The Inadequacy of Purity-Pollution Analysis of Untouchability


Untouchability is one of the oldest and continuing social evils present in our society. Efforts and attempts have been made to eradicate this practice; however, it still exists in different forms in our country. 

This blog series attempts to bring light to the inadequacy of restricting the definition of untouchability to only those instances of social exclusion based on purity and pollution and raises the issue of untouchability that is not caste-based. 

The first post in this series discussed the need to include social exclusion based on arbitrary notions of supremacy and inferiority under Article 17 of the Constitution and concludes that the scheme of Article 15(2) is pertinent in defining the bounds of untouchability under Article 17. The concluding post examines how the prohibition of discrimination based on race and place of birth is also underwritten by notions of supremacy and inferiority, thus culling out notions of supremacy and inferiority as the scheme of Article 15(2).


1. Untouchability: The Inadequacy of Purity-Pollution Analysis: Part I (Social Exclusion based on Supremacy-Inferiority as Untouchability)

2. Untouchability: The Inadequacy of Purity-Pollution Analysis: Part II (Discrimination on the Grounds of Race and Place of Birth)


Uttara Vijayakumar is a graduate from National Law University, Jodhpur. She is currently a law researcher to Justice Endlaw, High Court of Delhi. She has previously interned under Justice Dr. DY Chandrachud, Supreme Court of India, and Justice Mohamed Mustaque, High Court of Kerala.