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States have the legal obligation to protect and promote human rights, including the right to social security, and ensure that people can realize their rights without discrimination. Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) aim to create social and economic conditions under which the citizens can lead a good life and our Constitution has admirably spelt out the Duties of State under Part IV and the key components are reviewed in this paper under the present context:





Application of the principles contained in this Part.—The provisions contained in this Part shall not be 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.

Often Court intervention or Judicial scrutiny has become the order to make the State aware of its constitutional duties and responsibilities towards its citizens. Specific Laws related to Prohibition, Rape, Community, murders driven by Caste arrogance, etc are yet to be enacted.


State to secure a social order for the promotion of welfare of the people.—(1) The State shall strive to promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may a social order in which justice, social, economic and political, shall inform all the institutions of the national life.

(2) The State shall, in particular, strive to minimise the inequalities in income, and endeavour to eliminate inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities, not only amongst individuals but also amongst groups of people residing in different areas or engaged in different vocations.

1.Promotion of Welfare of People by securing and protecting effectively to establish social order in terms of social, economic and political aspects are often dented which are reflected in the society where even Demands for health, hygiene, civic amenities are brought to streets by way of protests and Bandhs called out even by the State.

2. Social and economic equalities still prevail due to huge unemployment, poverty, starvation deaths, suicides, etc. Gap between Rural and Urban has been insidiously widening up over the last several decades.


Certain principles of policy to be followed by the State.—The State shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing

(a)that the citizens, men and women equally, have the right to an adequate means of livelihood;

(b)that the ownership and control of the material resources of the community are so distributed as best to sub serve the common good;

(c)that the operation of the economic system does not result in the concentration of wealth and means of production to the common detriment;

(d)that there is equal pay for equal work for both men and women;

(e)that the health and strength of workers, men and women, and the tender age of children are not abused and that citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their age or strength;

(f) that children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and that childhood and youth are protected against exploitation and against moral and material abandonment.

(a) Inequality in the society in terms of livelihood is the order of the day.

(b) Ownership and control of the material resources are put under the control of a single entity in terms of privatization as even the price of agricultural commodities produced by farmers cannot be fixed or decided by them.

(c) The main reason for the grave dip in our GDP growth is attributed to economic disparity and concentration of wealth is confined to one class of population dictating every sector proving the most detrimental factor for the overall growth in both micro and macro aspects of our Indian Economy.

(d) Though Equal Pay for Equal work for both men and women is guaranteed, it is never established between sectors due to lack of uniformity in wage structure even between Public Sector and Private Sector and organized Government sectors. This fixed parity defeated the intention or idea behind this constitutional provision.

(e) Child Labour and Improper Health Care for workers are evident in every sector and growing insidiously

(f) Due to social and economic disparity the children are the first victims in terms of opportunities and facilities and that is evident in the Education and Infrastructure facilities not uniformly distributed.

In 1949, the UN Draft Declaration on Rights and Duties of States adopted by the International Law Commission at its first session, and submitted to the General Assembly as a part of the Commission's report covering the work of that session reiterated that the State that the legal obligation to protect and promote human rights, including the right to social security, and ensure that people can realize their rights without discrimination. This has been duly embarked in our Constitution wherein Article 47 reiterated the Duty of the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health as under:

“The State shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties and, in particular, the State shall endeavor to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health.”

This article contains the following three components related to the primary duty of State and has direct impact on the Health, Social Security and Infringement of Rights of Citizens:

  1. Raising the Level of Nutrition.
  2. Raising the Standard of Living of its people.
  3. Improvement of Public Health.
  4. Enforce Prohibition of consumption of Intoxicating Drinks and Drugs which are injurious to health.

Level of Nutrition directly reflects the quality of health infrastructure in term of Doctor-Population Ratio besides the importance of Medical Research and budget allocation therein. Though our country has made massive strides forward in terms of Infant Mortality rates and Child Health Care there is enough scope for improvement to ensure that the Level of Nutrition in our country is globally placed at highest standards. This factor also determines the overall Improvement in Public Health.

Standard of Living of citizens is reflected in terms of the poverty and below poverty levels statistics officially published from time to time as sizeable population in our country struggle for the three basic essential entities of livelihood. This is attributed to non-percolation of welfare schemes to the grass root targeted beneficiaries and the irregularities in the implementation of schemes floated by both the State and the Centre.

One could recall during 2016 when Patna High Court struck down the Bihar government's policy of total prohibition, and was construed that the scheme was laid for vote bank politics. It was argued that Prohibition has led to a rise in crime, wherever it has been implemented, besides erosion in respect for the law. The court struck down on grounds that relate to unsoundness of the legal means and lack of consistency of the policy only in terms of official grant of licenses for manufacture and sale of Indian-made foreign liquor in the state. While one judge held that prohibition violated the fundamental right of liberty and the derived right to privacy guaranteed by the Constitution, the other judge on the bench dissented, opining that since one of the Directive Principles of State Policy commends prohibition but cannot be deemed to violate a fundamental right. However, the sanctity of this Article is well preserved and judicially enforced to ensure that State takes lead to realize its basic duties towards citizens at least in terms of Public Health and Standard of Livelihood.

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Category Constitutional Law, Other Articles by - Parthasarathi Loganathan 


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