Social justice and untouchability in India: A constitutional perspective
Untouchability is an ignoble feature of Indian society. On the one hand, it symbolizes inequality; and on the other hand, it is violative of the principle of human dignity. Every human being is born free and equal. No human dictat can cause a schism on the basis of such concepts like untouchability between two human beings. Although many social reformers tried their hand to reform the social traditions, yet legal reforms could be taken after the independence when we got a new Constitution of free India. Article 17 of the Constitution specifically deals with untouchability. Our Supreme Court in her various judgments clarified the law regarding the abolition of untouchability. Besides that, there are separate statutes like Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 which provide legal safeguards to ensure abolition of untouchability. This paper enumerates the legal provisions and the Apex Court Judgments to showcase the spirit of the founding Fathers enshrined in our constitution.