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Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles

The fundamental rights and directive principles are described in part 3 and part 4 of the Indian constitution respectively. They are two sides of the same coin which complement each other and together comprise the "conscience" of the Indian constitution. The fundamental rights ensure political democracy while the directive principles ensure economic and social democracy. Let us understand how they differ from each other!

Fundamental Rights:

Fundamental rights can be described as the basic rights guaranteed to the citizens of India under the constitution of India. These rights are written in part 3 of the Indian Constitution and ensure civil liberty to every citizen of the country so that people can live peacefully. They also prevent the state from snatching the freedom of the citizens of the country.

Fundamental rights equally apply to all citizens of the country irrespective of their race, caste, creed, sex, religion, place of birth etc. Violation of the fundamental rights is a punishable offence under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), based on the discretion of the judiciary. The fundamental rights as recognized by the Indian Constitution are as follows:

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

Directive Principles:

Directive principles are written in Part 4, Article 36-51 of the Indian constitution. They contain directives or guidelines to be followed by the state while establishing laws and policies. The legislative and executive powers of a state are exercised in accordance with the directive principles of the Indian Constitution.

The directive principles follow the basic philosophy of the Constitution of India like an overall development of the nation, social justice, economic welfare, foreign policy etc. However, the violation of directive principles is not a punishable offence. They cannot be enforced in a court of law and state cannot be sued for not following the same. The directive principles are divided into three categories: Socialistic Directives, Gandhian Directives, and Liberal Intellectual Directives. They aim to create a positive socio-economic environment to help the citizens live a better life.

Based on the above information, some of the key differences between fundamental rights and directive principles are as follows:

Fundamental Rights Directive Principles
They refer to the basic rights guaranteed to the citizens of India under the Indian constitution. They are the guidelines to the state to be followed while framing laws and policies.
They are written in part 3 of the Constitution of India. They are written in part 4, Article 36-51 of the Constitution of India.
It is negative in nature as it prevents the government from doing certain things. They are positive in nature as it requires the government to do certain things.
They are justiciable as they can be enforced and their violation is a punishable crime. They are not justiciable as they cannot be enforced and their violation is not a punishable crime.
They establish political democracy. They establish social and economic democracy.
They are legal sanctions. They are moral and political sanctions.
They promote individual welfare. They promote the welfare of the entire community.
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