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The Minor Law Books (SBE33), by Julius Jolly, [1889], at


1. 1 Homicide, theft, assault on another man's wife, and the two kinds of injury (abuse and assault) are the four species of violence (Sâhasa).

2. 2 Thieves are declared to be of two kinds, open and concealed, These are subdivided a thousandfold,

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according to their skill, ability, and mode of cheating.

3. (Fraudulent) traders, quacks, gamblers, (corruptible) judges, those who accept bribes, cheats, persons (pretending) to know how to interpret evil omens, or to practise propitiatory rites, low artists, forgers,

4. (Hired servants) refusing to do their work, (roguish) umpires, perjured witnesses, and, lastly, jugglers: these are termed open thieves.

5. 5 Housebreakers, highwaymen, robbers of bipeds or quadrupeds, thieves of clothes and the like, and stealers of grain, should be considered secret thieves.

6. 6 (Thieves or robbers) having been found out by the king's attendants by their associating (with thieves) or by marks of their criminality, or by their being possessed of stolen goods, shall be compelled to restore their plunder, and shall be visited with punishments ordained in law.

7. 7 A merchant who conceals the blemish of an article which he is selling, or mixes bad and good articles together, or sells (old articles) after repairing them, shall be compelled to give the double quantity (to the purchaser) and to pay a fine equal (in amount) to the value of. the article.

8. A physician who, though unacquainted with drugs and spells, or ignorant of the nature of a disease, yet takes money from the sick, shall be punished like a thief.

9. Gamblers playing with false dice, prostitutes,

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those who appropriate what belongs to the king, and those who cheat an association, are pronounced to be impostors, and punishable as such.

10. 10 Judges passing an unjust sentence, those who live by taking bribes, and those who disappoint confidence (placed in them): all such persons shall be banished.

11. Those who, without knowing the science of stars, or portents, expound them to the people from avarice, shall be punished by all means.

12. Those who show themselves in public wearing a staff, a skin, and the like (insignia of a religious order), and injure mankind by deceiving them, shall be corporally punished by the king's officers.

13. Those who by artificially getting up articles of small value cause them to appear very valuable, and deceive women or children (by doing so), shall be punished in proportion to their gain.

14. Those who make false gold or factitious gems or coral shall be compelled to restore their price to the purchaser, and to pay the double amount to the king as a fine.

15. Arbitrators who cheat either party from partiality, avarice or some other motive, and witnesses who give false evidence, shall be compelled to pay twice the amount (in dispute) as a fine.

16. Those who procure gain by means of spells or medicines (shall be compelled to give up) their gain; those who practise incantations with roots shall be banished by the ruler of the land.

17. 17 Housebreakers shall be compelled to relinquish their plunder and be impaled on a stake afterwards,

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and highwaymen shall be bound and hanged by the neck from a tree.

18. 18 Those who have kidnapped a man shall be burned by the king with a fire kept up with straw; the stealer of a woman (shall be placed) on a bed of hot iron, or burned with a fire kept up with straw.

19. 19 Stealers of grain shall be compelled to give ten times as much (to the owner), and the double amount as a fine; a cow-stealer shall have his nose cut off, and shall be plunged into water, after having been fettered.

20. 20 When a man takes grass, wood, flowers, or fruit without asking permission to do so, he deserves to have a hand cut off.

21. 21 On him who steals more than ten kumbhas of grain, corporal punishment (or execution) shall be inflicted; (for stealing) less than that, a man shall be fined eleven times the quantity stolen, and shall restore his property to the owner.

22. 22 When a religious man and diligent reader of the Veda has committed theft, he shall be kept in prison for a long time, and shall be caused to perform a penance after having been compelled to restore the stolen goods to the owner.

23. 23 Hear now (the law regarding) theft coupled with violence, which springs from either wrath or avarice.

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24. 24 It is declared to be threefold, as it may be (theft or violence) of the lowest, second, or highest kind; the punishment in each case should also be of the lowest, middling, or highest sort, according to the (nature of the) article (stolen or injured).

25. He who destroys or takes implements of husbandry, an embankment, flowers, roots, or fruit, shall be fined a hundred (Panas) or more, according (to the nature of his offence).

26. So one injuring or stealing cattle, clothes, food, drinks, or household utensils, shall be compelled to pay a fine of not less than two hundred (Panas), like a thief.

27. In the case of women, men, gold, gems, the property of a deity or Brahman, silk, and (other) precious things, the fine shall be equal to the value (of the article stolen).

28. Or the double amount shall be inflicted by the king as a fine; or the thief shall be executed, to prevent a repetition (of the offence).

29. 29 Violence is declared to be of five sorts, and of these, manslaughter is declared to be the worst; those who have perpetrated it, shall not be amerced in a fine, they shall be put to death by all means.

30. 30 Both notorious murderers and secret assassins shall be put to death by the king by various modes of execution, after their property has been duly seized.

31. 31 When several persons in a passion beat a single individual (and kill him), the responsibility

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for his death shall be charged to him who strikes the fatal blow.

32. He who struck the fatal blow shall have to atone for his offence as directed; the first aggressor and the associates shall be punished half as much.

33. The decision should be given after carefully ascertaining by signs the less or greater severity of a wound, the seat of vital power, the strength (of the murdered individual), and the repetition (of the blows or cuts).

34. 34 Where the corpse is found, but the murderer cannot be discovered, the king shall trace him by drawing an inference from previous enmities of his.

35. 35 His immediate neighbours, and their neighbours, as well as his friends, enemies, and relatives, shall be questioned by the king's officers, employing towards them the (four) expedients of conciliation and so forth.

36. The (guilty) person may be found out from his keeping bad company, from signs (of the crime committed), and from the possession of stolen property. Thus has been declared the method of discovering murderers and robbers.

37. 37 He who has been arrested on suspicion and does not confess his guilt, shall clear himself (from suspicion) by ordeal; this rule holds good for causes of every sort.

38. He who has been cleared of guilt by ordeal shall be released; he who has been convicted shall be put to death. By punishment (of the wicked)

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and release (of the virtuous), the renown and religious merit of a king is increased.


359:1 XXII, 1. May. p. 145.

359:2 2-4. Ratn. p. 289; Vîram. p. 491.

360:5 Ratn. p. 292.

360:6 Viv. p. 157; Ratn. p. 293.

360:7 7-15. Ratn. pp. 297, 306-311, 314; May. p. 142; Vîram. p. 492; Viv. pp. 159-165. The readings of the Ratnâkara have been followed throughout, in preference to those found in the other works.

361:10 Ratn. p. 315.

361:17 Ratn. p. 317.; May. p. 143; Vîram. p. 494; Viv. p. 166.

362:18 Ratn. p. 317; Viv. p. 166.

362:19 Ratn. p. 322; Vîram. p. 494; May. p. 143.

362:20 Ratn. p. 329; Viv. p. 174.

362:21 Viv. p. 169.

362:22 Ratn. p. 331; Viv. p. 176. Under the version found in the latter work, the punishment does not take place when the Brahman performs a penance.

362:23 Vîram. p. 503.

363:24 24-28. Ratn. p. 350; May. p. 147.

363:29 29, 30. Ratn. p. 371; Viv. p. 192.

363:30 May. p. 145; Vîram. p. 501.

363:31 31-33. Ratn. p. 373; Viv. p. 194.

364:34 34-36. Ratn. p. 377; Viv. p. 197 (the better version).

364:35 The three other expedients are, bribery, intimidation, and violence.

364:37 37, 38. Ratn. pp. 377, 378; Viv. p. 198.

Next: XXIII. Adultery