Untouchability was first observed among Hindu’s caste system, where people categorised untouchables based on their work performance, any communicable deformities, sin person, & so on. But with the passage of time, the people started treating everyone belonging from the community as untouchables. They aren’t given permission to enter into the house, temples, public places, the worst part is they were not even able to get drinking water from the common well.
The society was divided into two, their life and the life of the upper caste was totally different. Children were treated differently just because they were born in that family. It doesn’t matter how well they started living or earning well, they were treated like untouchables. It’s the 21st century but the situation is not different till this date, the percentage of instances decreased & the people getting aware of their rights. They don’t want to be treated the way their ancestors were treated by upper caste people of Hinduism.
Article 17 of Constitution of India
Article 17 of Constitution of India the practice of untouchability in the country. The Parliament also enacted the Untouchability (offences) Act, 1955 which was further amended in 1976 & later renamed as Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955.
The aforementioned act, considered any act of untouchability as an offence and it the duty of the public servants to investigate in such matters. If he intentionally neglects his duty then he shall be considered to abet the offence & shall be punished under the act.
Punishment for discriminating on the ground of untouchability
The Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 states that if any person infringes right under the Article 17 of Constitution of India then he shall be punished with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees or imprisonment which may extend to six months or both.
People’s Union for Democratic Rights v. Union of India, AIR 1982 SC 1473
This case is also known as Asiad Project Workers Case, where the Supreme Court held that fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 17 of Constitution of India is also against the private person. It is the duty of the state to make sure that Fundamental rights are not infringed.