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This article is written by Shreya Tripathi of Banasthali Vidyapith, Jaipur. The article explains the Relation between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy with various famous case laws under the Constitution of India.


The constitution of India is considered as the longest written constitution of any sovereign nation in the world. At its birth, it had 395 articles in 22 parts and 8 Schedules and it currently has a Preamble, 25 Parts with 12 schedules, 5 appendices, 101 amendment and 448 articles. January 26 is celebrated as the Republic Day every year. The importance of the Constitution was given effect after 67 years and later on, it was amended 101 times also.

What are Fundamental Rights and DPSP?

Fundamental rights and DPSP as cherished in the Constitution of India together comprises the human rights of an individual. The Constitution expresses fundamental rights as an idea which appeared in India in 1928 itself. The Motilal Committee Report of 1928 clearly shows inalienable rights derived from the Bill of Rights enshrined in the American Constitution to be given to the individual. These rights were preserved in Part III of the Indian Constitution. of India.

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Fundamental rights are also known as Inherent rights because they are inherent to every person by birth. These are the rights which provide an individual with some basic rights for the purpose of survival. No discrimination is made on the basis of religion, caste, race etc. and if any person feels so that his fundamental rights are being infringed then he can surely approach to court for the violation of his rights.

There are six fundamental right mentioned under the Constitution of India

  • Right to equality
  • Right to freedom
  • Right to freedom of religion
  • Right against exploitation
  • Cultural and educational rights
  • Rights to constitutional remedies

Right to Equality

Freedom Law is supreme in nature and everyone is equal before the law and equal treatment should be given to everyone. No discrimination should be done on the basis of race, caste, creed or gender. An equal amount of opportunity should be given to every individual in the field of employment. Abolition of untouchability and titles.

Right to Freedom

Every individual has the right to freedom to form an association, peacefully assemble, to travel or move freely reside and settle at any location and to go or opt for any profession throughout the territory of India. Right to education, life, liberty and dignity also fall under this right, protection in respect of arrest and detention and conviction of an offence.

Right against Exploitation

Prohibition of Child labour and Human trafficking and forced labour is a result of this right.

Right to Freedom of religion

This right provides us with the freedom to follow any religion without any question mark and freedom to attend any religious ceremony at a religious institution or education centre and pay tax for the promotion of religion. Nobody can force any individual who is not interested in paying any kind of tax for religious purposes.

Cultural and educational Right

It provides protection to different languages and varieties of culture present in India. It also protects the rights and culture of minorities. Establishing educational institutions and primary education to every child below the age of 14 years comes under this head.

Rights to seek Constitutional remedies

An individual has the right to move in any court of law if they feel fundamental rights are being violated. Our constitution consists of 5 writs. Here writs mean the “Order of court”. If only fundamental rights are violated then the individual can directly approach to Supreme Court of India. The writs are explained below:

  1. Habeas corpus
  2. Mandamus
  3. Prohibition
  4. Certiorari
  5. Quo warranto

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Habeas Corpus

It simply means to Produce the body’. This writ is issued to produce a person who has been detained and to present him before the court to release if such detention is illegal.


This means ‘We Command’. It is an order given by the Superior Court to the Inferior Court to perform a public duty.


It is basically known as Stay order which prohibits from doing certain actions by the authority where it has no jurisdiction to deal with the case.


This means to be Certified’. This order can be issued by the Supreme Court for quashing the order which is already passed by any inferior court, tribunal or authority.

Quo – warranto

It signifies by what authority? It is a writ issued to restrain a person from holding a public office to which he is not entitled.

The concept of DPSP emerged from Article 45 of the Irish Constitution. DPSP imposes a duty upon the state not only to protect and acknowledge the Fundamental right of the individual but also to achieve Social-economic goals. DPSP was summarizing in Part IV of the Indian Constitution of India.

Certain guidelines are present for the state authority to work upon them for the protection of society. It mostly focuses on welfare and improvement of society altogether. As fundamental rights are enforceable in a court of law, DPSP cannot be enforced for making any rules, policy or guidelines.

Some of the examples of DPSP are:

  1. Right to education
  2. Maternity benefit
  3. Uniform Civil code
  4. Providing proper nutrition food
  5. Providing adequate means of livelihood

However, it is already a controversial topic in the Constitution about the relationship of Fundamental rights and DPSP, as there would be conflict in the interest of individual at a micro level and benefit of the community at a macro level.

The central part of this controversy is the question person should have primacy in the case of conflict between Chapter III and IV of the Constitution of India.

Relationship between Fundamental Rights and DPSP

Constitution of India is a Grundnorm all the law which are made must conform to the constitution of India.

The difference between DPSP and FR are:

Fundamental Rights DPSP
Limited scope. Scope of DPSP is limitless.
Protect the rights of the individual and work at a micro level. Protect the rights of a citizen and work at a macro level.
If anybody feels that his rights are being violated can approach the court of law. DPSP are not enforceable by law.

For better understanding about the conflict between DPSP and Fundamental Rights lets study some of the important case laws and then we can decide what happens when a conflict arises between both of them.

The first case we are going to study is about Golak Nath vs the State of Punjab, A.I.R. 1976 SCR (2) 762. Firstly, we will see what the Supreme Court has said and then we will discuss what the parliamentary action was taken. In this case, S.C. said Fundamental rights cannot be diluted, abridged, diminished, finish or taken away and then in response to it by bringing Amendment Act of the Constitution and inserted Article 31 (C) in part III now what does Article 31 (C) say:

By making a law under Article 39 (B) which talk about material resources of community and Article 39 (C) discuss the operation for an economic system. They say that if any law is framed with effect to DPSP and if it violates Article 14, 19 and 21 then the law should not declare constitution as void merely on this ground.

In Champak Dorairajan vs. the State of Madras, the Supreme Court held that DPSP cannot override the provisions of Part III of the Constitution of India i.e. the Fundamental Rights. Now DPSP has to run subsidiary to the Fundamental rights and have to confirm them and this was very important judgement the parliament responded by amending various fundamental rights which were coming in conflict with DPSP.

So, now we will move to our next Case Kerala Education Bill where the Doctrine of Harmonious Construction was introduced by the Supreme Court.

Now, what is the Doctrine of Harmonious Construction? It says that you need to constitute the provision of the constitution in such a way that fundamental rights and DPSP go hand in hand so this was there to avoid the situation of conflict while enforcing DPSP and Fundamental rights. So you should construe each and every provision of the constitution is such a way so they work harmoniously.

Now as per this doctrine the court held that if no inherent power is present then no conflict will arise but if any conflict comes in force just because the court is trying to interpret a particular law so they should attempt to give effect to both as far as possible.

So to connect them together by doing something without doing any kind of amendment. After all the efforts to make everything look balanced if any interpretation is done then the court has to implement Fundamental rights over DPSP.

In the case of Kesavananda Bharathi, 1973 Supreme Court held that Parliament can amend any part of the Constitution but without destroying the basic structure of the constitution. Now, the second clause of Article 31 (C), as we have read earlier, was declared unconstitutional and void because that was against the basic structure. However, the first clause of Article 31 (C) was said to be valid. In response, the parliament brought the 42nd Amendment Act, 1976 and extended the scope of the above provisions of Article 31 (C).

Now in the case of Pathumma vs. the State of Kerala, 1978, the Supreme Court emphasised on the purpose of DPSP that is to fix some social- economic goals. The constitution aims at bringing about a combination between DPSP and Fundamental rights which is reflected in several other cases as well.

In Minerva Mills Case, the Court held that the law under Article 31 (C) would be protected only if it is made to implement the directive in Article 39 (b) and (c) and not in any other DPSP. Earlier protection was given to all the DPSP but after this case, it becomes restrictions and was declared that if protection is given to all DPSP it will be declared as void and unconstitutional in nature.

In State of Kerala vs. N.M.Thomas, 1976, the Supreme Court said that Fundamental rights and DPSP should be built in such a way to be with each other and every effort should be taken by the court to resolve the dispute between them.

In Olga Tellis vs. Bombay Municipal Corporation, 1985, the Supreme Court has submitted that DPSP are fundamental in the governance of the country so equal importance should be given to meaning and concept of fundamental rights

In Dalmia Cement vs. Union of India, the Supreme Court said that Fundamental rights and DPSP are supplementary and complementary to each other and the preamble to the constitution which gives an introduction, fundamental rights, DPSP are conscience of the Constitution.

In Ashok Kumar Thakur Vs. Union of India, 2008, the Supreme Court said that no difference can be made between the 2 sets of rights. Fundamental rights deal with Civil and political rights whereas DPSP deals with social and economic rights. DPSP are not enforceable in a court of law doesn’t mean it is subordinate.

So basically, in all these cases, what they are trying to explain is that Fundamental rights and DPSP go together. Neither of them is supreme to each other.

Government has done several acts for the implementation purpose like panchayat were established by 73rd amendment, Nagar Palika under Article 41, compulsory education to every child who is below the age of 14 years and it was made Fundamental rights, to protect monuments of national importance now this right was converted into a law that is Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological sites and remains (Declaration of National Importance) Act, 1951.


It can be concluded by saying that the basic feature of the constitution is to maintain harmony between fundamental rights and DPSP. They are complementary and supplementary to each other. The theme of fundamental rights must be made in light to DPSP.


Mayank Shekhar, Relationship between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policies, Legal bite – Law and beyond (September 16, 2019).

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