Nyaya Vyavastha (न्यायव्यवस्था)

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Nyaya Vyavastha (literally translates to legal system), the provision , refers to a system which describes the composition and functioning of courts, proceedings of a case and other legal and judicial procedures to administer Nyaya (न्यायः). The description is given in Dharmasastras (धर्मशास्त्राः) which proposed the rule of Raja (राजा, king) in a Rajya (राज्यम्, State) to ensure that people follow Dharma (धर्मः).

Kinds of Courts

People's courts; courts appointed by Raja, named Adhikrita (अधिकृता); and court presided by Raja, named Sasita (शासिता) are broadly the three kinds of courts described.

People's courts were presided by panchayatdars and could decide all civil and criminal cases except those involving violence. Also, they were not given authority to order fines and corporal punishments. People's courts are further classified into the following.[1]

  1. Kula (कुलः). To settle disputed related to a family or Varna, group of unbiased people belonging to the family or Varna of the litigants preside over such courts.
  2. Shreni (श्रेणिः). These courts settle disputes of people belonging to the same craft, profession or trade.[1] A Shreni court can review a decision made in the Kula court.
  3. Gana (गणः). These are courts which settle disputes of people belonging to one place regardless of Varna or vocation. A Gana court can review a decision taken in a Shreni court.

Sasita (शासिता): The court of Raja


  1. 1.0 1.1 Justice M. Rama Jois, Legal and Constitutional History of India (2016), Part 7, Chapter 1, Pages 490