The Minor Law Books (SBE33), by Julius Jolly, , at sacred-texts.com
1. 1 A writing (or document) should be signed by witnesses, the (natural) order of ideas and syllables should not be interrupted, local customs and general rules should be observed in it, and it should be complete in every respect.
2. 2 A document signed by the king with his own hand, or sealed with his own seal, is declared to be a royal document, and is (considered as equal to) an attested document in all affairs.
3. 3 A document suspected (to have a blemish) is valid, unless the debtor should have clearly indicated its blemish; and so (is the validity of) a document which is more than twenty years old (established by mere lapse of time).
4. 4 In the beginning, gift is a cause (of ownership);
in the middle, possession with a title; but continued and hereditary possession by itself is also a good cause (of ownership).
5. 5 There are six modes of acquiring wealth: by obtaining (property), what is declared to have been given or earned, (acquisition through) valour, (in the shape of) a marriage portion, and through inheritance from relations or others.
6. 6 Having listened to the answer, (the plaintiff) at the trial shall produce a document as evidence, or he shall prove possession continued for a long time, and corroborated by (the statements of) the neighbours, or by (other) evidence.
7. 7 Supposing a religious student were to perform some vow extending over a period of thirty-six years, or a man (engaged in trade or traffic) were to reside abroad for a long time in the pursuit of wealth:
8. If, then, the student after having completed his period of studentship (and returned from his preceptor) were to look after his property, possession (by a stranger) continued for fifty years would be capable of depriving him of his property.
9. Twelve years for (the study of) each Veda is the period ordained for those engaged in the pursuit of religious knowledge; for those engaged in the acquisition of mechanical (or manual) skill, the period (of apprenticeship) is declared to last till they have acquired their art.
10. What has been possessed against their wish by their friends or relations, and what has been possessed by persons offending against the king, is not lost by the lapse of (a long) time.
242:1 IV, 1. Smritik. lekhyam tu sâkshimat kâryam aviluptakramâksharam | desâkârasthitiyutam samagram sarvavastushu ||
242:2 Smritik.; Vîram. p. 195 ('Vasishtha').
242:3 Smritik.; Vîram. p. 200 ('Kâtyâyana'). The validity of a document having been called into doubt, because it either has a blemish or has been vitiated by the lapse of a considerable time, it becomes valid through proof by ordeal. This is the meaning, mere lapse of time being insufficient to produce validity. Smritik. This interpretation can hardly be correct, as ordeals are not referred to in this text.
242:4 M. Macn. III, 6, 5. In the case of the first man (possessor) p. 243 possession proved by witnesses is superior to, or more decisive than, possession, excepting hereditary possession. Such hereditary possession, again, is superior in the case of the fourth in descent to a title proved by documents. In the case of an intermediate claimant (as e.g. the second or third in descent) a title coupled with possession of short duration even is more decisive than a title entirely destitute of possession. M.
243:5 Smritik. labdham dânakriyâproktam sauryam vaivâhikam tathâ | bândhavâdipragâgâtam shadvidhas tu dhanâgamah || 'Obtaining,' by birth, paternal or other (inherited) wealth; or, obtaining property by finding it, as in the case of treasure-trove. Smritik.
243:6 Smritik. srutvottaram kriyâpade lekhyam sâdhanam uddiset | sâmantalakshanopetâ bhuktir vâ kirakâlikî. 'The term sâdhanam a fortiori denotes witnesses in this place. Therefore the meaning is as follows. In a dispute regarding a house, field, or other (immovable property), the claimant must adduce a document or witnesses, or he must plead possession.' Smritik.
243:7 7-10. Smritik. brahmakârî karet kimkid vratam shatrimsadâbdikam | arthârthî kânyavishaye dîrghakâlam vasen narah || samâvritto p. 244 vratî kuryât svadhanânveshanam tatah | pañkâsadâbdiko bhogas taddhanasyâpahârakah || prativedam dvâdasâbdah kâlo vidyârthinâm smritah | silpavidyârthinâm kaiva grahanântah prakîrtitah || suhridbhir bandhubhis kaishâm yat syâd bhuktam avasyatâm | nripâparâdhikâm kaiva na tat kâlena hîyate || See Manu III, 1.