Why is Article 17 of the Indian Constitution very Important?

By Devyani Singh|Updated : September 5th, 2022

The untouchability issue is mostly covered in Article 17 of the Indian Constitution. The practice of untouchability is prohibited by this article and is subject to restrictions. It guarantees the eradication of untouchability in all forms. Any form of untouchability practice is viewed as a crime. Caste being a major social issue in Indian society, it made article 17 absolutely necessary to begin the process of the annihilation of caste. 

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 behaviour, went into effect.

  • Untouchability is prohibited by Article 17 of the Indian Constitutional.
  • The Untouchability (Offences) Act, passed in 1955, makes this conduct an offence that is punishable. Any form of handicap that results from untouchability has been deemed an offence, and it also carries penalties for enforcement.
  • The Indian Parliament passed this law in an effort to eradicate all forms of untouchability from the nation.
  • For anyone found guilty of practising untouchability on another person for the first time, the law imposes a punishment of six months in jail or, in lieu of that, a fine of 500 rupees.
  • In the event of subsequent or recurrent offences, the convicted party will also get a jail sentence. If more severe punishment is required, it is also possible.
  • The Act's violations include prohibiting someone from entering a temple, house of worship, or any other public space, as well as restricting them from collecting water from holy bodies of water, wells, etc. (c) denying someone access to a "Dharamshala," restaurant, store, hotel, hospital, public transportation, educational facility, or any venue for general enjoyment. (d) denying access to wells, cremation grounds, roads, rivers, and riverbanks, among other things.
  • A few other crimes include forcing people to have professional, trade, or occupational limitations, preventing someone from receiving charity benefits, ignoring anyone 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 presented to the Lok Sabha on May 8th, 1955, was approved by both houses and took effect on June 1st of that same year.
  • On September 2, 1976, the Act underwent revisions and was renamed the Protection of Civil Rights Act. Even harsher measures to end untouchability were included in this Act.
  • By virtue of this law, investigative authorities' willful neglect of allegations about untouchability constituted abetment.

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  • Part 3 of the Indian constitution provides fundamental rights, in which Article 17 has provided equality by the abolition of untouchability

  • According to the Act, denying someone access to a place of public worship or a place of worship, denying them access to a store, a public restaurant, a hotel, or a place of public entertainment, refusing to admit someone to a hospital, or refusing to sell them goods or provide them with services carries a sentence of one to two years in prison. Additionally, it is illegal to preach untouchability, practise it, or defend it on the basis of religious, philosophical, historical, or other justifications when abusing a member of a Scheduled Caste.

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