(Last Updated on : 24/06/2013)
Repayment of debts has been dealt with clearly in the Agni Purana
, along with their conditions of repayment. It has been mentioned in the Purana that it shall be lawful for a debtor, on having borrowed money from a person to pay it in instalments. A Brahmana shall have the right of preference as regards repayment of debts. A king shall cause the person of a debtor to be arrested, or make him enter appearance in a royal court, realise ten per cent., as his due on the money advanced from an absconding debtor, and five per cent thereon in the case of its having been fully paid and discharged in the court.
Process of Debt Repayment for Low Castes
A debtor belonging to any of the low or vile castes, and incapable of satisfying his debt, should work for his creditor in lieu of repayment until the debt is fully and finally discharged, while a Brahmana debtor similarly should have the indulgence of the court in paying off his debt conveniently and in easy instalments, as the money would be forthcoming. Money should be deposited with an umpire, in the case where a creditor would refuse acceptance, though repeatedly pressed by the debtor in that behalf, and thereafter the money would cease to bear any interest.
Process of Debt Repayment in Cases of Death of the Debtor
According to the Purana a son or any other person inheriting the property or the wife of a deceased person, stands under the obligation of discharging the debts incurred by him in his life time and similarly in the case of a sonless person, the liability lies in the partaker of his goods. A debt incurred by the members of a joint-family for purposes conducive to its good, should be discharged and satisfied by persons inheriting their properties on their death, or after the dissolution of the jointure. A wife is not bound to pay the debts of her husband or sons, nor a husband that of his married wife, nor is it obligatory on a father to satisfy a debt incurred by his son, unless and until it is proved that the sum borrowed, had been actually spent in some necessary acts connected with the up-keep or the welfare of the family.
Repayment of Debts and Punishment to Violators
In case of absence of witnesses to any debt and after the confirmation of the contraction of such debts, the king should ensure that the debt is repaid by 64 days. If disputes arise regarding the debts, the person found guilty of presenting a false lawsuit will be penalized by the king. False witnesses, as well as people who file false suits will receive punishment from the king. However, a false witness would be given double the punishment as that given to the person who presents false suits of debt cases. If a Brahman gives a false testimony, the king would promptly dismiss him from his kingdom.
The Agni Purana has asserted that the significance of written documents which authenticate the intricate details of debts incurred. If the debts are to be repaid through instalments, all the details concerned to it should be retained in a written record. The witness of any debt case has to take an oath, only after placing fire, cotton
, water or poison on his head.
Process of Debt Repayment of Family Members
The husband of a woman of the 'Gopa', 'Shoundika', 'Shailesha' or 'Rajaka' caste, shall pay off the debts of his wife, and the man with whom such a woman lives, or gets her maintenance for the time being, should be deemed as her husband. A wife or a husband is severally bound to discharge the debt, jointly incurred by them, but it is not so obligatory on her other co-wives not participating in the transaction. Similarly a husband is not bound to pay the debts of his wife, in which he has not himself joined.
The sons and grandsons of a person, dead, or taken to the life of a religious mendicant, or overwhelmed with difficulties, should discharge his legal debts, as well as his obligations incidental to his being a witness to a fraudulent transaction. A son is not bound to pay off the debts of his father incurred by him for immoral purposes, such as drinking, gambling, illegal gifts, etc, or to pay off the residue of a fine imposed on him by a criminal court. Similarly it has also been mentioned that a father or a brother living in commensality with a son or a brother, should jointly take a loan, each of them standing as a surety for the other.
Some other rules of debt payment which has mentioned in the Agni Purana says that money borrowed by a man on simply pledging his credit or character, should be repaid with the full amount of interest accrued up to the date of such repayment, while money borrowed on an oath or a solemn affirmation, should be returned double. Thus it is very clear that payment of debt and its liability has been given a lot of importance by Lord Agni. It has been said that it is very necessary that all debts are returned adhering to the all the terms and conditions decided during the time of debt.