What are Directive Principles of State Policy?

The Directive Principles of State Policy constitute another important feature of the Indian Constitution. It is an idealistic and philosophical chapter in the Indian Constitution, which contains various aims and aspirations to be fulfilled by the State in distant future. They provide the much-desired philosophy of the Constitution and give "an Instrument of Instructions" to the Government to follow the specific policies.

Underlying idea behind the Directive Principles is that whichever party may possess the rein of administration should implement these constitutional ideals.

While incorporating the chapter on Directive Principles, the framers of the Constitution were inspired by the Spanish and Irish constitutional practices. While in the Spanish and Irish Constitutions there are brief references to a few of the Directive Principles, the Indian Constitution contains an elaborate and exhaustive list of Directive Principles.

A close scrutiny of the Directive Principles in our Constitution reveals that they contain Social, Gandhian, and Liberal ideas. The particular aim of these Directive Principles is to make India a Welfare State by introducing measures of socialism in economic sphere, to provide social security and better standards of sanitation and care for all, to emphasize duty towards women and children and the obligations towards the backward and tribal classes.

These principles are, however, not enforceable in any Court nor the Constitution imposes any duty to apply these principles in making laws. While Fundamental Rights are negative in character, the Directive Principles set forth a positive programmed for the State to be implemented at its own convenience.

Although they are not enforceable in the Courts, the Constitution solemnly proclaims them to be "fundamental in the governance of the country and it shall be the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws". These principles are to serve "as a sign post and guide the State in its entire works."