Critically analyze Article 39 of the Indian Constitution.

By: Shubhang Sharma

Edited By: Maryam Sana.


Article 39 of our Indian Constitution is considered one of the essential provisions of part IV in the Indian Constitution of India. This article describes the area where the state must consider the consideration of work as they have to grow into a welfare state where the interest of every person has some effects or is taken into consideration (Sarkar, 2010). In this, all of the policies to be established near future must have been brought under the preview of this article 39 as this is considered the top of policy establishment.

The Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) is taken from the Irish Constitution, and this has been inserted in part IV of the Indian Constitution.

The primary concept behind the building structure of the DPSP was to create a “Welfare State.” In simple words, the main reason behind the adding of DPSP was not for establishing political democracy but also about establishing social and economic democracy in the state (Bhatia, 2015).

According to Dr. B R Ambedkar, these principles are “novel features” of the Constitution. DPSP acts as a book that provides guidelines for the state, and this must be considered while the state is coming up with new policies or any new law. But no one can force the state to believe and follow all mentioned in DPSP, as the DPSP is not Justiciable.

Part IV of the Indian Constitution

Part IV of our Indian Constitution consists of all the DPSP (Directive Principles of State Policy). It covers all the Articles from 36 to 51 (Mohapatra, 2011).

In Part IV the article 36 defines the term “State” as the one, which at all times has to keep in mind all the DPSP before making any law or policy for the country. The definition of “State” in part IV will be the same as in part III unless the context otherwise requires a change in it. It’s in article 37, which says that the nature of DPSP has been defined. DPSP’s are non-justiciable.

Article 39 – Constitution of India

Article 39 comes under the extent of the socialist type of moral principle. Along with article 39 (specific policies at all times shall be taken into account by the state), Article 38 (protection of social order), Article 41 (gives the right to work and education in public), Article 42 (gives the public maternity relief and the human condition), Article 43 (involves the participation of workers in different industries management) and Article 45 (for childhood care, this is primarily for the children below six years of age) these are the part of this type of principle. 

  • The first part gives us adequate livelihood to each of the citizens. And all of these rights are equal to all men and women.
  • Secondly, the resource distribution of the community (including all the ownership and control) for the common good and the welfare of the society.
  • Every country person must get paid equally for equal work irrespective of sex.
  • The strength of the men and women and the workers who get themselves involved in working is not going to be abused, and it includes children of less age group too.
  • Further, the last point talks about the safety of every child, and they must get an opportunity or facilitate to develop them healthily. With this, it also states that the dignity of the children must also be secured against any exploitation or immoral and material abandonment (Bakshi & Kashyap, 1982).

So, in brief, Article 39 of the Constitution states that while framing policies, i.e., state while seeking to provide adequate means of livelihood to each person which includes women, equal payment for equal work, which was and still very important as earlier women used to get payment significantly less as compared to men as it was a stereotype. According to this, it was believed that women have less energy when compared to men. Still, the state comes into the picture directly and makes this moral principle in part IV of the Indian Constitution of Indian; next one is a resource distribution, and then comes the finally the safety of citizens, their health development including of children is all provision which the state must have to take into consideration before making of any rules or policies.


  • The source and the concept of DPSP are borrowed from the Spanish Constitution, from which it came in the Irish Constitution. The Irish nationalist movement much influenced the founders of our Constitution, and then they took and brought this concept of DPSP from the Irish Constitution in the year 1937.
  • The other concept which had instruction related to this concept was the Government of India Act which later became an essential source of DPSP.

[3] Bakshi PM and Kashyap SC, The Constitution of India. Universal Law Publishing (1982).

  • The Indians who fought for the freedom of India from Britishers were much influenced by the struggle of Ireland at that time to free themselves from British rule and mobilized towards the development of the Constitution. The DPSP became an inspiration for independent India’s government to take down social, economic, and other challenges in a diverse country like India (De Villiers, 1992).
  • Another most crucial point that came after analysis was that the DPSP and fundamental rights have a common origin. The Nehru report of 1928 contained the Swaraj constitution of India, which included some other rights such as right to education, which was not used to be enforceable at that time.
  • Later the Sapru Report of 1945 divided the fundamental rights into justifiable and non-justifiable rights.
  • Justifiable rights were the one which was enforceable in the Court of law and was included in part III of the Constitution. On the other hand, there are non-justifiable rights; all these are listed as the directive principle, which helps guide the state to work on the lines for making India a welfare state. They are included in part IV of the Constitution of India as Directive Principles of State Policy (Aikman, 2007).


  • The DPSP of the Indian Constitution was taken from Irish Constitution, which brought all these details from Spain.
  • Some instruments of instructions, which in the future became the primary source of DPSP, have been taken from the Government of India Act, 1935.
  • Another important source was the Sapru Report of 1945, which gave us both Fundamental rights (justiciable) and DPSP (non-justiciable).

Features after Analysis of Article 39

  • DPSP are not enforceable in any of the Court of law.
  • The addition of the DPSP was all about creating a “welfare state” that works for citizens of the country, which was absent during the colonial era.
  • This DPSP consists of all the state’s ideals and must keep in mind while formulating policies and enacting laws for the country.
  • The DPSP is nothing but a collection of instructions and directions, which was issued under the Government of India Act of 1935 to the Governors of the colonies of India (Mukherjee, 2014).
  • These DPSP were made non-justiciable considering that the state may not have enough resources to implement all of them at once, or it may even come up with some better and progressive laws.

Detail for Article 39

Article 39 describes all the Principles of policy that must be followed by the state: –

The state shall follow this and make its policies towards securing the following objectives: –

  • All the men, women, and citizens of the country should have the right to an adequate means of livelihood.
  • There must not be any gender discrimination against any men, women, and both of these genders must be paid equally for their equal work.
  • Ownership and control over any material resources under the community should be distributed as it only the everyday wellbeing and suitable for the public.
  • The economic system and its functioning should be such that the concentration of wealth and the means of production don’t result in a loss common to all or which may cause detriment to the citizen.
  • The children must be given a large number of opportunities and facilities so that they all develop themselves in a good and healthy environment and in such condition where the freedom and dignity of the children may remain protected, against any form of exploitation and also against any moral and material abandonment (Nayak & Trikha, 2020).

Article 39A

  • Article 39A talks about free legal aid.
  • It says that a state shall promote justice to administer Justice based on an equal opportunity, and must they shall provide free legal aid through any of the relevant legislation or schemes which the state may think fit, or, in any of the other ways, so that it may ensure that the opportunities for securing justice and are not denied to any of the citizens because of their economic backwardness or any of the other kind of disabilities.

Enforceability and Importance of DPSP

After analyzing article 39, we know that the DPSP is not made to be enforceable by the constituent Assembly, which was created to draft the Indian Constitution. But the principle’s non-enforceability does not mean that they are not of any importance.

Many views put forward are in favour of DPSP enforceability, and some are against it. Those all who favor the enforceability of this principle say that enforceability of this DPSP will keep a check on the government, and it would indeed unite India. Those who oppose this say that these principles need not be separately enforced as there are already many laws that indirectly implement the provisions mentioned in DPSP.

One more argument against DPSP is that it tries to impose morals and values on the country’s citizens. It must not be mixed with the laws as it is essential to grasp that law and morals area unit various things (Narain, 2015).

It mentions the protection of all the men and women of the country, environmental conversation, rural growth, development, etc. These are considered essential in making laws for a “welfare state.”

Significance of DPSP

  • These Directive Principles are non-justiciable, but these all are backed by vox populi (voice of the people), which is the real sanction behind every law in reality.
  • DPSP gives the philosophical foundations of a welfare system.

Case study on Directive Principles of State Policy

Many questions have arisen whether fundamental rights precede DPSP’s or, latter, the higher position than the former.

Kerela Education Bill

The Court stated that if a conflict occurs between Fundamental Right and DPSPs, the bond between the two must not be disturbed. Still, if, even after implementing the doctrines of interpretation, the conflict does not end, then the former should be upheld and given more importance over the other, i.e., DPSP (Minattur, 2016.

Keshavnanda Bharati vs. the State of Kerela

The Supreme Court of India placed DPSPs in a higher position than Fundamental Rights.

After this, in the case of Minerva Mills vs. Union of India  , the Court, while deciding the case, held that the harmony between the two should be maintained because neither of the two is dependent on each other. Both are complementary to each other, and both must be balanced for the proper functioning of the State (Jaiswal, 2012).

Unnikrishnan vs. State of Andhra Pradesh

The Court took the view that Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles are not exclusive but complementary to each other. The Court said that the Fundamental Rights are how the goals given in Part IV can be achieved (Lakshmi & Kumar, 2019).


In this article, I have mentioned all the provisions related to the Directive Principles given under Part IV of the Indian Constitution and tried to compare the Fundamental Rights and DPSP with the help taken from some important cases decided by the country’s apex court.

These principles were added to facilitate the governance and smooth functioning of the country. It was added to meet the main objectives and the ultimate goal of a country, i.e., to work for the welfare of its citizens.

Even after being non-justiciable, they are implemented in some necessary Acts. They hold equal relevance and importance as Fundamental rights mentioned in Part III of the Constitution of India.


Minattur J, The Kerala Education Bill, 4 The Catholic Lawyer, 3, p.8 (2016).

Narain J, Judicial law-making and the place of Directive Principles in Indian Constitution, 27 Journal of the Indian Law Institute, 2, pp.198-222 (2015).

Jaiswal A, Jurisprudence of Rights in Kesavananda Bharati, Available at SSRN 2022346 (2012).

 Lakshmi MR and Kumar VD, Financing Right to Education in the State of Andhra Pradesh: Is this Real Boon for Disadvantaged?, ECONOMIC REFORMS IN INDIA: ACHIEVEMENTS AND CHALLENGES, p.141 (2019).

[6] Nayak S and Trikha A, EVOLUTION OF DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES OF STATE POLICY, 17 PalArch’s Journal of Archaeology of Egypt/Egyptology, 6, pp.5178-5183 (2020).

Mukherjee D, Judicial Implementation of Directive Principles of State Policy: Critical Perspectives, 1 Indian JL & Pub. Pol’y,  p.14 (2014).

De Villiers B, Directive principles of state policy and fundamental rights: The Indian experience, 8 South African Journal on Human Rights, 1, pp.29-49 (1992).

Mohapatra AK, Basic objectives and values of the Indian Constitution. Orissa Review, 33 (2011).

Sarkar SK, Indian Constitution, Human Rights, HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE, p.71 (2010).

Bhatia G, Directive Principles of State Policy: Theory and Practice (2015).

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