights prevail over directive principles.

In the case of The State of West Bengal v. Mrs. Bella Banerjee and Others on 11 December 1953[3], the court again upheld the fundamental rights over DPSP's by providing just compensation for the land acquired by the state for social purpose.

Based on such a narrow interpretation of the social legislation including land reforms act which held to be a constitution provided by the Supreme Court.

However, after realizing the growing importance of the directive principle. The Supreme Court gave a wider interpretation of the provision of the constitution to be considered the fundamental rights and directive principle as far as possible.

In re-Kerala education bill [4]-:

The Supreme Court held that therein the conflict between fundamental rights and directive principles which get together and constitutes a single integrated scheme of existing political, social, and economical democracy in the country. Thus they are supplementary to each other.

Therefore, they must have to follow the principle of harmonious construction. Under which unlock state given effect to one or more directive principles which is capable of going to one or more interpretation and if they are of such an interpretation that directive principle belongs to confound by the fundamental rights and the other interpretation that leads to the conflict between them.

This is a mandate of the constitution not only to execute and legislature but also to the judiciary. However, it is capable of only one interpretation that if it leads to conflicts between directive principles and fundamental rights. The court shall have no choice between implementing the fundamental right in preference to the directive principle.

Based on this interpretation the Supreme Court said that the bank nationalism act and the privacy person abolition act, 1971 as an unconstitutional and void.

The parliament to overcome the obstruction in a comment of social legislation passed by the 25 Amendment acts, 1971 to introduce article 31(c). It states that if it stays inactive analogue which is giving effect to the article under 39(b) and 39(c) in the process. If the laws violate the fundamental rights doesn't declare as unconstitutional and void merely on the ground of DPSP's. It further stated that any declaration made to the state that the law is to give effect to article 39(b) and 39(c) cannot be challenged in the court of law. For the first time to directive principle given under article 39(b) and(c) where are given precedence over three fundamental rights that is article 14, 19 21.

The Second Phase (1967 - 1971)

In which fundamental rights are superior to directive principles.

In I.C.Golaknath V. state of Punjab, 1967 [5]case the fundamental rights were held sacrosanct i.e. non-amendable. The judges did not indicate what would happen in the case of conflict between the fundamental rights and directive principles. It was further stated that fundamental rights and DPSP's are formed as an integral scheme that was elastic enough to respond to the changing needs of the society.

The Supreme Court held the Bank National act, 1969, and Privy Purse abolition act, 1970 was declared as unconstitutional as it violates the fundamental rights. Hence it clear that the fundamental rights will prevail over DPSP's.

The Third Phase (1972-1975)

The rights can be amended to implement directive principles.

The government passed the 24th amendment act 1971 declared that the parliament has the power to amend any provision including part 3 of the constitution. It was necessary to give effect to social-economic legislation under directive principles.

The parliament passes the 25th amendment act 1971 which introduces a new article 31(c) .which stated that if the state enacted any law that gives effect to the directive principle namely article 39(a) and 39 (b) cannot be challenged. If the process violates the fundamental right enumerated in article 14,19 and 31, such laws cannot be-

1. Held void for impinging the three fundamental rights.

2. Portion in any court of law.

The Supreme Court in the case of keshawananda Bharati v. State of Kerala,1973 [6] - the first part of article 31(c) is constitutionally valid. But it struck down the second part of it as unconstitutional and void that took away the power of judicial review of the court. Based on 2015 the bank Nationalist act and privy person abolition act were held to be constitutionally valid by Supreme Court under this reenactment.

THE FOURTH PHASE (1976-1980)

Directive principles are dominating over the fundamental rights

However, 4th CA act, 1976 amend an article 31(c) in 42nd amendment stated that the directive principle in process of law which isolated the fundamental rights given under article 14,19 and 31 such laws cannot be declared as unconstitutional and void merely on the ground that it violated the fundamental rights.

When the 42nd amendment act attempted to give presidents for all the directive principles under three fundamental rights given under article 14 19 and 31.

THE FIFTH PHASE (1980-....)

The directive principle and fundamental rights are complementary to each other.

The 44th amendment act,1978 has to remove article 31 from the list of fundamental rights. The supreme court of India in the case of Minerva Mills v. union of India[7]-It was held that the challenge introduced by the 42nd amendment in article 31(c) as an unconstitutional and void. On the ground that it described a balance between parts 3 and 4 of the constitution and constitute the balance between them and part of the basic structure of the constitution. This relationship between two directive principle that is under 39 (b) and (c) can prevail over two fundamental rights under article 14 and 19. The basic structure cannot be amended.

The Supreme Court held that there is no question arises to gave superiority to fundamental rights or directive principles, the Doctrine of harmonious construction should be applied because both fundamental rights and directive principles are complementary to each other, and both needed to be balanced.

Unni Krishnan v. state of Andhra Pradesh 1993 [8]

The court held that fundamental rights and DPSP's are not exclusive to each other, they are mutually inclusive with each other.

Hence the article 39(b) & 39(c) of DPSP's are given superiority over the Article 14 and19 of fundamental rights. So the state legislation or parliament has to consider DPSP's while implementing the laws for the welfare of the public.FER

References [1] Article 37 - Application of the principles contained in this part - provisions contained in this Part shall not be enforced 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. [2] 1951 (AIR 1951 SC 226) [3] 1954 AIR 170, 1954 SCR 558 [4] 1957 case 1959 1 SCR 995;Bench: S Das, B S Kapur, Bhagwati, S Das, J Imam, V Aiyar [5] AIR 1643, 1967 SCR (2) 762

[6] (1973) 4 SCC 225: AIR 1973 SC 1461 [7] 1980 AIR 1789, 1981 SCR (1) 206. [8] AIR 217, 1993 SCR (1) 594, 1993 SCC (1) 645, JT 1993 (1) 474, 1993 SCALE (1)290


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