From ‘niti’ to ‘nyaya’


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THE Constitution of India was adopted on 26 November 1949, announcing the birth of India as a democratic Republic, with a government that was to be elected by universal franchise. Equally, the Constitution proclaimed, loud and clear, that there were limits to the power of the democratically elected legislature and executive. These limits were expressed in terms of the ‘Fundamental Rights’ to liberty (including the right to life and personal liberty) and equality, the right against exploitation, the right to freedom of religion, and cultural and educational rights of minorities. The fundamental rights, enforceable by the courts, could not be transgressed by any law or executive action. Through these rights, the Constitution set up an impregnable sphere in the life of each individual that was free from interference by the state.

The Constitution also set out the Directive Principles of State Policy, principles of governance which mandated the state to strive, amongst other things, to eliminate inequalities in status and opportunity and establish a just social order, to secure adequate means of livelihood, equal pay for equal work, distribution of ownership and control of material resources for the common good, provision of care and education for children, free legal aid and promotion of educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people. While the Fundamental Rights were expressed mainly in terms of freedom from interference by the state, the Directive Principles were in the nature of socio-economic goals that required state action.


In a newly independent nation where the majority had to struggle for the basic requirements of food, clothing and shelter, not to speak of education or health care, the Directive Principles were a powerful reminder of all that needed to be done even just to ensure a life of basic human dignity for all. As such – as an end in themselves, and as a precondition to the enjoyment by all of the ‘fundamental’ political and civil rights – the Directive Principles were just as important as the Fundamental Rights.

Curiously, however, even though the Constitution said the Directive Principles, set out in Part IV, were ‘fundamental in the governance of the country’, they were stated to be not ‘enforceable by any court.’1 By contrast, the provisions of Part III – the Fundamental Rights, were said to be justiciable or enforceable on account of Articles 32 and 226, whereby a citizen could petition the Supreme Court or a High Court for the enforcement of these rights. If the courts found that a law or some executive action was in violation of any of the Fundamental Rights in Part III, it would be declared pro tanto invalid and struck down. The Directive Principles in Part IV could not be enforced in this way. This non-justiciability of the Directive Principles has had a considerable bearing on the complex and circuitous way in which socio-economic rights have come to be recognized by Indian courts.

Owing to this stated lack of enforceability, the Directive Principles were at first regarded by the Supreme Court as a glorified wishlist, for the state to strive toward on a ‘best efforts’ basis, separate from and strictly subservient to the fundamental civil and political rights. Later, in part goaded by brute legislative force, the Supreme Court began to read the Directive Principles in conjunction with the Fundamental Rights provisions. Over time, the Directive Principles became instrumental in the constitutionalisation of a whole new range of positive rights,2 enormously expanding the boundaries of ‘redressable injustice’3 in India.


This piece will recount the evolving approach of the Supreme Court, as the ultimate judicial interpreter of the Constitution, to the Directive Principles over the three score years of the working of the Indian Constitution, and trace, summarily and critically, how the Directive Principles have been transformed from a mere set of laudable socio-economic policy goals for the legislature and the executive, or ‘Niti’, into an important site for the development of a unique ‘transcendental jurisprudence’ in aid of social justice.4


In the constitutional and political discourse of the first two decades after the Constitution was adopted, the position of the Directive Principles was defined by a dialectical dynamic between the executive5 and the judiciary. Heirs to the common law traditions of colonial jurisprudence, the judges of the Supreme Court in these years were markedly literal, or positivist, in their approach to interpreting the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles, perhaps on account of their sheer novelty.6 Being in a separate chapter from the Fundamental Rights and non-justiciable, the Directive Principles were generally regarded by the Supreme Court as being solus, separate and distinct from and inferior to the Fundamental Rights; in cases where the two were seen to be in conflict, the courts held the Directive Principles to be subservient to the Fundamental Rights, if not entirely superfluous.7


The legislature, however, took a more ideological view of the Directive Principles, and the socialistic goals that some of the Directive Principles embodied were thought to be of overriding importance. So, as and when judicial decisions struck down or diluted a new enactment, Parliament promptly revised the new law and/ or amended the Constitution to circumvent these judicial decisions. In Champakam Dorairajan8 when the Supreme Court was urged to read the citizen’s right not to be discriminated against on grounds of religion, caste, sex of birth under Articles 15(1) and 29(2)m9 harmoniously with Article 46, which enjoins the state to promote ‘with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people’, the Supreme Court held that ‘(t)he directive principles of the [sic] State policy, which by Article 37 are expressly made unenforceable by a court, cannot override the provisions found in Part III... The Directive Principles of State Policy have to conform to and run as subsidiary to the Chapter of Fundamental Rights.’ In response, Parliament passed the Constitutional (First Amendment) Act, 1951, amending Article 15 by adding Article 15(4) which provided that Articles 15 or 29(2) would not ‘prevent the State from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially or educationally backward classes of citizens.’

The difference in viewpoint between the legislature and the judiciary was even more pronounced in relation to economic rights. Throughout the 1950s and the 1960s, the courts struck down various enactments relating to compulsory land acquisition and nationalization of business for interfering with Fundamental Rights protected under Articles 19 (the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression, assembly, free movement, residence, profession or occupation, trade or business) and 31 (the fundamental right not to be deprived of property, except in accordance with law, subsequently repealed in 1978). Equally consistently, the legislature enacted amendments to the Constitution to circumvent these rulings. ‘It is for Parliament to decide …[the] law we should have,’ Nehru said, and if the courts saw a contradiction between the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles, ‘it is up to Parliament to remove the contradictions and make the Fundamental Rights subserve the Directive Principles of State Policy.’10


So, when the Allahabad High Court ordered the state government to desist from nationalizing private transport businesses,11 the Constitutional (First Amendment) Act, 1951 added a clause to Article 19(6) to prevent the invalidation of nationalizing legislation for violating the fundamental right to freedom of trade and commerce guaranteed by Article 19(1)(g); and when the courts invalidated state zamindari abolition acts12 for being violative of the citizen’s right to property protected under Article 31, such acts were shielded from judicial scrutiny by the First Amendment which added Articles 31A and 31B and the Ninth Schedule to the Constitution. The former saved laws providing for land acquisition by the state and other expropriating legislation from being struck down as violative of the fundamental rights contained in Articles 14 (the right to equality before the law and equal protection of the laws) or Article 19. The latter (Article 31B) provided protection to all the legislation listed in the Ninth Schedule from being struck down as violative of any fundamental right, even if it had already been struck down before.


The 4th and 17th Amendments were made to amplify newly enacted land reform legislation curtailing the right to property. The 4th Amendment (1955) was enacted to overcome the effect of the Supreme Court’s decision in State of West Bengal v. Mrs. Bela Banerjee13 (1954) by adding Article 31(2A) to Article 31(2) to make ‘compensation’ for acquired land non-justiciable and incorporate the law in question, the West Bengal Land Development and Planning Act, 1948, into the Ninth Schedule.

The 17th Amendment (1964) amended Article 31A to bring ‘ryotwari’ lands within its ambit, after the Supreme Court held in Karimbil Kunhikoman v. State of Kerala14 (1962), that the taking of ‘ryotwari’ lands under the Kerala Agrarian Relations Act, 1961, was not protected from judicial scrutiny; it also added another 44 pieces of legislation to the Ninth Schedule.

This dialectical relationship between an assertive legislature and an independent judiciary became more pronounced in the late 1960s and the 1970s when Indira Gandhi became prime minister. As many as twenty amendments were brought in the Constitution between 1967 and 1976 (as many as in the last two decades put together) as the government acquired land, nationalized banking, insurance, mines, steel plants, textile mills and shipping lines and ended the princes’ privileges and privy purses. A byproduct of this dialectic was a rejigging of the relationship between the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles with the decision in Kesavananda Bharati (1973).15


By the 25th Amendment (1971), Parliament had added to the Constitution Article 31C, which provided, first, that no law giving effect to the Directive Principles specified in Articles 39 (b) and (c) could be deemed void for being inconsistent with the fundamantal rights in Articles 14 or 19, and second, that no law that contained a declaration that it was for giving effect to such policy could be questioned in any court on the ground that it did not give effect to such policy. This was significant, as Clause (b) of Article 39 directs the state to secure that the community’s material resources are distributed to serve the common good while Clause (c) directs that the state ought to secure that the operation of the economic system should not result in the concentration of wealth or means of production to the common detriment. Article 31C was thus designed to give the legislature the last word in law making.


In Kesavananda Bharati, the 25th Amendment was challenged along with the 24th and 29th by the head of a muth in Kerala for interfering with his freedom to administer the muth’s properties.16 Perhaps in part feeling the need to attenuate the rift that had arisen with the legislature in the previous years and influenced by the government’s ongoing efforts to ‘commit’ the judiciary,17 the Supreme Court sought to take a ‘balanced’ view: it upheld the validity of the first part of Article 31C, while striking down the latter part,18 and restricted Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution by propounding the ‘basic structure doctrine’, that broadly speaking, Parliament did not have power to make amendments that altered the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution. The reasoning used in some of the individual judgments19 written in Kesavananda marks a significant shift away from the view that the Directive Principles were subservient to the Fundamental Rights. Speaking for himself and Justice A.N. Mukherjea, Justice K.S. Hegde held that ‘there is no antithesis between the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles. One supplements the other. The Directives lay down the end to be achieved and Part III [the chapter on Fundamental Rights] prescribes the means through which the goal is to be reached.’20 Justice Chandrachud observed ‘(t)hat one is justiciable and the other not, may show the intrinsic difficulties in making the latter enforceable through legal processes, but that distinction does not bear on their relative importance… If the State fails to create conditions which the fundamental freedoms could be enjoyed by all, the freedom of the few will be at mercy of the many and then all freedoms will vanish.’

Kesavananda Bharati did not perhaps address what would happen where the Directive Principles and the Fundamental Rights came into conflict with each other. This aspect came to be considered a few years later in Minerva Mills21 (1980), when the Supreme Court was called upon to consider the validity of the 42nd Amendment.


The 42nd Amendment had been enacted at the height of the Emergency: its main drift was to consolidate the power of the government of the day by, amongst other things, ‘trimming’ the ambit of judicial review and expanding the amending powers of Parliament, making them virtually limitless. In relation to the Directive Principles, along with adding the word ‘Socialist’ to the Preamble and three more provisions22 to Part IV, Parliament sought to amend Article 31C to provide that no law enacted to give effect to any of the Directive Principles would be rendered void for being inconsistent with Articles 14, 19 or 31.23 The proposed amendment would have in effect rendered the Directive Principles the determining factor in law making rather than the Fundamental Rights, and the legislature, not the judiciary, would thenceforth have the final say on what laws would govern India.


In Minerva Mills, the Supreme Court declared the proposed amendment to Article 31C void for being beyond the amending power of Parliament as prescribed earlier in Kesavananda Bharati: it held that to make the Fundamental Rights guaranteed by Articles 14, 19 and 21 run subsidiary to the Directive Principles offended the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution. Justice Chandrachud, voicing the majority view, observed that ‘Part III and Part IV together constitute the core of our Constitution and combine to form its conscience, …just as the rights conferred by Part III would be without a radar and a compass if they were not geared to an ideal, in the same manner the attainment of the ideals set out in Part IV would become a pretence for tyranny if the price to be paid for achieving that ideal is human freedoms.’

Thus, the 1970s marked a milestone in the approach of the courts toward the Directive Principles when emphasis came to be laid on the latter part of Article 37 that ‘the principles… laid down [in the Directive Principles of State Policy] are nevertheless fundamental in the governance of the country.’ By the end of that decade, the Directive Principles came to be regarded as being at least as important as the Fundamental Rights, despite being non-justiciable. In the reformatory wave that followed the lifting of the Emergency and the coming to power of the first non-Congress government, this was enough to initiate a fresh cycle of historic churning.


Following the Emergency, almost as if to make up for its indifferent record during it, the judiciary emerged ‘as the last refuge of lost causes.’24 In what represented a sharp break from the positivism of its earlier years, the judiciary now came to draw on the Directive Principles as the ‘inspiration’25 for a ‘transcendental jurisprudence’, one that transcended the positivist colonial tradition of justicing26 and gave effect, at long last, to the ultimate clause of Article 37 – ‘the duty of the State to apply these [Directive] principles in making laws.’ This represents perhaps the singularly most important development in Indian jurisprudence and one that has since influenced international thinking considerably.27

The judiciary was hereafter ‘informed by the broader principles of access to justice necessitated by the conditions of developing countries and obligated by Article 38 of the Constitution.’28 The change in interpretive model was coupled with a ‘procedural revolution’ when by widening the locus standi (standing to sue) rule, the Supreme Court entertained petitions by strangers for the enforcement of the rights of others who could not for social or economic reasons approach the courts themselves.


Significantly, the post-Emergency period also saw the rise of many new social movements, a trend that had surfaced in the early 1970s but gathered momentum as a reaction to the Emergency. Thus, the late 1970s and the 1980s saw the establishment of many civil rights groups,29 the feminist movement and the environmental movement,30 while older movements such as the trade union movement gained strength as they spread from factories to mines and cottage industries. These social movements came to rely upon the Supreme Court to address their concerns: and the Supreme Court responded impressively in a flurry of decisions, which have since firmly established a relationship of interdependence between the civil and political rights embodied in the Fundamental Rights and the socio-economic goals contained in the Directive Principles.

Bandhua Mukti Morcha31 (1984) is typical of the judicial rulings that have since become more or less the standard. In that case, the Supreme Court entertained a letter addressed to it by a non-governmental organization, treating it as a writ petition under Article 32. The organization complained in its letter of the existence of ‘bonded labour’ in various parts of the country and sought the court’s intervention against it.

Dismissing the preliminary objection that the person writing the letter did not have sufficient standing, or locus, to sue, the court observed that ‘when a complaint is made on behalf of workmen that they are held in bondage and are working and living in miserable conditions … it is difficult to appreciate how such a complaint can be thrown out on the ground that it is not violative of the fundamental right of the workmen… This right to live with human dignity enshrined in Article 21 derives its life breath from the Directive Principles of State Policy and particularly Clauses (e) and (f) of Article 39 and Articles 41 and 42 and at the least, therefore, it must include protection of the health and strength of workers, men and women, and of the tender age of children against abuse, opportunities and facilities for children to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity, educational facilities, just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief.’


Come the 1990s, in the backdrop of the weakening of the executive arm of the Indian state with the formation of a series of coalition governments since 1989, as well as a relative contraction in the role of the state as a result of the economic liberalization reforms of 1991, the ‘activist’ tendency in the judiciary became even more pronounced. In its continued use of the interpretive strategy employed in the previous decade, the Supreme Court read many of the Directive Principles from Part IV into the Fundamental Rights in Part III, which reading has since been affirmed. Thus, the Supreme Court relying on a combined reading of Articles 21 (the Fundamental Right to life), 47 and 48-A (both part of the Directive Principles),32 has recognized a ‘right to fresh air, clean water and pollution free environment’,33 Article 4534 has prompted the recognition of the ‘right to education’ as a part of the ‘right to life’ under Article 21,35 Articles 38, 39 and 4636 have been relied upon to recognize the ‘right to residence and settlement’ as facets of the Fundamental Rights guaranteed under Articles 19(1)(e) and 21,37 Article 47 has prompted acknowledgement of the ‘right to food’,38 and Articles 38, 39, 41, 42, 43, 46 and 48A (all part of the Directive Principles) have enabled the recognition of the ‘right to health’.39


An interesting fallout of the widened locus standi rule, and one that is especially relevant to a liberalized political economy, has been the ‘horizontal’ application of the complex of Directive Principles-Fundamental Rights to relations between private individuals rather than exclusively by individuals against the state.40 In Vishaka41 (1997) certain social activists and NGOs petitioned the Supreme Court to intervene in a case involving the brutal gang rape of a social worker in Rajasthan and correct the state’s failure to provide ‘gender justice’ and prevent sexual harassment at the workplace.


The Supreme Court, relying upon Articles 14, 15, 19, 21, interpreted widely in light of the Directive Principle in Article 45, proceeded to issue ‘guidelines and norms for employers or other responsible persons in workplaces or other institutions’ to prevent the commission of acts of sexual harassment. Similarly, in M. C. Mehta v. State of Tamil Nadu42 (1996) where the petitioner complained about child labour and requested the court to stop this practice and institutionalize a rehabilitation scheme, in a conjoint reading of Articles 24 and 45, the court proceeded to issue directions in the form of a ten point action plan requiring all state governments to enforce legal obligations against private employers, and requiring private employers to contribute to a welfare scheme for children taken out of the labour market.

The ‘transcendent’ approach, however, is not devoid of problems. In the last two decades, judicial activism has been criticized as an unwarranted encroachment on the legislative and executive sphere by unelected judges, who moreover may lack the requisite expertise to pass judgment or make decisions on many matters, for instance in matters relating to the environment. Judicial activism has also sometimes provided too convenient an escape route to the executive and the legislature to deflect responsibility for potentially unpopular decisions.


While some of these criticisms may be misplaced, especially when the record of the judiciary is considered relative to the record of the legislature and the executive, it is true that judicial intervention by its very nature is fragmentary, sporadic and lacks the scale required for the realization of positive rights. Also, as the judiciary has found itself increasingly performing functions that are in the nature of governance or policy-making, it has sometimes tended to share the prevalent ideologies of government and taken a relatively conservative view of various rights.43 Thus in T.K. Rangarajan44 the court declared that the Tamil Nadu government employees had no legal, moral or equitable right to strike and in the Narmada Bachao Andolan case45 permitted the forced eviction of large masses of people even though there was considerable legal material to show that the raising of the height of the Sardar Sarovar dam was contrary to current legal standards.


Nonetheless, the Directive Principles have greatly strengthened the ‘rights’ discourse in India by providing the courts with the theoretical framework as also systemic legitimacy to create and enforce not just civil and political rights, or ‘negative’ rights that ensure an impregnable sphere of freedom from interference by the state, but socio-economic rights or ‘positive’ rights, that require positive state action for their realization.

The synergy created by the interplay between the Directive Principles and the Fundamental Rights during the sixty years we have lived with the Constitution has enabled the courts to recognize what may be called a composite right to development. While litigation and adversarial action alone cannot realize the right to development, the very constitutionalisation of the idea that the state is obligated ‘to create conditions in which the fundamental freedoms could be enjoyed by all,’46 marks a significant advance in the right direction. The Directive Principles began firmly in the realm of ‘Niti’, being policy goals to guide governance that were not enforceable in any court of law. Over time, the Directive Principles have become firmly ensconced in the realm of ‘Nyaya’, in the jurisprudence of constitutional rights in aid of social justice. The irony is inescapable: while the Directive Principles were stated not to be enforceable ‘by any court’ and were meant to move legislative and executive action, it is the judiciary that has come to imbue the Directive Principles with a peculiar legal force.


* The author would like to thank Syed Jafar Alam for his valuable contribution, in research and ideas towards this piece. 


1. See Article 37, Part IV of the Constitution.

2. By ‘positive rights’ I mean socio-economic rights that require state action, while ‘negative’ rights are in the nature of civil and political rights that are expressed in terms of non-interference by the state. See for instance, I. Berlin, Four Essays on Liberty. OUP, 1969.

3. In Amartya Sen’s view, it is not the idea of a completely just world that moves people, but their ‘identification of redressable injustice’; the Parisians would not have stormed the Bastille, Gandhi would not have challenged the British Empire and Martin Luther King would not have fought white supremacy had it not been for ‘their sense of manifest injustice that could be overcome’: they ‘were not trying to achieve a perfectly just world…, but they did want to remove clear injustices to the extent they could.’ (emphasis added) See A. Sen, The Idea of Justice. Penguin, 2009, p. vii.

4. U. Baxi, ‘Transcendental Jurisprudence: Justice Krishna Iyer’, in C.R. Kumar and K. Chockalingam (eds.), Human Rights, Justice and Constitutional Empowerment. OUP, 2007, pp. 7-16.

5. The legislature and the executive were largely coextensive during this period as the Congress consistently made up an overwhelming majority of the central and the state legislatures.

6. None of the earlier constitutional acts had such provisions.

7. Indeed, Seervai, one of the latter day proponents of this view asserted that ‘if directive principles had not been enacted or were struck out nothing would have happened. But if fundamental rights had not been enacted or struck out, the result would have been disaster.’ See, H.M. Seervai, Constitutional Law of India: A Critical Commentary. Fourth Edition. Tripathi, 1991, Vol. II, p. 1921.

8. State of Madras v. Champakam Dorairajan, AIR 1951 SC 226.

9. Article 15(1) provides that the state shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds of religion, race caste, sex or place of birth, and Article 29(2) provides that no citizen will be denied admission on any of these grounds.

10. Lok Sabha Debates, 1955, Vol. 3, No.16, cols. 1948, 1953 and 1956, 14 March 1955, quoted in G. Austin, Working A Democratic Constitution: A History of the Indian Experience. OUP, 1999, p. 108.

11. Motilal and Ors. v. State of U.P. and Ors., AIR 1951 All 257ff.

12. For instance, in Sir Kameshwar Singh (Darbhanga) v. The Province of Bihar, AIR 1950 Pat 392ff, the Patna High Court struck down the Bihar Management of Estates and Tenures Act, 1949 and in Kameshwar Singh (Darbhanga) v. The State of Bihar, AIR 1951 Pat 91ff, it struck down the Bihar Land Reforms Act, 1950. The latter ruling was upheld by the Supreme Court in State of Bihar v. Maharajadhiraja Sir Kameshwar Singh of Dharbhanga and Ors., 1952(3) SCR 889ff, although the act had been incorporated in the Ninth Schedule, to keep it outside the pale of judicial scrutiny.

13. AIR 1954 SC 170.

14. 1962 Supp (1) SCR 829ff.

15. His Holiness Kesavananda Bharati Sripadagalvaru v. State of Kerala, 1973 (4) SCC 225.

16. All three amendments had the effect of saving the Kerala Land Reforms Act, 1963 and the Kerala Land Reforms (Amendment) Act, 1969 and 1971, from judicial review: so to maintain the challenge to the acts, these amendments had to be challenged too.

17. For an interesting account of some ‘unusual happenings’ that may have affected the Supreme Court’s ruling in Kesavananda, see supra fn. 22 pp. 269-277.

18. The first part, which was upheld, was that no law giving effect to the Directive Principles specified in Articles 39 (b) and (c) could be deemed void for being inconsistent with the fundamental rights in Articles 14 or 19. The second, which was struck down, was that no law that contained a declaration that it was for giving effect to such policy could be questioned in any court on the ground that it did not give effect to such policy.

19. The case was heard by a 13 judge bench of the Supreme Court over some 70 working days whereafter the 13 judges pronounced 11 disparate judgments spanning over 700 pages in all. An attempt was made to streamline the diversity of judicial opinion so expressed by way of a statement signed by 9 judges. These nine judges held the 24th and 29th Amendments to be valid while the 25th was held partially valid. But many a legal scholar has concluded that the judgments of even these judges differ on many aspects. Seervai concludes that if the case were to be examined by itself, it was possible to argue that the judgments of seven of the 13 judges, even as to the doctrine of basic structure (for which the case is best known) disclosed no common ratio.

20. Supra fn. 15 at para 716, p. 503.

21. (1980) 3 SCC 625.

22. These were Articles 39A, 43A and 48A, which mandated the state to provide for free legal aid, the participation of workers in the management of industry and protect and improve the environment, respectively.

23. Prior to this amendment, Article 31C saved only those laws that were passed to give effect to the principles specified in Article 39 (b) and (c).

24. Justice Krishna Iyer, in Municipal Council, Ratlam v. Vardichan and Ors., (1980) 4 SCC 162.

25. Y.P. Ghai, ‘Foreword’, in C.R. Kumar and K. Chockalingam (eds.), op cit.

26. See supra fn. 4.

27. The South African Constitution is to some extent inspired in this respect by the Indian Constitution, though its constitutional court has tried to balance its own powers with that of other branches of the state rather more carefully.

28. See supra fn. 26.

29. The People’s Union for Democratic Rights and the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, to name two.

30. The Centre for Science and Environment and Kalpavriksha, for instance were set up in this period.

31. AIR 1984 SC 802.

32. Article 47 of the Directive Principles mandates the state to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health. Article 48-A of the Directive Principles mandates the state to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country.

33. Vellore Citizens Welfare Forum v. Union of India, AIR 1996 SC 2715.

34. Article 45 originally mandated the state to provide free and compulsory education to children between the ages of six and fourteen years, as a Directive Principle. After the 86th Amendment in 2002, this has been converted into a Fundamental Right and replaced by an obligation upon the state to secure childhood care to all children below the age of six.

35. J.P. Unni Krishnan v. State of Andhra Pradesh, (1993) 1 SCC 645. Education is now a fundamental right under Article 21A, under the 86th Amendment in 2002.

36. Article 46 mandates the state to protect the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections and protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.

37. P.G. Gupta v. State of Gujarat & Ors., 1995 Supp(2) SCC 182.

38. Chameli Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh, (1996) 2 SCC 549.

39. Consumer Education and Research Centre v. Union of India, (1995) 3 SCC 42.

40. S. Krishnaswamy, ‘Horizontal Application of Fundamental Rights and State Action in India’, in C.R. Kumar and K. Chockalingam (ed.), Human Rights, Justice and Constitutional Empowerment, OUP, 2007, pp. 47-73.

41. Vishaka and Ors. v. State of Rajasthan and Ors., (1997) 6 SCC 241.

42. (1996) 6 SCC 756.

43. B. Rajagopal, ‘Judicial Governance and the Ideology of Human Rights: Reflections from a Social Movement Perspective’, in C.R. Kumar and K. Chockalingam (eds.), op cit., pp. 200-236.

44. T.K. Rangarajan v. Government of Tamil Nadu and Ors., 2003.

45. Narmada Bachao Andolan v. Union of India & Ors., (2000) 10 SCC 664.

46. Justice Chandrachud in Kesavananda Bharati (1973).