(1) Traffic in human beings and begar and other similar forms of forced labour are prohibited and any contravention of this provision shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.


(2) Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from imposing compulsory service for public purposes, and in imposing such service the State shall not make any discrimination on grounds only of religion, race, caste or class or any of them

Debate Summary

Draft Article 17 (Article 23 of the Constitution of India, 1950) was introduced and debated on 3rd December 1948. The Constituent Assembly was broadly in agreement over the underlying principles and importance of the Article. Significant discussions revolved around enlarging the scope of the article, for Eg. it was proposed to include Devadasis. The issue of government compensation for compulsory service imposed by the state was also taken up. It was decided that enlarging the scope of the provision would be counterproductive. Also, some members wanted a provision in the article to put an obligation on the state to provide compensation for the compulsory service it demands from citizens under the article. The Assembly however decided to not insert such a provision into the Article as long as the state does not pay anyone across the board.