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CONSTITUTIONAL LAW-1
TOPIC: ABOLITION OF UNTOUCHABILITY AND TITLES
( ARTILE 17&18)

SUBMITTED BY: SUBMITTED TO:


NAME: GANESH OJHA MRS. POONAM KUMARI
COURSE: B.A. LL.B. FACULY
ENROLLMENT: CUSB1613125017 LAW AND GOVERNANCE
SEMESTER : 2ND CUSB
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DECLARATION

This is to certify that the project entitled “ABOLITION OF


UNTOUCHABILITY AND TITLES” submitted by GANESH OJHA has
been successfully produced with the help of class notes and text books on
Indian Constitution and further help from online resources.

Date of Submission:-…………………… GANESH OJHA


B.A. LL.B (Hons.)
2nd SEMESTER
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CONTENT

1. List of Cases 3
2. Abbreviations and Acronyms 4
3. Introduction 5
4 Untouchability 6
4.1 Provision under Article-(17) 6
4.2 Untouchable Groups In India 6
4.3 Causes of Untouchability in Society 7
4.4 Impacts on Untouchables
4.5 Evil Effects of the Practice of Untouchability
4.6 Practices to Eradicate Untouchability
4.7 Untouchability (offences) Act, 1955 8
4.8 SCs and STs Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989 9
5 Abolition of Title 10
5.1 Provision under Article-(18) 11
5.2 Its Objective 11
5.3 National Awards Justified 12
6. Conclusion 14
7. Bibliography 15
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List of Cases

1. Devrajjah v. Padmanna AIR 1958 Mys. 84

2. People’s Union of Democratic Rights v. Union of India AIR 1982 SC 1473

3. State of Karnataka v. Appa Balu Ingale AIR 1993 SC 1126

4. Jay singh v. Union of India AIR 1993 Raj. 177

5. Balaji Raghavan v. Union of India (1996) 1 SCC 361

6. Venkataramana Devaru v. State of Mysore AIR 1958 SC 255

7. Keshavananda Bharti v. State of Kerala (1973) 4 SCC 225

8. N. Adithayan v. Travancore Devaswom Board (2008) 8 SCC 106

9. Bangalore W.C. & S. Mills v. Mysore State AIR 1958 Mys 85

10. State v. Gulab Singh AIR 1953 All. 483


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ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS

1. SC…………………………………………………Supreme Court
2. SCC ……………………………………………….Supreme Court Cases
3. P.U.D.Rs. ...……………… ………………………..People’s Union of Democratic Rights
4. A.I.R. ……………………………………………..All India Reporter
5. A.L.J ……………………………………...………Administrative Law Judge

STATUTE

1. Constitution of India, 1949


2. Untouchability (offences) Act, 1955
3. Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955
4. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities Act), 1989
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INTRODUCTION

Untouchability is a menace and social evil associated with traditional Hindu society. It is being
practiced since times immemorial and despite various efforts made by social reformers such as Dr.
B. R. Ambedkar; and despite there being provision on abolition of untouchability in our Constitution
under Article 17, the evil is still in practice in our country.

India got Independence on 15th of August, 1947 after long and painful struggle of more than
one hundred years. The struggle was not only against the foreign rule of British but it was also
against the social evils such as untouchability prevailing from centuries. After Independence when
great leaders of freedom struggle agreed to make our own Constitution, it was decided that there
must be provisions under the Constitution regarding the abolition of social evils and upliftment of
down-trodden castes and social groups etc.

Untouchability outside India: The practice of untouchability is often associated with Hinduism and
believed to be found only in India. But as per encyclopedia.com, it has been prevalent by different
names in Japan (the Buraku), Korea (the Paekchong), Tibet (the Ragyappa), and Burma (Pagoda
slaves). Some societies in Islam are also believed to follow a social classification scheme, where
Ashrafs are given a superior status owing to their aristocratic ancestary, while Ajlafs and Arzals are
confined to menial jobs and are considered “low-born” (source).

It will be illegitimate to conceive that the attribute causing untouchability is the caste system alone.
Besides casteism there are several factors that have contributed to the persisting existence of
untouchability. As J.H. Hutton writes: “The origin of the position of exterior caste is partly a matter
of social custom.”
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UNTOUCHABILITY

Untouchablity in simple terms can be understood as a practice whereby a particular class or caste of
persons are discriminated with on the ground of their being born in that particular caste or on the
ground of their being members of those social groups involved in menial jobs. The discrimination
can be in the form of physical or social boycott from the society. For instance: the members of so-
called higher castes such as Brahmin, Kshatriyas, etc., would not dine or sit with a person of Bhangi
class. It was believed that people of higher castes could become impure even if a shadow of an
untouchable person touches him and to re-gain his purity he had to take a dip into holy waters of the
Ganga.

Untouchables are also known as depressed classes, harijans etc; but today they are more frequently
referred to as ‘Dalits’. In modern times, ‘Dalit’ refers to one’s caste rather than class; it applies to
members of those so-called menial castes which are born with the stigma of “untouchability”
because of the extreme impurity and pollution connected with their traditional occupations. They are
considered impure and polluting and are therefore physically and socially excluded and isolated from
the rest of society.

While untouchables were subjected to all forms of discrimination, they hardly enjoyed any
privileges. The nature, content and incidence of maltreatment of untouchables might have varied in
time and space.
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PROVISION UNDER ARTICLE-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.

Thus, Article 17 abolishes and forbids untouchability in any form. At the same time, it also makes
it an offence punishable as per the law made by the Parliament.

ITS OBJECTIVE:

The very purpose of this Article is to eliminate discriminatory practices against untouchables/dalits
and keeping the same purpose, Acts have been enacted by parliament to make the provision
successful. Untouchability (offences) Act, 1955; SCs and STs (Prevention of atrocities) Act, 1989;
and Prevention of civil rights Act, 1955 are the efforts of our country to eradicate the menace of
untouchability.

UNTOUCHABLE GROUPS IN INDIA

The members of Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes (SC/ST) are considered as ‘Dalits’ and they
are subjected to various forms of discrimination in the society. Especially, Schedule Castes such
as:

 Chamars,
 Passi,
 Bhangis and
 Doms
These people are generally associated with menial jobs such as tanning, skinning of hides, works
on leather goods, sweeping, manual scavenging, etc.
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CAUSES OF UNTOUCHABILITY IN SOCIETY

The three main causes of untouchability in India are the followings:


1. Racial Causes,
2. Religious Causes
3. Social Causes:

Racial Factors:
Racial factors are the most important in nourishing the seed of untouchability. It is the racial
difference that segments the members in the category of ‘touchable’ and ‘untouchables’.

Religious Factors:
Religious convictions and conventions have also contributed to the emergence of untouchability in
India. Purity and divinity are much emphasized attributes of Hindu way of life. The job of sweepers
and cobblers was impure, so they were treated as untouchables. This difference was mainly owing
to the impurity, adjudged from religious angle.

Social Factors:
Racial, religious and social factors are responsible for the emergence of the evil practice of
untouchability in our country as:
 The untouchables were not permitted to enter the city without proper announcement.
 They were not allowed to enter into temples and also were forbidden to draw water from
common wells. 1
 They were not allowed, to wash their clothes in the day time.
 Prohibited from eating with other caste members

 Prohibited from marrying with other caste members


 Segregation in seating and food arrangements in village functions and festivals

 Prohibited from wearing sandals or holding umbrellas in front of dominant caste members
 Separate burial grounds

 Segregation (separate seating area) of Dalit children in schools

1
State of Karnataka v. Appa Balu Ingale AIR 1993 SC 1126
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IMPACTS ON UNTOUCHABLES

Some of the most pronounced and common results of this barbaric practice are as follows:
1. Social Disabilities
From the social point of view, the untouchables suffered from the following disabilities:
 Lowest Social Status
 Educational Disabilities
 Disabilities relating to Social Habits
 Prohibition in the use of Public Places
2. Economic Disabilities
Following are the main economic disabilities of the untouchables.
 No Right to Property
 No Right to choose Occupation
3. Religious Disabilities
The untouchables are known as the Hindus by religion, yet they were not permitted to enter into the
Hindu temples or shrines or other places of worship. They were not allowed to study religious books.

4. Political Disabilities
The untouchables were also deprived of all kinds of political privileges. They were not allowed to
participate in politics, and administration. They were also not permitted to hold any public post.
Only during the British rule, they for the first time, got the right to vote.
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EVIL EFFECTS OF THE PRACTICE OF


UNTOUCHABILITY

The evil effects of untouchability can be encapsulated in following statements:

1. Untouchability leads to social discrimination.

2. It damages social harmony.

3. It has created wide social distance between the two groups viz. touchable and untouchables.

4. Untouchability leads inequality.

5. It cannot support the development of healthy democratic tradition.

6. Untouchability has damaged the self-image and prestige of the scheduled castes.

7. It has developed a sense of inferiority among the scheduled castes.

8. The practice of untouchability has brought down the image of the Indians in the eyes of the
foreigners.

9. Untouchability has provided the scope for religious conversions.

PRACTISES TO ERADICATE UNTOUCHABILITY

Following efforts can be made to eradicate the evil of untouchability:


i. Increasing education among the untouchables.
ii. Emphasis should be to enable the untouchables economically.
iii. The untouchables should be given assistance in agriculture and cottage industries.
iv. Propaganda against untouchability should be made.
v. Social security should be provided to the members of the scheduled castes.
vi. Encouragement should be given to inter-caste marriages.
vii. Efforts should be made to remove the sense of inferiority from the minds of the untouchables.
viii. Cottage industries should be set up where untouchables should be absorbed.
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ix. Abolition of caste system.

UNTOUCHABILITY (OFFENCES) ACT, 1955

In order to fulfill the mandate of Article 17 of the Constitution, the Parliament enacted
the Untouchability (Offences) Act, 1955. It made several discriminatory practices punishable as
offences, although the punishment provided were rather mild and in their actual application even
milder.

Several lacunae and loopholes were found in the working of the Untouchability (Offences) Act, 1955
which compelled the Government to bring about a drastic amendment in the Act in 1976. The Act
was revamped as the Protection of Civil Rights Act.

However, the menace of untouchability continued and ‘dalits’ were still being treated in a
discriminatory way, their socio-economic conditions remained vulnerable, they are denied a number
of civil rights and were subjected to various offences, indignities and humiliations.

SCs AND STs (PREVENTION OF ATTROCITIES)


ACT, 1989

The Act provided more comprehensive and punitive measures to deal with and to prevent
discrimination and atrocities against ‘dalits’. The ultimate objective of the Act was to help the social
inclusion of Untouchables/Dalits into the mainstream Indian society.

Case: State of Karnataka v. Appa Balu Ingale2

The respondents were tried for offences under sections 4 and 7 of the Protection of Civil Rights Act,
1955 and convicted and sentenced to undergo simple imprisonment for one month and a fine of Rs.
100 each. The charge against the respondents was that they restrained the complainant party by show

2
AIR 1993 SC 1126
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of force from taking water from a newly dug up tubewell on the ground that they were untouchables.
The SC court upheld the conviction.
ABOLITION OF TITLES

State is prohibited from conferring any titles on any person except for the purposes conferred in the
provision of Article 18(1). Under Article 18, State in India is not only prevented from conferring
titles on any person, but Indian citizens are also forbidden to accept any title from a foreign State
without the consent of the President of India. The prohibition applies not only to the acceptance of
titles but also to that of any present, emolument or office of any kind from any foreign State by any
person holding an office of profit or trust under the State.

Its Origin:

The battle against the titles conferred by the British monarch started with the passage of time as:
 The United States Constitution in 1787 which prohibited all titles of nobility in the United
States.
 Ireland, on establishing its independence, followed suit and its Constitution too prohibits the
conferring of titles by the State.
 India and Burma were the next to follow the example. India, in despite the fact that it was to
be a member of the Commonwealth of Nations whose head was the British monarch,
abolished the granting of titles.

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar explained in the Constituent Assembly that Article 18 did not create a justiciable
right in the following words:

"The non-acceptance of titles is a condition of continued citizenship, it is not a right, it is a duty


imposed upon the individual that if he continues to be the citizen of this country, then he must abide
by certain conditions.
One of the conditions is that he must not accept a title, if he did, it would be open for Parliament to
decide by law what should be done to persons who violate the provisions of this article. One of the
penalties may be that he may lose the right of citizenship."
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PROVISIONS UNDER ARTICE- (18)

Abolition of titles:
(1) No title, not being a military or academic distinction, shall be conferred by the State.
(2) For example, Sir, K.C.I.E., Maharaja, Nawab, Dewan, Bahadur, etc.

(3) No citizen of India shall accept any title from any foreign State.

(4) No person who is not a citizen of India shall, while he holds any office of profit or trust under
the State, accept without the consent of the President any title from any foreign State.

(5) No person holding any office of profit or trust under the State shall, without the consent of
the President, accept any present, emolument, or office of any kind from or under any foreign
State.

Therefore, Article (18) abolishes all titles and the State is prohibited from conferring any titles on
any person. The only exception made to the strict rule of non-recognition of titles is that provided in
favour of academic or military distinctions.

ITS OBJECTIVE

A democracy should not create titles and titular glories because Recognition of titles and the
consequent creation of a hierarchy of aristocracy had been denounced as an anti-democratic practice,
as early as the eighteenth century, by both the American and the French revolutions. Following are
the objectives of abolishing titular glories as:
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 India seeks to establish political, social and economic equality and thereby aspires to become
truly democratic. Thus, there is no room for some individuals to hold titles creating artificial
distinctions among members of the same society.
 Eliminating a peculiar class of nobility among the people established during the period of
monarchial rule of British in India.
 Discouraging any way to recognize and accept these titles apart from considerations of the
merit of those who held them.

NATIONAL AWARDS JUSTIFIED

The Indian Award System/Indian Honor System is a primary recognition from the government of
the Republic of India. It is an honorary declaration to the personalities who have contributed to the
progress, achievements, and human endeavor for the nation or the community. The Indian award
system is broadly categorized into 5 categories, they are; Leadership, Literature, Civilian, Patriotic
and particular. No prize of money is associated with these awards.

Case: Balaji Raghavan v. Union of India 3

Issue:
Whether the Awards, Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri
(hereinafter called "The National Awards") are "Titles" within the meaning of Article 18(1) of
the Constitution of India?

Conclusion:
The petitioners argued that by conferring such titles the State is creating a "privileged class" and
thereby violating the right to equality. According to the ordinary and contextual meaning in Article
18, the word "title" means a title of honour, rank, function or office in which there is a distinctive
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(1996) 1 SCC 361
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appellation. An appellation is a name or title by which a person is called or known, something which
is normally prefixed or suffixed, for example, Sir, K.C.I.E., Maharaja, Nawab, Dewan, Bahadur,
etc. It was noted distinctively as:
1. These appellations that appear as prefixes or suffixes which are sought to be interdicted by
Article 18(1). Since the National Awards are not titles of nobility and are not to be used as
suffixes or prefixes, they are not prohibited by Article 18."

2. Regarding the argument against Article 14, the counsel argued that equality does not mean
that meritorious contributions should not be recognized; the State grants such honorific titles
after assessing the contributions made by the awardee in various fields which deserve to be
nationally acclaimed.
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CONCLUSION

With regard to Article (17):

Although the Indian government has constituted many laws and policies to help the Dalit population,
atrocities and injustices are quite common all over the country. In order to prevent such uncalled
incidents against the Dalits, the government enacted the Prevention of Atrocity (POA) Act on March
31, 1995 and other thereby as discussed above.
However, social ostracizing against the Dalit people is still rampant in the country. Dalits are still
prohibited from entering temples, attending mass ceremonies, using resources and working
alongside with people of other castes. In order to eradicate the evil of division of society into
different class and mainly with the intention to promote the welfare of those people who face
difficulties in their lives because of such division. It would be possible with having harmony and
sympathy for humanity in the heart of each and every citizen of this nation.

With regard to Article (18):

Recognition of titles and the consequent creation of a hierarchy of aristocracy had been the symbol
of anti-democratic practice where individuals holding titles created artificial distinctions among
members of the same society. Civilian awards like Bharat Ratna and Padma Award which honor
civilians of India for their prowess, achievement, and inspiring millions of others to walk in their
path are immunized from being title as the National Awards are not titles of nobility and are not to
be used as suffixes or prefixes, they are not prohibited by Article 18.
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BIBLILGRAPHY

BOOKS:

(1.) CONSTITUTIONAL LAW OF INDIA, DR. J.N. PANDEY, CENTRAL LAW


AGENCY, 5TH EDITION, 2016
(2.) THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA, BARE ACT, UNIVERSAL LAW PUBLISHING,
2016
(3.)

ONLINE RESORCES

(1.) WWW.INDIANKANOON.ORG
(2.) WWW.MANUPATRA.COM