Q. Elaborate the relationship between fundamental rights and directive principles of state policy.


Question: Elaborate the relationship between fundamental rights and directive principles of state policy.


Critically examine the primary status of the fundamental rights over the directive principles of state policy. Refer the relevant case laws.





The Indian Constitution is the longest written constitution of the world. It is a living organ. Till now, it has been amended for the 104 times.

The concept of supremacy over each other, contradiction and relationship between part 3 and part 4 of the constitution is discussed several times in various judicial pronouncement, we’ll examine them.


Fundamental Rights in Constitution of India

The fundamental rights are the rights which are essential for every human being for their growth and development as being the member of the society. These are inherent in nature. These rights are assured by part 3 of Indian Constitution: articles 12-32.

Our Constitution mainly provides 6 heads of fundamental rights:

I.                     Right to equality: articles 14-18,

II.                   Right to freedom of speech: articles 19-22,

III.                 Right against exploitation: articles 23-24,

IV.                Right to religious freedom: articles 25-28,

V.                  Cultural and educational rights, specially for the minorities: articles 29-30, and

VI.                Right to constitutional remedy, in case of breach of any of the fundamental rights: article 32.


Directive principle of state policy: DPSP

These are the instruction which are given to the state, by our constitution makers to achieve the objectives mentioned in our preamble. The expression “Justice: social, economic, political” is sought to be achieved through DPSPs. It should be noted that unlike the fundamental rights, these are unenforceable in nature.

The provisions related to DPSP are given under articles 36-51 of our constitution. There is no formal classification is provided, when it comes to DPSP.

Some of them are as follows:

I.                     Free education,

II.                   Free legal aid,

III.                 Speedy trial,

IV.                Equal wages for equal work,

V.                  Right to livelihood,

VI.                Universal civil code etc.



Relationship Between DPSP and Fundamental Rights:

Directive principles and fundamental rights cannot be isolated with each other because there is interrelation between the two. The time and again, judiciary, by its creativeness, interpreted them so beautifully, that now it become a settle principle. Following some important cases are listed:


I.                     In the case titled State of Madras Vs Champakam Dorairajan: The Supreme Court was held that Directive Principles of State Policy cannot override the provisions contained in Part III of the Constitution of India but have to conform to and run as subsidiary to Fundamental Rights.


II.                   In the case of Golak Nath v. State of Punjab, The SC again dealt with this question. This time also, The SC had taken very rigid approach. It held that part 3 of our Constitution, cannot be diluted, diminished or taken away.

III.                 Re Kerala education bill:

In this case, the Supreme Court observed that though the directive principles cannot override the fundamental rights, and in determining the scope and ambit of fundamental rights the court may not entirely ignore the directive principles, but should adopt the principles of ‘harmonious construction’ so that there is no conflict between them and should attempt to give effect to both as much as possible by which harmony can be maintained between them.


IV.                In Kesvananda Bharati v. State of Kerala case, the court held in its observation that “They are supplementary and complementary to each other. DPSP prescribed the goal to be attained and fundamental rights lay down the means by which the goals is to be achieved.”


V.                  In the Minerva mils case, these 2: fundamental rights and DPSPs are declared as part of the basic structure of our Constitution.



VI.                In the case of Unnikrishnan v. state of A.P, the directive principle contained in Article 45 has been raised to the status of a fundamental rights. It has been held that children from the age of 6 to 14 years have fundamental right to free and compulsory education.


VII.               in M.H. Hoskot v. State of Maharashtra, ‘legal aid’ and ‘speedy trial’ become fundamental rights under Article 21 available to all prisoners.


VIII.             In Randhir Singh v. Union of India, ‘equal pay for equal work’ has been held to be a fundamental right.


IX.                 Recently, in the case of Charu Khurana V. Union of India of 2015, the Supreme Court of India again highlighted the importance of their existence (Part III and Part IV) by observing that “Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles are the two wheels of the chariot establishing the egalitarian social order.



The Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles are the two faces of a coin that serve a single purpose i.e. the interest of the citizen. The judiciary has played a dominant role in widening the scope of both of them.


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