Article 17 & 18 – Fundamental Rights – Polity – Module 4

Untouchability is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden. The enforcement of any disability arising...

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.

  • In 1976, the Untouchability (Offences) Act, 1955 has been comprehensively amended and renamed as the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 to enlarge the scope and make penal provisions more stringent. The act defines civil right as any right accruing to a person by reason of the abolition of untouchability by Article 17 of the Constitution.
  • A person convicted of the offence of ‘untouchability’ is disqualified for election to the Parliament or state legislature.
  • In case State Of Karnataka Vs Appa Bala Ingale 1993 untouchability was defined as an act of pollution leading to defilement depriving a person from the full participation in the mainstream of the benefit of the society.

Article 18: Abolition of titles-

(1) No title, not being a military or academic distinction, shall be conferred by the State.

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

(3) 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.

(4) 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.

  • In Balaji Raghavan versus Union of India 1996,  Supreme Court interpreted that Padma awards are not in conflict with article 18 because word not to be used as which prohibits only hereditary titles of nobility.
  • National Awards were instituted in 1954. The Janata Party government headed by Morarji Desai discontinued them in 1977. But they were again revived in 1980 by the Indira Gandhi government.

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