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Report No. 77

3.12. Substantive law.-

In substantive criminal law, for example, we find an elaborate classification of offences. The broad categories were five, namely, abusive words, assault, theft, adultery and crimes of violence.1 There, were, however, a number of variations or aggravations in each of these broad categories. For example, theft was classified into three kinds according to the value of the things stolen-trifling, middling and grave or high.2

Another interesting refinement was the classification of thieves into open or patent thieves and secret thieves, reminding us to a certain extent of the modem discussions about white, collar criminals and others. In open or patent thieves were included traders who employ false weights and measures, gamblers, quacks, persons giving bribes, persons who profess to arbitrate, persons who manufacture counterfeit articles and the like.3 "Concealed thieves" are, illustrated by persons who move about with tools for house-breaking without being observed. These were again sub-divided into nine categories.4

Learned discussions as to the right of private defence were not unknown.5

1. Kane History of the Dharmasastras, (1972), Vol. 3, p. 515.

2. Kane History of the Dharmasastra, (1972), Vol. 3, pp. 519, 520.

3. Kane History of the Dharmasastra, (1972), Vol. 3, p. 520.

4. Katyayana, Verses 832-834, as quoted by Kane History of the Dharmasastra, (1972), Vol. 3, p. 529.

5. History of the Dharmasastra, (1972), pp. 507-508.

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