Do you think that constitutional makers made a mistake by making DPSP non-justiciable as it is affecting social and economic justice?
The Directive Principles of State Policy of India (DPSP) are the guidelines or the principles given to the federal institutes governing the State of India, to be kept in mind while framing laws and policies. These provisions are not 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.
While Fundamental Rights aim for the political welfare of the citizens; the DPSP aims to institute social and economic welfare for its citizens. However, unlike Fundamental Rights, DPSP has been made non-justiciable. This has led to some constitutional experts opining that DPSP are just pious superfluities and compared them to ‘a cheque payable only when the resources of the bank permit’.
- This non-justifiable nature of the DPSP has affected the cause of social and economic justice in the country since:
- Political rights without meaningful social and economic rights do not lead to increase in either the standard or the quality of life of citizens in a country. Ex: Human Development Index of India is less compared to other developing and
- In spite of Fundamental rights provided to citizens of India; there still remains widespread gender disparity, social inequalities, income inequality in India etc
- In spite of positive public consensus on certain DPSP and required economic strength in the government; there has been no adequate implementation of the same on it because of lack of political will. Ex: Passing women reservation in the Parliament which could bring down gender disparity in the country
- Making them justiciable would have reduced the legal conflicts which arose due to conflict between Fundamental Rights and DPSP. This could have accelerated the reform agenda of the government. Ex: Land reforms
- By making certain issues such as ‘Uniform Civil Code’ non-justiciable, constitutional makers failed to wield the whole of India into one single nation.
However, it would be unfair to assume the above position in its totality since:
- DPSP have acted as a moral obligation on parties ever since the independence in guiding them in crucial policymaking.
- Several laws have been passed by the government to implement some of the DPSP. Ex: Equal remuneration Act, MGNREGA (to provide livelihood), Ayushman Bharat etc
- Even the judiciary has opined that the constitution of India is based on the balance between Fundamental Rights and DPSP; thereby giving special emphasis to DPSP in certain cases.
4.By making certain issues such as ‘Uniform Civil Code’ as non-justiciable, constitutional makers avoided a possible threat to social fabric of the Indian society in the initial years.
Just because DPSP are not justiciable doesn’t mean they are superfluous. Their importance has been always interpreted by Court, opposition parties and civil society organizations to keep a check on the government and make them accountable for establishing a welfare state.