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Question – After the enactment of the Constitution, several judicial decisions and constitutional amendments have changed the balance between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy. Analyze. – 20 April 2021
Despite the enforceability of fundamental rights, and the nature of non-enforceability of the state’s Directive Principles, conflict arises between the two due to the moral obligation of the state. Fundamental rights describe the negative role of the state, and prevent the state from performing certain acts. The same directive policies describe the positive role of the state and expect the state to make specific efforts for public welfare. From the time the Constitution came into force, various judicial decisions and constitutional amendments have attempted to modify the nature of the relationship between the Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles,
- Fundamental rights supreme but amendable: State of Madras v. Srimathi Champakam Dorairajan case (1952) is the first dispute related to the dispute between Fundamental Rights and the DPSP. In which a decision was given by the Supreme Court that in case of any dispute between the two, only the fundamental rights will remain in effect. However, it was also determined that the Fundamental Rights can be amended by the Parliament under the Constitutional Amendment Acts to enforce the Directive Principles.
- Inalienable Basic Rights: In the Golaknath case (1967), the Supreme Court ruled that Parliament cannot abrogate or limit any fundamental right (whose nature is inalienable). This means that the Fundamental Rights cannot be amended to enforce the Directive Elements.
- Laws enforcing basic rights amendable and certain directive elements preferably over certain basic rights: In response to the decision in the Golaknath case, the 24th Amendment (1971) and 25th Amendment (1971) were enacted by Parliament.
- The 24th Amendment made it clear that Parliament has the power to amend any part of the Constitution including fundamental rights.
- A new Article 31C was inserted under the 25th Amendment, which provides that, a law applying the Directive Elements under Articles 39 (b) and 39 (c) cannot be declared invalid on this basis (that it violates the fundamental rights conferred by Articles 14, 19 and 31). Also, a provision was made that such a method would be outside the purview of judicial review.
- In the Kesavananda Bharati debate (1973), the two director elements were given preference over certain basic rights. The judgment, however, was given that restricting judicial review is unconstitutional and a violation of the basic structure.
- Preference to Director Elements: Under the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act in 1976, Parliament amended Article 31C; giving preference to all the Directive policies contained in Part IV of the Constitution over the Fundamental Rights conferred under Articles 14, 19 and 31.
- Balanced relationship between directive policies and fundamental rights: In the Minerva Mills suit (1980), the Supreme Court declared the granting of supremacy to all director policies, as unconstitutional and illegal. And Article 31C was re-established in its original form. It was decided that the balance between Part III and Part IV is an integral part of the Indian Constitution, as they co-create a core sense of commitment to social change.
Thus, in present times, the fundamental rights have been given more importance than the Directive Principles, but at the same time Parliament can change the fundamental rights to implement the Directive Principles.