Difference Between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: July 01, 2023


Difference Between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles

Why read @ Diffzy

Our articles are well-researched

We make unbiased comparisons

Our content is free to access

We are a one-stop platform for finding differences and comparisons

We compare similar terms in both tabular forms as well as in points


A right is a legal, social entitlement that supports and protects him/her from injustice or any other individual. Imagine a country where people exist, but they do not live, do not have the right to do what they want, the right to express themselves, right to freedom. The ruler holds the power of authority.. Now rulers can make any law or regulation without considering people’s opinions. So, the rule will be called a dictatorship, anarchy and not a democratic or republic. Do you think that country will prosper? Hence, we have rights and directive principles to keep the country running smoothly. Rights allow people to live the life they want to, and directive principles restrict the power of the government. There is a significant difference between these, and let’s learn what they are and why they are important.

Fundamental rights vs directive principles

Both are considered the soul of the Constitution. They lead our nation.

Fundamental Rights are the rights granted to all citizens by the Constitution. Part III of the Constitution contains these rights. Fundamental Rights apply equally to all people of the country, irrespective of race, caste, creed, gender, place of birth, religion etc. Fundamental rights make sure that no one is being discriminated against, exploited, or prevented from his choice of living. Violation of fundamental rights results in punishment written in IPC. There are six basic rights people have claim upon:

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

Directive principles of state policy (DPSP) are the set of guidelines and ideals to be followed by the state when preparing policies and laws. The principles restrict the state from misusing its power. Part 4 of the Constitution lists these principles. These affect the performance of a government. These ensure that society is facing justice and dignity of living. Directive principles are not enforceable in a court of law and are a set of moral sanctions. The directive principles are classified based on their ideological source as socialist, Gandhian and liberal principles. The concept of DPSP is borrowed from the Irish Constitution. Articles 36 to 51 describe these in part 4 of the Constitution.

Difference between fundamental rights and directive principles in tabular form

ParametersFundamental rightsDirective principles
DefinitionBasic human rights guaranteed by the constitution to all the Indian citizens.Set of guidelines that the state has to follow to produce any law or policy.
NatureJusticiableNon justiciable
Court of lawCan be defended on violationCannot be defended
PartPart 3Part 4
EnforcementEnforced directlyNot enforced directly
DemocracyPolitical democracySocial and economic democracy
LegislationImplementation requiredNot required
Supreme courtBound to SCNot bound to SC
SuspensionCan be suspendedCannot be suspended
GovernmentGovt. Cannot make a changeGovt. Can make changes
SanctionsHave legal sanctionsHave political and legal sanctions
PunishableViolation is punishableNot punishable
ConceptBorrowed from American constitutionIrish constitution.

What are fundamental rights?

Fundamental rights are the basic human rights outlined in the Indian Constitution and guaranteed to people. They are conferred irrespective of race, religion, gender, or other factors.

These are called fundamental rights because they are listed in the Constitution and enforceable in courts. In violation, one can approach the court for justice.

In the Indian Constitution, there was one additional fundamental right: Property right.

The 44th Constitutional Amendment, however, eliminated this right from the list of fundamental rights. It prevents the equal distribution of property among the rich and poor. Now, it’s a legal right.

The six fundamental rights:

The right to equality:

The right to equality ensures that everyone is treated equally before the law, prohibits discrimination on multiple grounds, recognises everyone as equals in public employment and abolishes untouchability.

The articles included:

Article 14:

The state must not deny any individual equality before the law or equal protection under the law based on religion, race, caste, gender, or place of birth within the territory of India.

Article 15:

The state must not discriminate against any citizen solely based on religion, race, caste, gender, or place of birth.

Article 16:

All citizens shall have equal opportunity in matters about employment or appointment to any office under the state.

Article 17:

Elimination of untouchability.

Article 18:

Abolition of all titles except the military.

The right to freedom:

The right to freedom ensures a person’s opportunity to live a dignified life.

Article 19: Protection of six rights related to freedom of expression, Assembly, Association, Movement,

Residence, and Profession.

Freedom of speech:

Every Indian citizen has the right to exercise their freedom of speech guaranteed by the state.


The right to peacefully gather without weapons.


Workers have the right to form trade unions and organisations.


A citizen of India have the right to travel across the country.


Indian citizens have the right to live in any area of the nation.


All citizens have the right to engage in any trade and occupation as long as it is not illegal or unethical.

However, in the interests of the country’s integrity, security, and sovereignty, the state imposes limits on these rights.

Article 20 Protection against criminal convictions

This right protects an individual in three aspects. The court cannot convict an individual for an act which was not declared an offence and cannot call him guilty more than once for the same case. The state won’t force him to witness against himself.

Article 21: Right to Life and Liberty

The state shall not deprive someone of his life or personal liberty unless following the legal procedure.

Article 21A Right to primary education

It states that children aged above and under 6 to 14 years have the right to free and compulsory education.

Article 22 Protects individuals against imprisonment in special cases.

The right to freedom of religion:

The Indian Constitution gives the right to religious freedom to individuals and religious organisations in India. Articles 25 to 28 enlist the right.

Article 25 gives all people the freedom of conscience and the freedom to profess, practise, and promote religion.

Article 26 freedom to manage religious affairs and institutions.

Article 27 No person shall be forced to pay taxes for the promotion of any religion.

Article 28 freedom to attend any religious institutions.

The right against exploitation:

Articles 23 and 24 of the Indian Constitution provide the right against exploitation. This right entails a prohibition of human trafficking, slavery, and other types of forced work. The Constitution prohibits the employment of minors under the age of 14.

Cultural and educational rights:

Articles 29 and 30 address people’s cultural and educational rights. This fundamental right aims to protect the culture of minority groups in India.

The Constitution gives certain rights to minorities to preserve the country’s diversity and offer opportunities for all groups, especially marginalised ones, to safeguard, preserve, and disseminate their culture.

Right to constitutional remedies:

The Constitution provides for remedies if citizens’ fundamental rights are infringed. The government cannot limit anyone’s rights. When these rights are violated, the offended person may seek justice in court. Writs are written orders issued by the Supreme Court of India to provide constitutional justic. A writ petition is essentially a court petition for extraordinary review, requesting the court to intervene in the judgement of a lower court.

Features of fundamental rights:

  • Fundamental rights differ from regular legal rights in the way they are enforced.
  • Some fundamental rights are available to all citizens, while others are available to citizens and immigrants.
  • They are subject to reasonable limitations, which means they have to conform to national security, public morality and decency, and friendly relationships with foreign nations.
  • People can go to the Supreme Court if they believe their fundamental rights have been violated.
  • The Parliament can amend fundamental rights by constitutional amendments, but only provided the revision does not change the framework of the Constitution.
  • Articles 15,16,19,29 and 30 are only available to citizens.
  • Article 13(2) of the Constitution provides that no law may be enacted that abridge fundamental rights.

Doctrine of Severability

It is a theory that safeguards the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

Article 13 states that any laws that were in force in India before the beginning of the Constitution that are inconsistent with the principles of fundamental rights are invalid to the extent of the discrepancy.

What are directive principles?

Fundamental rights are the basic human rights outlined in the Indian Constitution and guaranteed to people.

They are divided into three categories: socialist principles, Gandhian principles, and liberal-intellectual principles.


They are ideas that attempt to provide social and economic equality while setting the way for the welfare state.

Article 38 Promotes the welfare of individuals by ensuring social order via justice and reducing disparities.

Article 39

All citizens have the right to appropriate means of livelihood.

Equal distribution of the community’s  resources.

Prevention of the concentration of wealth.

Men and women should be paid equally for equal effort.

Article 41: The Right to Work.

Article 42 Makes provisions for decent working conditions and maternity leave.

Article 43 Ensures that all workers receive an appropriate salary, a good standard of life, and social and cultural opportunities.

Article 47 Improve public health through increasing people’s nutrition and living standards.


Gandhian ideology supports these concepts.

Article 40 Set up village panchayats

Article 43 Encourage rural cottage industry.

Article 46 defends the educational and economic interests of SCs, STs, and other vulnerable parts of society from social injustice and exploitation.

Article 47 Prohibits the drinking of alcohol and drugs that are harmful to one’s health.

Article 48 Prohibits the killing of cows, calves, and other milch and draught livestock, as well as the improvement of their breeds.


These principles represent liberalism’s perspective.

Article 44 Ensures a unified civil code throughout the nation for all people

Article 45 Provides early childhood care and education for all children until they reach the age of six.

Article 48 Organise agriculture and animal husbandry

Article 49 Protects monuments, sites, and objects of aesthetic or historic interest.

Article 50 Separate the judiciary and the executive in state public services

Article 51 Maintaining favourable international relations and promoting worldwide peace and security.


Article 39A provides the opportunity for children’s healthy development.

Section 43A should take initiatives to ensure employees’ participation in industry management.

Section 48A To conserve forests and wildlife, as well as to protect and improve the environment.

Main differences between fundamental rights and directive principles in points

  • Fundamental rights are the basic human rights outlined in the Indian Constitution and guaranteed to people. Directive principles of state policy (DPSP) are the set of guidelines and ideals to be followed by the state when preparing policies and laws.
  • Constitution enlists the fundamental rights under part 3 and directive principles under part 4.
  • Fundamental rights cover articles 12 to 35 and directive principles article 36 to 51.
  • Fundamental rights are enforceable in courts of law in contrast to the directive principles.
  • Directive principles are moral principles, whereas fundamental rights are legal principles.
  • Fundamental rights establish political democracy, and DPSP aims at social and economic democracy.
  • DPSP promotes the welfare of society, and fundamental rights promote the welfare of an individual.
  • Fundamental rights and directive principles were borrowed from the American and Irish constitutions respectively.
  • Fundamental rights can be suspended during a national emergency, whereas the DPSP cannot be.
  • Fundamental rights are restrictions imposed on the state, and DPSP is guidelines for the state to do something.


Fundamental rights are the basic rights of citizens of India to live a life of dignity. These rights are conferred to all irrespective of religion, caste, creed or gender. Fundamental rights are also applicable to foreigners in India. DPSP are guidelines for the state to not exploit the public and work for the welfare of society. The state has to make any law or policy based on the DPSP. The fundamental rights and directive principles are considered the soul of the Constitution. They ensure the nation’s safety, integrity and democracy.



Cite this article

Use the citation below to add this article to your bibliography:



MLA Style Citation

"Difference Between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles." Diffzy.com, 2024. Mon. 10 Jun. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-fundamental-rights-and-directive-principles>.

Edited by

Share this article