Analyzing the Scope of “Untouchability” under Article 17

This article explores the legal understanding of “untouchability” as can be inferred from Constituent Assembly Debates and judicial pronouncements, and the drastic shift in this understanding after the Sabarimala verdict of 2018.[3] It analyses the various amendments proposed to define the practice and why they were rejected and the subsequent judicial interpretations of the term as caste-based discrimination. It examines Chandrachud J.’s recent expansive interpretation of the term to include any form of social exclusion founded on notions of purity and the viability of such an interpretation.