UNTOUCHABILITY UNDER THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION

    Edited by: Vaani Garg

    Humans are not impure their Mindsets are .

    HUMANS ARE HUMANS . DON’T JUDGE THEM ON THE BASIS OF THEIR BACKGROUND .

    The Constitution of India does not recognize the caste disabilities and provides for securing political, economic and social justice for all the citizens of India and it has given them the liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship. The Constitution has also guaranteed to all citizens equality of status and opportunity. It has recognized the principle of fraternity assuring the dignity of the individuals. The Constitution of India has laid down a system which is based on the principle of social justice. Social justice, is now a fundamental right of a citizen.

    Article 17 of the Constitution[i] knocks the whole existence of Untouchability at the very bottom and throws it out lock, stock and barrel.

    This Article says :-

    “Untouchability is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden. The enforcement of any disability arising out of “untouchability” shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.”[1]

    • Article 17, firstly, makes a declaration for the abolition of untouchability and prohibits its practice in any form.
    • Secondly it declares’ that the enforcement of any disability arising out of untouchability is to be an offence punishable in accordance with the law.
    • The significance of the declaration of Article 17 abolishing untouchability is forbidding its practice in any form. Even without any supporting legislation under the later part of the Article, abolition of untouchability and prohibition against its practice in any form has the effect of not only invalidating all laws, customs, usages, practices etc. directly or indirectly recognizing or encouraging the practice of untouchability but even also any sales, contracts or other private transactions having the effect of such recognition or encouragement.
    • The second part of Article 17 simply declares that the enforcement of any disability arising out of untouchability shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law and it does not make the enforcement, ipso – facto, punishable under the Article.
    • Untouchability is neither defined within the constitution nor within the act. The Mysore  court has , however, held that the term is not to be understood in its literal or grammatical sense but to be understood as the “practice as it had developed historically” in this country .[ii]
    • To make untouchability law further strong , parliament passed Untouchability( offences) Act in 1955, which came into force on 1st June 1955 . Several loopholes were found in the working of this Act which compelled the govt. to bring about the drastic amendment in the act in 1976. The Act was restored as the protection of Civil Rights Act . [iii]
    • The expression human rights is defined as ‘any right accruing to a person by a reason of the abolition of untouchability by article 17 of the constitution’. Under the amended Act, any discrimination on the ground of untouchability would be considered as offence. It imposes a duty on public servants to investigate such offences .
    • The protection of civil rights act prescribed punishment which may include imprisonment up-to six months and also a fine which may extend to five hundred rupees.

    Untouchability is still an important and a serious issue which is still not getting enough emphasis by the governmental authorities ,media and general public. People still consider it as an outdated social issue which need not to be given much importance but the truth is that still there are a lot of areas or villages or small unknown or less familiar places where untouchability is still practiced. This topic is of utmost importance and concern and should be given good amount of consideration so that people can understand and learn the facts of the same matter and take it as an important issue. Eradication of this practice is necessary for social development.

    The only way this issue can be tackled is by giving good education and spreading awareness regarding the same, so that people at least become aware and become more concerned and understand that the issue is more fragile than it is been seen. Public knowledge is very important to stop untouchability .

    CONCLUSION :

    Our constitution has made it clear in every possible way that every citizen , every Individual is equal and should be treated with the same amount of respect and dignity .

    Discrimination on the grounds of caste or gender is something we should rise above from and think about things that are of more worth and time giving . So, it’s better to move away from the drawbacks and make the country a little subtle and radical of the social issues .

    All of us know about the inequality on the basis of caste . It has been a ongoing issue for a very long period of time. After all the statistical and graphical representations, we come to the the conclusion that about 27% of households within India still practice untouchability .

    What good will this discrimination would bring to the country?

    If we start on to the problems that Dalits face on day to day basis even after 70 years of independence, then too there is no end to the amount of pain and hurt they have to go through . They tend to hate themselves ,their individuality .

    Discrimination can be stopped by clearing all the negativity regarding the same from the mindsets of the people .

    REFERENCES :


    [1] Abolition of Untouchability .


    [i] ARTICLE 17 of the Indian Constitution : https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1987997/

    [ii] https://pscnotes.in/article-17-of-indian-constitution/

    [iii] Untouchability protection Act – https://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/94372/12/12_chapter%207.pdf