Community Welfare Charter: as enshrined under Directive Principles of the State Policy of the Indian Constitution

(1) Uniform Civil Code for the citizens:

Article 44 provides that the State shall Endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.

In Sarla Mudgal vs. Union of India, (1995) 3 S.C.C. 635, the Supreme Court directed the Prime Minister of India to take fresh look at Article 44 of the Constitution which enjoins the State to secure a uniform civil code which, according to the court, is imperative for both the protection of the oppressed and the promotion of national unity and integrity. The Court directed the Government to take steps towards, securing a uniform civil code for the citizens of the country.

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On the facts of the case, the Supreme Court held that a Hindu marriage continues to exist even after one of the spouse had converted to Islam. There is no automatic dissolution of Hindu marriage. It can be dissolved only by a decree of divorce on any of the grounds mentioned in Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act.

Accordingly, the court held that the second marriage of a Hindu after his conversion to Islam, was void in terms of section 494 of Indian Penal Code and the husband was liable to be prosecuted for bigamy.

(2) Organisation of agriculture and animal husbandry:

Article 48 lays down that the State shall Endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breads, and prohibiting the slaughter of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.

(3) Protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forests and wild life:

Article 48-A makes provision that the State shall Endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country.

In M.C. Mehta II v. Union of India, (1988) 1 S.C.C. 471, the Supreme Court relying on the provisions of Article 48-A, gave directions to the Central Government and the State Governments and various Local Bodies and Boards under various Statutes, to take appropriate steps for the prevention and control of pollution of water.

(4) Protection of monuments and places and objects of national importance:

According to Article 49, it shall be the obligation of the State to protect every monument or place or object of artistic or historic interest (declared by or under law made by Parliament) to be of national importance, from spoliation, disfigurement, destruction, removal, disposal or export, as the case may be.

This Article places the State under the duty to protect every monument or place or object of artistic or historic interest, declared by Parliament by law to be of national importance, from spoliation, disfigurement, destruction, removal, disposal or export, as the case may be.

It may be noted that there is already a Central Act, the Ancient Monuments Preservation Act, 1944, which is intended to preserve ancient monuments and to prevent excavation by unauthorized persons of sites of historic interest and value.

(5) Separation of judiciary from Executive:

Article 50 provides that the State shall take steps to separate the judiciary from the executive in the public services of the State.

The constitution has not indeed recognised the doctrine of separation of powers in its absolute rigidity but the functions of the different parts of the branches, have been sufficiently differentiated. Our Constitution does not contemplate assumption, by one organ or part of State of functions that essentially belongs to another.

(6) Promotion of international peace and security.—Article 51 lays down that the State shall Endeavour to:

(a) Promote international peace and security:

(b) Maintain just and honorable relations between nations;

(c) Foster respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings of organised peoples with another, and

(d) Encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration.

(7) Organisation of village-Panchayats:

Article 40 makes provisions that the State shall take steps to organise village-panchayats and endow them with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-Government.

The above mentioned directives are the “Community Welfare Charter” enshrined under the Directive Principles of State Policy of the Constitution.

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