(Last Updated on : 15/11/2010)
Concerning Laws specifically jots down the relevance of laws in man's daily life style. It possessed the same sense of responsibility at the time of Arthashastra. Kautilya clearly mentions the subjects which require to be regulated through laws of the land.
Concerning Laws, Book III of Arthashastra includes determination of forms of agreements, determination of legal disputes, laws concerning marriage, duties of marriages, property of women and compensation for remarriage, the duty of a women, maintenance of women, cruelty towards women, enmity between husband and wife, a wife's transgression, her kindness to another and forbidden transactions. The other laws include vagrancy, elopement and short and long sojournments, division of inheritance and special shares of inheritance and distinction between sons, all this include the laws of private families. The third book also makes a list of state laws regarding the buildings, sale of buildings, boundary issues, determination of boundaries and miscellaneous hindrances. Further it includes the laws concerning the destruction of pasture which include lands, fields, roads and non performance of agreement. There are other laws regarding the recovery of debts and concerning deposits. Further there are laws regarding labourers and slaves and rules regarding labourers and co-operative undertakings. While chapter XV of the Book III includes laws related to rescission of purchase and sale the following chapter takes up the gifts, sale without ownership, and ownership. The followed up chapters talk of laws concerning robbery, defamation, assaults, and gambling, betting and miscellaneous offences.
Overall the section dealing with specific laws has been due to the fact that every society has both vices as well as moral principles of life no matter how much it is based on moral values. Laws make the ruler as well as the subjects' alert of what is to be done and what not to be done. It regulates the life of common man which is aimed at bestowing maximum sincerity to the king. A successful king must be in a position to take full care of his subjects which he promises at the very beginning when he promises to look after the dependents including aged and women. Moreover the status of women was important in Mauryan Empire as they were firstly homemakers as well as the spies in guise within the householders. Kautilya was of the opinion that women could come to greater use as far as spy system is concerned and security of state is concerned.
Along with the status of women in the society the institution of marriage is also given much importance. It is mentioned that within the ages of 12 and 16 both the girls as well as boys gain maturity and as such can enter into grahastha life with utmost belief in the institution of marriage. The widows after the death of their husbands are supposed to lead a pious life which will be enacted by law. Chapter II and III of Book III of Arthashastra mentions detailed rights of women and society regarding the social life of man under law. It further includes laws regarding inheritance, shares of inheritance and distribution of property among the sons. Concerning Laws include detailed classification of movable and immovable properties, saleable and non saleable properties.
Thus, the Book III of Arthashastra is comprehensive collection of laws which again has remained relevant in all the ages. The laws in general mark a boundary line for all the people to live in commonality and with equal liberation of powers within a society.