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Report No. 35

H. Capital punishment for various crimes in Hindu Law

(According to Jolly)

Jolly's observations as to the crimes regarded as capital are interesting1:

Theft-Capital punishment for other crimes-Various punishments for theft according to the value of the stolen property.-'The punishments for theft are very heavy. In all cases of serious crimes the accused is sentenced to death: he is impaled, hanged or drowned and often his hands are hacked off and other tortures are inflicted for the purpose of aggravating the punishment. The same punishments are ordained also in the case of burglary, frequently repeated instances of picking pockets, robbery, stealing cows, horses or elephants or more than 10 Kumbhas of grains, more than 100 Palas of precious metals, particularly valuable jewels or stuffs, etc. (Y. 2, 273, M. 8, 320, f; 9,276, 280; Brh. 22, 17-19, etc.).

"Forging of royal grants and even of private documents is punished by death (Vi. 5, 9f; M.9, 232); the king should have a dishonest goldsmith cut to pieces, i.e., according to the commentaries, those who use false weights, touchstones, alloys and practise other kinds of frauds (M. 9, 292). In determining the magnitude of the punishment according to the value of the stolen property often three grades are distinguished.

Thus Y. 2. 275 speaks about the theft of small, middling or large properties and similarly speak Nr. 14, 13; 15, 6; App. 29 and Brh. 22m 24. Enumerations of objects of about equal value are generally given along with data about the punishments for misappropriating the same, which, besides the already mentioned cases of capital punishment, consist of the hacking off of a hand or a foot and other kinds of mutilation and fines in most cases amounting to many times the value of the stolen property. No distinction is made between robbery and theft as regards punishment and moreover taking part in these crimes, abetting of every kind or refusing to render help is regarded as equally criminal (Nr. 14, 12, 19 f, Y 2, 276, etc)'.

1. Jolly Hindu Law and Custom, (1928), p. 273 et seq.

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