Why is Article 17 of the Indian Constitution very Important?

By Balaji

Updated on: February 17th, 2023

Article 17 of the Indian Constitution is important because it largely addresses the issue of untouchability. The practise 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.

Table of content

  • 1. Article 17 of Indian Constitution (more)

Article 17 of Indian Constitution

On June 1st, 1955, the Untouchability (Offences) Act, which mandates penalties for the practice of untouchability and outlaws this repugnant behaviour, 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 offence. Any form of obstruction resulting from untouchability has been considered an offence, 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 practising 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 offences, the guilty party will also be punished with imprisonment. If a more severe punishment is needed, that is also possible.
  • Violations of the Act 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 offences 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 on the basis of 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. On the basis of this law, the willful disregard of the allegations of untouchability by the investigating authorities constituted incitement to the incitement.

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