--> Skip to main content

Avarodhaka Danda

Avarodhaka Danda is a punishment inflicted upon those who violate the laws. A society is ensured protection of life and wealth by establishing efficient courts through which danda (punishment) is inflicted upon those who violate the laws provided by the social system to maintain law provided by the social system to maintain law and order in the society. Danda plays an important role in jurisprudence, which apart from punishing the convict, inflicts fear in society from committing crime or violating the laws.

Various forms of dandas for different crimes are described in Dharmashastras and Smritis. Broadly classifying, danda is of two kinds – internal and external. Internal punishment is prayaschitta (the act of repentance) of the culprit for the act of crime and assurance of not repeating the crime. The prayaschitta (expiation) is of other kinds also where the convict, realizing his own crime, proclaims his crime in the assembly of noble people and undergoes the punishment or expiatory acts ordained by them.

External punishment is classified into four categories Manu, Yajnavalkya and Brihaspati as –

  1. Vagdanda – warning
  2. Dhigdanda – public abuse or censure
  3. Dhanadanda – fine
  4. Vadhadanda – capital punishment

Avarodhaka  Danda or imprisonment is a special kind of corporal punishment. Usually corporal punishment is of four kinds – pidana, angacchedana (tortures), bandhana or avarodhana (imprisonment), desaniskasana (exile) and mrityudanda (death sentence).

A person is put to imprisonment for certain crimes either for a short term or for lifetime depending upon the seriousness of the offence. According to Apastamba, a person is put to imprisonment till he confesses to the crime and assures that he would not repeat it. The prison house, according to Manu, should be on the royal path where the common people can see the piteous condition of the criminals and withdraw from committing such crimes (8/310).

Katyayana ordains imprisonment for a person who is unable to return the debts and emphasizes on the fact that he should be made to work rigorously. Brihaspati talks of imprisonment for royal treachery. Manu and Katyayana ordain imprisonment for crimes involving immorality. In Vishnudharmasutra it is said that a king can imprison a person till death for the crime of depriving or causing injury to both the eyes of any citizen. In Dharmashastras there are about 73 crimes for which a person is imprisoned.