Kautilya Arthashastra

by R. Shamasastry | 1956 | 174,809 words | ISBN-13: 9788171106417

The English translation of Arthashastra, which ascribes itself to the famous Brahman Kautilya (also named Vishnugupta and Chanakya) and dates from the period 321-296 B.C. The topics of the text include internal and foreign affairs, civil, military, commercial, fiscal, judicial, tables of weights, measures of length and divisions of time. Original ...

Chapter 9 - Protection of All Kinds of Government Departments

Commissioners appointed by the collector-general shall first check (the proceedings of) superintendents and their subordinates.

Those who seize valuable articles or precious stones from either mines or any great manufactories shall be beheaded. Those who seize ordinary articles or necessaries of life from manufactories or articles of small value shall be punished with the first amercement.

Those who seize from manufactories or from the king’s granary articles of 1/16 to ¼ of a paṇa in value shall be fined 12 paṇas; articles of ¼ to ½ a paṇa in value, 24 paṇas; articles of ½ to ¾ of a paṇa in value, 36 paṇas; and articles of ¾ to 1 paṇa in value, 48 paṇas.

Those who seize articles of 1 to 2 paṇas in value shall be punished with the first amercement; articles of 2 to 4 paṇas in value with the middlemost; and articles of 4 to 8 paṇas in value with the highest amercement. Those who seize articles of 8 to 10 paṇas in value shall be condemned to death.

When any one seizes from courtyards, shops, or arsenals commodities such as raw materials, manufactured articles, etc., of half the above value, he shall also be punished as above. When any person seizes articles of ¼th of the above value from government treasury, granaries, or offices of superintendents, he shall be punished with twice the above fines.

It has already been laid down in connection with the king’s harem that those who intimidate thieves (with a view to give them a signal to run away) shall be tortured to death.

When any person other than a government servant steals during the day from fields, yards prepared for threshing out grains, houses, or shops, commodities such as raw materials, manufactured articles, or necessaries of life, of 1/16th to ¼th of a paṇa in value, he shall be fined 3 paṇas, or paraded through the streets, his body being smeared over with cow-dung, and an earthenware pan with blazing light tied round his loins (śarāvamekhalayā). When any person steals articles of ¼ to ½ a paṇa in value, he shall be fined 6 paṇas, or his head may be shaved, or he may be exiled (muṇḍanam pravrajanam vā). When a person steals articles of ½ to ¾ of a paṇa in value, he shall be fined 9 paṇas, or he may be paraded through streets, his body being bedaubed with cow-dung or ashes, or with an earthenware pan with blazing light tied round his waist. When a person steals articles of ⅓ to 1 paṇa in value, be shall be fined 12 paṇas, or his head may be shaved, or he may be banished. When a person steals commodities of 1 to 2 paṇas in value, he shall be fined 24 paṇas,[1] or his head may be shaved with a piece of brick, or he may be exiled. When a person steals articles of 2 to 4 paṇas in value, he shall be punished with a fine of 36 paṇas; articles of 4 to 5 paṇas in value, 48 paṇas: articles of 5 to 10 paṇas in value, with the first amercement; articles of 10 to 20 paṇas in value, with a fine of 200 paṇas; articles of 20 to 30 paṇas in value, with a fine of 500 paṇas; articles of 30 to 40 paṇas in value, with a fine of 1,000 paṇas; and articles of 40 to 50 paṇas in value, he shall be condemned to death.

When a person seizes by force, whether during the early part of the day or night, articles of half the above values, he shall be punished with double the above fines.

When any person with weapons in hand seizes by force, whether during the day or night, articles of ¼th of the above values, he shall be punished with the same fines.

When a master of a household (kutumbādhyakṣa), a superintendent, or an independent officer (mukhyasvāmī) issues or makes use of unauthorised orders or seals, he shall be punished with the first, middlemost, or highest amercement, or he may be condemned to death,[2] or punished in any other way in proportion to the gravity of his crime.

When a judge threatens, browbeats, sends out, or unjustly silences any one of the disputants in his court, he shall first of all be punished with the first amercement. If he defames or abuses any one of them, the punishment shall be doubled. If he does not ask what ought to be asked, or asks what ought not to be asked, or leaves out what he himself has asked, or teaches, reminds, or provides any one with previous statement, he shall be punished with the middlemost amercement.

When a judge does not inquire into necessary circumstances, inquires into unnecessary circumstances (deśa), makes unnecessary delay in discharging his duty, postpones work with spite, causes parties to leave the court by tiring them with delay, evades or causes to evade statements that lead to the settlement of a case, helps witnesses, giving them clues, or resumes cases already settled or disposed of, he shall be punished with the highest amercement. If he repeats the offence, he shall both be punished with double the above fine and dismissed.

When a clerk does not take down what has been deposed by parties, but enters what has not been deposed, evades what has been badly said (durukta), or renders either diverse or ambiguous in meaning such depositions as are satisfactorily given out, he shall be punished either with the first amercement or in proportion to his guilt.

When a judge or commissioner imposes an unjust fine in gold, he shall be fined either double the amount of the fine,[3] or eight times that amount of imposition which is either more or less than the prescribed limit.

When a judge or commissioner imposes an unjust corporeal punishment, he shall himself be either condemned to the same punishment or made to pay twice the amount of ransom leviable for that kind of injustice.

When a judge falsifies whatever is a true amount or declares as true whatever amount is false, he shall be fined eight times that amount.

When an officer lets out or causes to let out offenders from lock-up (cāraka), obstructs or causes to obstruct prisoners in such of their daily avocations as sleeping, sitting, eating or excreting, he shall be punished with lines ranging from 3 paṇas and upwards.

When any person lets out or causes to let out debtors from lock-up, he shall not only be punished with the middlemost amercement, but also be compelled to pay the debt the offender has to pay.

When a person lets out or causes to let out prisoners from jails (bandhanāgāra), he shall be condemned to death and the whole of his property confiscated.

When the superintendent of jails puts any person in lock-up without declaring the grounds of provocation (saṃkruddhakamanākhyāya), he shall be fined 24 paṇas; when he subjects any person to unjust torture, 48 paṇas; when he transfers a prisoner to another place, or deprives a prisoner of food and water, 96 paṇas; when he troubles or receives bribes from a prisoner, he shall be punished with the middlemost amercement; when he beats a prisoner to death, he shall be fined 1,000 paṇas. When a person commits rape with a captive, slave, or hired woman in lock-up, he shall be punished with the first amercement; when he commits rape with the wife of a thief, or of any other man who is dead in an epidemic (ḍāmara), he shall he punished with the middlemost amercement; and when he commits rape with an Ārya woman in lock-up, he shall be punished with the highest amercement.

When an offender kept in lock-up commits rape with an Ārya woman in the same lock-up, he shall be condemned to death in the very place.

When an officer commits rape with an Ārya woman who has been arrested for untimely movement at night (akṣaṇagṛhīta), he shall also be hanged at the very spot; when a similar offence is committed with a woman under slavery, the offender shall be punished with the first amercement.

(An officer) who causes a prisoner to escape from a lock-up without breaking it open, shall be punished with the middlemost amercement. (An officer) who causes a prisoner to escape from a lock-up after breaking it open, shall be condemned to death. When he lets out a prisoner from the jail, he shall be put to death and his property confiscated.

* Thus shall the king, with adequate punishments, test first the conduct of government servants, and then shall, through those officers of approved character, examine the conduct of his people both in towns and villages.

[Thus ends Chapter IX, “Protection of All Kinds of Government Departments,” in Book IV, “The Removal of Thorns” of the Arthaśāstra of Kauṭilya. End of the eighty-sixth chapter from the beginning.]

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

The Munich Manuscript reads, “First amercement” and omits the following passages up to “First amercement” below.

[2]:

M. 9, 232.

[3]:

Y. 2, 305.

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