17. Abolition of Untouchability
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.
Note: Article 17 of the constitution abolishes the practice of untouchability. Practice of untouchability is an offence and anyone doing so is punishable by law. The Untouchability Offences Act of 1955 (renamed to Protection of Civil Rights Act in 1976) provided penalties for preventing a person from entering a place of worship or from taking water from a tank or well. This act lays down that whatever is open to general public (or Hindus) should be open to the members of the scheduled castes. No shopkeeper can refuse to sell them, no person may refuse to render any service to any person on the ground of untouchability. The act made provision for imprisonment and fine.