(Last Updated on : 04-12-2010)
Duty of the city superintendent includes keeping account of ten, twenty and thirty houses of the city during which he is supposed to know all the caste, gotra, name and occupation of both men and women in their household. Similarly the officer known as the sthanikas shall be in charge of keeping account of all the four quarters of the city. Chapter XXXVI of Book II in Arthashastra
extensively discusses the role of the City Superintendent, his responsibility towards the citizens, the merchants coming from outside, towards the royal treasury as well as to the regular working of the state machinery.
Duty of a city superintendent shall keep account of al the artisans working in the city but at the same time does not bear the responsibility of their security which stands as their own responsibility. Similarly, the merchants and vintners shall be responsible for their own security but can inform the city superintendent regarding any discrepancy. In normal conditions he shall allow them to function on their own. Duty of city superintendent declares certain responsibilities of the people living in the city .The physicians are supposed to inform the city superintendent about the types of patients he is treating particularly those who are suffering from ulcer and shall be considered innocent in case of any mishaps only if he informs the superintendent in time. Similarly the head of the family is supposed to inform the superintendent about all the strangers who visit the city even during the night .Also they shall inform about the trespassers who are found loitering in the city premise. The superintendent shall also employ the spies to keep information regarding the desert areas and the remote areas, the workshops, and houses of the vintners, gambling houses and abode of heretics.
Duty of City Superintendent puts a lot of precautionary steps for providing protection to the citizens against fire and other calamities. In case there is deliberate effort from the people to either cause fire or does not participate in extinguishing fire shall be punished and made to pay a fine upto 12 panas. Further punishments will be recurred on those who keep the places of worship, pilgrimage, reservoir of water, temples and royal buildings dirty. Punishment shall also be incurred if the dead bodies are burnt anywhere other than the space provided for them.
Duty of the City Superintendent also specifies that the superintendent shall make regular inspection of water reservoirs, of roads, hidden passages for going out of the city, of forts fort walls and other defensive walls. During his visit he shall keep record of all those items which are lost or forgotten. In case of prisoners in the jail he shall have the discretion to keep the jails for one day without prisoners on return of the work done by them. Also prisoners can be relieved if some royal births take place.
Thus, the City Superintendent shall be responsible for not only maintaining law and order but also maintaining an account of whatever is happening in the city. His observation should be overall keeping in vision every one's behaviour as well as those who are new. As such a city superintendent is inevitable in running the city administration as he keeps all information at the grass root level.