DECRYPTING MYTHOLOGY: LEGIT ORIGINALS

Authored By:

Anitha Thamizharasan – Associate Editor

Yash Sahu – Jnr. Associate Editor

Rashmi Chaubey – Member, Legit by Internationalism


1. Bible and the Code of Conduct of US Judges

The Bible does not only concentrate specifically on secular (i.e., non-religious) issues but also deals with different aspects of law, which in many parts of the world has had a significant impact on later legal systems. In Bible, there are some laws for the Judgment of people and these laws are similar to the Code of Conduct of US Judges as in Leviticus 19:15 it is stated that “Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favouritism to the great, but judge your neighbour fairly” and it is also there in the Canon 3 of Code of Conduct of US Judges where it is mentioned that “A Judge should perform the duties of the office fairly, impartially and diligently.”

2. Mahabharata and the usage of the Doctrine of Necessity

As we all know that Mahabharata is a great ancient Indian epic. The notion of religious obligation is the principal theme of the Mahabharata. In this epic, every character is born into a specific social community, or caste, which must fulfil the obligation prescribed by the sacred law. The characters doing their sacred duty are rewarded, and those who don’t do it are punished. And according to the Doctrine of Necessity, it's justifiable to do some harm of its done to prevent some bigger harm. So here, in Mahabharata Shree Krishna cheated on Bhishma Pitamah to kill him and he said that it was done to win the war as if Duryodhan have won it then he would have been the worst king and could have tortured the people of its kingdom, so to do the welfare of people of that kingdom he cheated on him which was somewhere necessary.

3. The Saptapadi

Since the beginning of the time and universe, there had been theories and conceptualization on the living of man and woman together, which later incorporate disparate rituals and ceremonies to effectuate them. In Hinduism, the seven vows or the Saptapadi where the bride and groom take as Agni, the Vedic God of Fire, is considered as sacred as it contains all the energy provenience of the world that is the vindication of various rituals in Hinduism are performed in front of holy fire. Since the Saptapadi embraces itself with the religious deportment, the law also contemplated it as a ceremony for marriage, Section 7 of the Hindu Marriage Act recognises the ceremonies and customs of marriage. A Hindu marriage may be solemnised following the customary rites and ceremonies of either party. The marriage becomes apodictic and binding when the seventh step or Saptapadi is procured.

4. Kautilya’s Arthshaastra

Arthshaastra is one of the ancient scripture, which was inscribed by Kautilya which encapsulates the raison d'être of the judicial and the ruling of the king effectively and in a prosperous course of action. In the Arthshaastra, DHARMA, EVIDENCE, AND CUSTOMS are given the eminence importance and as stated in chapter VIII. II of Arthshaastra “A king who administers justice in accordance with Dharma, evidence, and Customs can conquer the whole world”. Keeping this vantage point we can perpetuate that the Indian judicial system that governs every aspect of the country is formed based on dharma i.e Truth, Evidence as prescribed in the Indian Evidence Act of 1872, and the customary rights which become law when certain aspects, local customs and conventions (usually religious) that are not against any statute or morality are also the appurtenant basis for law. Law has become the power of an individual to attain the highest peak in life, mythology being the chaperone of the world lays the foundation of the law and functioning of the society as a whole.

5. Maduraikanchi – The way Justice is Served

Maduraikkanci is the longest poem in the Pattuppāṭṭu collection with 782 lines of poetry. Many of the verses are in kaval meter and others in van meter, it is a detailed description of life and bustle in the ancient city of Madurai. The poem praises the king for all his accomplishments and strengths. Embedded indirectly within the poem are the poet's counsel to the king on justice, the impermanence of everything in life, and the proper rule of the kingdom. king Nedunjeliyan II, the Maduraikkāci is the sixth poem in the Pattuppāṭṭu anthology; the poem is generally dated to the late classical period (2nd to 4th century CE). Maduraikanchi also serves as an important source to know about the importance of Justice in the Pandyan Kingdom. This book talks about the way justice is served and about the courts that deliver justice. This stanza enshrines that there were great ministers who were famous. They analyse the situations in a restrained manner. They see good and bad who work with justice and kindness. They protected the people from all restrains. They were like the celestial bodies in the sky. The council of Ministers consists of the commander, spies, and ambassadors. They do not merely act as an advisory body but also took part in the judicial performances. From this, we could derive at the conclusion that the autocratic nature of the King was prevented in making judgements. Maduraikanchi also talks about the courts that deliver justice in the below lines, This says that the courts existed in the Pandyan Kingdom with fine principles for delivering justice. They were fair like the pointer in the balance and protect justice without hatred or joy. They also remove the fear, seriousness, and the shame of the people who seek justice. For the dispensation of Justice, the King was assisted by the Brahmins and assessors of profound learning. This was mentioned in Thirukkural as, Learning and virtue of the ages spring, From all-controlling sceptre of the king. In simple words, the sceptre of the king is the firm support of the Cedas of the Brahmin, and all virtues therein described.

6. Puranaanuru– and its Perspective of Court Hall

The Pandyan kingdom was one among the three ancient Tamil kingdoms. They ruled the Tamil country from prehistoric times till the end of the fifteenth century. Initially, they ruled Korkai, the southernmost tip of the Indian subcontinent and later they moved to Madurai. Pandyas are mentioned in the Sangam literature including Kings like Pandian Nedunchelian and Mudukudumi Peruvaludi. The ancient Tamil Kingdoms considered justice as the sacred one and Pandyas were not exempted from that. There were many references in the Sangam literature like Thirukkural, Silapathigaaram, Purananuru, etc..,

The Purananuru is the master text chronicling every aspect of Tamil life other than love among all the eight anthologies of Ettutokai. The study of Purananuru is highly significant in understanding the development of south Asia's culture, religion, and linguistics. The literal meaning of Purananuru is “the exterior four hundred " has only 397 poems excluding the invocatory song of Perutevanar and two more poems were irrevocably lost. The Purananuru have poems on various topics which makes it a real treasure house of Tamil antiquity and a literary masterpiece. Approximately 150 poets have contributed to making it. It is a cluster of 50 great kings of tamilakam and 83 smaller kings. Vastly, it contains poems on war and the valour (Maram), poems of praise, royal ethics, especially the generosity expected of kings (eekai), suppliants requests, a poem celebrating friendship with kings, chieftains, cattle raids as a curtain-raiser to war, the king's solemn swearing to win an upstart rival, a handful of poems an unrequited love, poems expressing fear over the demolition of a town for refusal a daughter in marriage, poems of lamentation over the collapse of the kingdom or the demise of King and so on. Purananuru mentions that the administration of justice was carried out with the assistance of the ministers in the royal court. During the period of Cheras, the mandram served as the court of justice.

The Mandram also serves as a public place for social activity in all the villages where men, women, and also the children met for the common activities. Purananuru describes the court hall in the following lines Enter his town with great protection were other than those with friendships cannot imagine entering even in their dreams, stood in his courtyard which was like a large festivity ground with fragrances of cherunthi and other flowers from a huge forest inhabited by cattle herders with righteous hearts and others of great valor rising in their hearts.

This poem expresses that the courtyard had the fragrances of flowers and blossoming cherunthi flowers from a huge forest inhabited by cattle herders with righteous hearts and others of great brave rising in their hearts and it was like a large festivity field. Law is an integral part of our lives and for the proper administration of justice, it is always imperative to look into the history of the current judicial systems and how we came to be, that is why we must look into the ancient judicial system.


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Legit Originals: Volume 1, Issue 2(October 2020)

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