Article 17 of the Indian Constitution is very Important. Why?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 9th, 2023

Article 17 of the Indian Constitution is important because it largely addresses the issue of untouchability. The practice of untouchability is prohibited and subject to restrictions under this article. It ensures the abolition of all forms of untouchability. Any form of untouchability is considered a crime. Because caste is a major social issue in Indian society, Article 17 made it absolutely necessary to begin the process of caste annihilation.

Article 17 of the Indian Constitution

On June 1st, 1955, the Untouchability (Offences) Act, which mandates penalties for the practice of untouchability and outlaws this repugnant behavior, went into effect.

  • Untouchability is prohibited by Article 17 of the Indian Constitution.
  • The Untouchability (Offences) Act, passed in 1955, makes this practice a punishable offense. Any form of obstruction resulting from untouchability has been considered an offense, and also punishable for its enforcement.
  • The Indian Parliament passed this law in an attempt to eradicate all forms of untouchability from the nation.
  • On being found guilty of practicing untouchability on any other person for the first time, the law imposes imprisonment of six months or a fine of Rs 500 in lieu thereof.
  • In the event of subsequent or repeated offenses, the guilty party will also be punished with imprisonment. If a more severe punishment is needed, that is also possible.

Importance of Article 17 of the Indian Constitution

Violations of Article 17 include prohibiting anyone from entering a temple, house of worship, or any other public place, as well as prohibiting them from collecting water from sacred bodies of water, wells, etc.

  • Some other offenses include forcing people to professional, trade, or business boundaries, preventing someone from receiving charitable benefits, preventing someone from working a job, preventing someone from buying goods or services from you, and hurting, molesting, excommunicating, boycotting, or otherwise upsetting someone based on untouchability.
  • The Act was introduced in the Lok Sabha on May 8, 1955, approved by both Houses, and came into force on June 1 of the same year.
  • On 2 September 1976, the Act was amended and renamed the Civil Rights Protection Act. The Act included even more stringent measures to abolish untouchability. Based on this law, the willful disregard of the allegations of untouchability by the investigating authorities constituted incitement to the incitement.

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