SOME IMPORTANT NOTES ON DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES OF STATE POLICY
Firstly, some of the directive principles of State policy, which are related to distributive justice, moulded the property relations by influencing the interrelationship doctrine, both directly and indirectly.
Secondly, the interrelationship doctrine is very much influenced by Article 39A of the Constitution which provides for equal justice and free legal aid in the justice delivery system.
Thirdly, the directive principles of State shall strive to secure its citizens right to an adequate means of livelihood and make the effective provision for securing right to work.
Fourthly, the directive principle that ';tender age of children are not abused';, and that ';children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in a conditions of freedom and dignity that childhood and youth are protected against exploitation against moral and material abandonment'; [Article 39(f) have provided the spirit of law to the Apex Court.
Fifthly, the directive principle of ';Equal pay for equal work'; and ';participation of workers in management'; were received through right to equality under Article 14 in Part III, in various cases, such as Randhir Singh (AIR 1982 SC 469)and National Textile Workers Union case (AIR 1983 SC 75).
Sixthly, the directive principles relating to uniform civil code has the potentiality of using the interrelationship doctrine for its implementation.
Seventhly, the promotion of educational and economic interest of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe and other weaker section of the society, contemplated under Article 46 provides a guidance for affirmative actions under Article 15(4) and 16(4) and a pointer for resolving tension between formal and substantive equality by laying emphasis on infusing of strength and ability to compete, through eduction and training to weaker sectors (M.R. Balaji vs. State of Mysore – AIR 1963 SC 649).
Finally, the directive principle that the State shall endeavour to foster respect for international law and treaty obligations has a great potentiality of absorbing the international principles relating to guarantee as under of human rights, and thus influence the interrelationship doctrine.
The convictions are reflected:
(i) The impact of directive principles upon the interrelationship doctrine or vice-versa is not only theoretical but also practical and rewarding. Interrelationship doctrine has given impetus to, and got animated by the process of reading the directive principles into Part III of the Constitution.
(ii) It is true to say that the interrelationship doctrine has its roots in the very text of the constitution. This can be seen when the objects set in the Preamble, followed by Juxtaposing of right to equality with classification, the flexibility imbibed in fundamental rights, the spirit of law (operation of whole Part-III of the Constitution visa-vis the impugned law) rejection of compartmentalised treatment of fundamental rights and finally, the distinction between citizens and non-citizens with regard to availability of fundamental rights and the possibility of invoking a fundamental right to avail a suspended fundamental right during emergency are taken into account with a conscious approach of unity in diversity.
Former Chief Justice of India Shri M.N. Venkatachelaiah, said that professor Bhat examines the relationship of fundamental rights inter se and the jurisprudential and constitutional foundations of that interrelationship. The interrelationship is also a necessary implication of constitutionalism and Rule of Law. It was viewed that professor Bhat, in his elegant analysis, indicates the ';parallel streams'; and ‘cross-currents’ of fundamental rights and how these rights inform and enrich each other. This discourse has its familiar ring in the International Human Rights Regime, and the principles of their universality, indivibility and interdependence Fundamental Rights and DPSP.
When the tussle for primacy between fundamental rights and DPSP came up before the Supreme Court in the case of State of Madras v. Champakam Dorairajan (1951) SCR 525 first, the court said, “The directive principles have to conform to and run subsidiary to the chapter on fundamental rights.” Later, in the Fundamental Rights Case (referred to above), the majority opinions reflected the view that what is fundamental in the governance of the country cannot be less significant than what is significant in the life of the individual. Another judge constituting the majority in that case said: “In building up a just social order it is sometimes imperative that the fundamental rights should be subordinated to directive principles.” This view, that the fundamental rights and DPSP are complementary, “neither part being superior to the other,” has held the field since ( V.R.Krishna Iyer,J. in State of Kerala v. N. M.. Thomas (1976) 2 SCC 310 at para. 134, p. 367).
The DPSP have, through important constitutional amendments, become the benchmark to insulate legislation enacted to achieve social objectives, as enumerated in some of the DPSP, from attacks of invalidation by courts. This way, legislation for achieving agrarian reforms, and specifically for achieving the objectives of articles 39(b) and (c) of the Constitution, has been immunized from challenge as to its violation of the right to equality (art. 14) and freedoms of speech, expression, etc. (art. 19). However, even here the court has retained its power of judicial review to examine if, in fact, the legislation is intended to achieve the objective of articles 39(b) and (c), and where the legislation is an amendment to the Constitution, whether it violates the basic structure of the constitution. Likewise, courts have used DPSP to uphold the constitutional validity of statutes that apparently impose restrictions on the fundamental rights under article 19 (freedoms of speech, expression, association, residence, travel and to carry on a business, trade or profession), as long as they are stated to achieve the objective of the DPSP.
The DPSP are seen as aids to interpret the Constitution, and more specifically to provide the basis, scope and extent of the content of a fundamental right.
To quote again from the Fundamental Rights case:
Fundamental rights have themselves no fixed content; most of them are empty vessels into which each generation must pour its content in the light of its experience. Restrictions, abridgement, curtailment and even abrogation of these rights in circumstances not visualised by the constitution makers might become necessary; their claim to supremacy or priority is liable to be overborne at particular stages in the history ofthe nation by the moral claims embodied in Part IV ( Chandra Bhavan v. State of Mysore (1970) 2 SCR, note 1, SCC para. 1714, p. 881).
The Maneka Gandhi Case and Thereafter Simultaneously, the judiciary took upon itself the task of infusing into the constitutional provisions the spirit of social justice. This it did in a series of cases of which Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India (1978) 1 SCC 248 was a landmark. The case involved the refusal by the government to grant a passport to the petitioner, which thus restrained her liberty to travel. In answering the question whether this denial could be sustained without a predecisional hearing, the court proceeded to explain the scope and content of the right to life and liberty. In a departure from the earlier view, A.K.Gopalan v. State of Madras 1950 SCR 88 the court asserted the doctrine of substantive due process as integral to the chapter on fundamental rights and emanating from a collective understanding of the scheme underlying articles 14 (the right to equality), 19 (the freedoms) and 21 (the right to life). The power the court has to strike down legislation was thus broadened to include critical examination of the substantive due process element in statutes. Once the court took a broader view of the scope and content of the fundamental right to life and liberty, there was no looking back. Article 21 was interpreted to include a bundle of other incidental and integral rights, many of them in the nature of ESC rights. In Francis Coralie v. union territory of India(AIR 1978 SC 597) the court declared:
“The right to life includes the right to live with human dignity and all that goes with it, namely, the bare necessaries of life such as adequate nutrition, clothing and shelter and facilities for reading, writing and expressing oneself in diverse forms, freely moving about and mixing and comingling with fellow human beings. The magnitude and components of this right would depend upon the extent of economic development of the country, but it must, in any view of the matter, include the bare necessities of life and also the right to carry on such functions and activities as constitute the bare minimum expression of the human self.”
The combined effect of the expanded interpretation of the right to life and the use of PIL as a tool led the court into areas where there was a crying need for social justice. These were areas where there was a direct interaction between law and poverty, as in the case of bonded labor and child labor, and crime and poverty, as in the case of under trials in jails. In reading several of these concomitant rights of dignity, living conditions, health into the ambit of the right to life, the court overcame the difficulty of justiciability of these as economic and social rights, which were hitherto, in their manifestation as DPSP, considered nonenforceable. A brief look at how some of these ESC rights were dealt with by the court in four specific contexts will help understand the development of the law in this area.