The Determination of Fines- DR LS PERERA

This determination of the fine to be levied is incidentally referred to several times and in each instant the people of the village who estimate it, and it was not done haphazardly but according to the Customs of the village The phrases-

a.pirikapa dakva dun dada, [E.Z lll, PP 71-100 (No 4,1nsp B 4-5, 13),); [EZ.V, 1955-66 (No 16), pp 177-195).

b.pere Sirit dada Fine Fines as per Former Customs,-E.Z lll. Insp B 34-35;

c. kiru dand EZ I, pp 75-113 (No 7A,lnsp 51)

d.tira Kot gat dad.EZ .2 pp 9-14 (No.3).

e. gam vasiyan pas denuku ki dad,EZ.1 pp 113-120 (No 8,lnsp 34)

f. gam dannase EZ.I, pp 41-57 (No 4,lnsp 20)
all show that there was a system calculating the fine to suit the offence. One of the charges in the Badulla Pillar was that illegal flnes (annnyen dada)-EZ III pp 71-100( no 4 A 25-26); ;were levied by the semi-official landholders. The record now provides that all fines were to be estimated by the village officials such as Mandrandin, Vaniggramayan and Mahagramayan according to the Customs of the village (pere sirit) and the previous charter-(….davasa vavastha se)

The Anuradhapura slab of Kassapa V again contains a clause that if there be any dispute (Gingiriyak)about a fine the Royal Officials on circuit should appoint a Danda-nayaka to go into it and restore what should be restored.(danda-nayakayan hinda vicara-kot yut Hariya yutuvak harnn isa)EZ.I, pp 41-57 (No 4,lnsp23-24). Similarly the same record states that the same offence was not to be made the subject two fines-one by the Vihara officials and then by royal officials (patvu varadat vatala dand no ganna isa)-EZ I, Insp No 21.

Specific Fines
Fines were paid both in money and kind. The Vevalkatiya inscription measures all its fines tn kalandas and even has a fine as heavy as a hundred and twenty five kalandas as payable by the village if the culprits are not found. For assault without murder and abetment the fines was fifty kalandas-EZ.I. pp 241-251(No 21 Insp18, 20).The Badulla pillar prescribes for trading on the poya day a fine of a paddak of oil to be given as offering for lamps at Miyugun Vehera-EZ III , pp 71-100 ( no 4, Insp B 26-36- this inscription was from Sorabora Veva area], Failing that the customary fine had. to be paid. There is one example of fines being commuted for service . One would expect this to be a solution where a person was unable to pay a fine. This states that where a villager cannot Pay a fine it was to b”u.,e,s”d according to village.custom and in lieu of the assessed fine he shall be made to perform tank work by undertaking portions of sixteen cubits in circumferance and a cubit in depth at the side of the Mina tank (kudin kula varajak ata gam sirit dand kira kiru dand Mina aka avata solos riyan gambura riyan kabul bagin gena vav mehe karaviya yutu)

Something akin to commuting can aLso be seen in the Vevalkatiya inscription where those who aided and abetted in murder had to Pay a fine of fifty kalandas of gold failing this ge-dad was to be exacted and if this was not forthcoming, his hands and feet were to be cut off. similarly for assault not amounting to murder the alternative to a fine of fifty kalandas of gold was the appropriation of ge-dad.

Though dand and. dada were generally used. for fines, for crime and transgression of orders, there were besides lpecial fines called by different terms. That which
appears most often in the inscriptions is ge-dad.


The exact meaning of this term is obscure but the usage of the term in the context of the inscriptions may provide a clue to its meaning. The Vevalkatiya inscription
stated that for assault or for aiding in an assault the fine was to be fifty kalandas of gold. If this was not possible ge-dad was to be taken in each case[ EZ.I, pp 247-251(No 21,1ns18-23). Similar to this is the order in the Kaludiyapokuna inscription that Vihara servants who committed murder were to forfeit their ge-dad and were to be sent away, (unge ge-dad gena pitat
karanu)[EZ.llI,pp 260-269 (No.27B,1nsp32-33); (Sig. Rep.I,1984, pp 214-216)].
In the Mihintale tablets, this same panishment was to be meted out to those Vihara servants who had transgressed the rules laid down in the kitika (me sirit ikut kamiyan ge-dand gena meheyin hariya yutu-EZ.I, pp 75-113 (No 7 A,1nsp 58)). The Anuradhapura slab inscription of Kassapa V states that those who come for sanctuary with the moNks after committing murder were to be banished to India but ge-dad was not to be taken from those coming through fear of anything else{EZ.I, PP 41-57 (No 4,in 25)]. This would mean that ge-dad was taken from those who came for sanctuary after committing murder.

It would appear from the se examples that was not a direct form of punishment like a fine but an alternative to punishment which cannot be meted out or which was taken from
people banished to Indla. It was definitely a charge or an impost for more serious crimes li ke murder. The best interpretation for this term to suit all these contexts would be to regard it as some sort of security that was taken either at the place or residence or on entering some new place as when taking sanctuary. This security could be forfeited if fines were not paid or if the criminal was banished to India. These are not the only instances where security was taken.
In the Mihintale inscription ge-dad was placed alongside ko-dand kara, perelivar and bala and probably dummalassamun as various types of dues and fines to be taken from two villages that belonged to the pilimage of the dage(EZ.I, pp 75-113 (No.7A,lns37-38). It appears in the Kataragama pillar as a tax in the lorm, ge-dad.(EZ III, pp 212-225 (No.21C)


This was the name given to the fine taken from those who had committed murder.It may even be regarded as compensation for dependants of the murdered person,for the literal translation of the term is “life price.” It was aiso taken in case of assault and may have been granted to the victim-EZ.I, pp 241-251. (No.21,Insp18). We cannot however be sure of this, for the third alternative to this- if the criminal was not apprehended was that a fine of fifty kalandas was to be given to the state. This may stand alongside the interpretation given above.

OTher fines mentioned are ko-dand already referred to[EZ.I, pp 241-251. (No.21,Insp18)] and Vu-dand, also in the Vevalkatiya inscription where these fines were to be shared by gamladdan and,pamunu-laddan[EZ.l, pp 211-251 (No.21,1n24)]. There is no evidence to determine their meanings. Sihin-dand however means “the lesser fine” or “fine for the lesser offense.


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