CHAPTER VII – THE BUSINESS OF KEEPING UP ACCOUNTS

1THE superintendent of accounts shall have the accountant’s office constructed with its door facing either the north or the east, with seats (for clerks) kept apart and with shelves of account-books well arranged.
2Therein the number of several departments; the description of the work carried on and of the results realised in several manufactories (Karmánta); the amount of profit, loss, expenditure, delayed earnings, the amount of vyáji (premia in kind or cash) realised,—the status of government agency employed, the amount of wages paid, the number of free labourers engaged (vishti) pertaining to the investment of capital on any work; likewise in the case of gems and commodities of superior or inferior value, the rate of their price, the rate of their barter, the counterweights (pratimána) used in weighing them, their number, their weight, and their cubical measure; the history of customs, professions, and transactions of countries, villages, families, and corporations; the gains in the form of gifts to the king’s courtiers, their title to possess and enjoy lands, remission of taxes allowed to them, and payment of provisions and salaries to them; the gains to the wives and sons of the king in gems, lands, prerogatives, and provisions made to remedy evil portents; the treaties with, issues of ultimatum to, and payments of tribute from or to, friendly or inimical kings,— all these shall be regularly entered in prescribed registers.
3From these books the superintendent shall furnish the accounts as to the forms of work in hand, of works accomplished, of part of works in hand, of receipts, of expenditure, of net balance, and of tasks to be undertaken in each of the several departments.
4To supervise works of high, middling and low description, superintendents with corresponding qualifications shall be employed.
5The king will have to suffer in the end if he curtails the fixed amount of expenditure on profitable works.
6(When a man engaged by Government for any work absents himself), his sureties who conjointly received (wages?) from the government, or his sons, brothers, wives, daughters or servants living upon his work shall bear the loss caused to the Government.
7The work of 354 days and nights is a year. Such a work shall be paid for more or less in proportion to its quantity at the end of the month, Ashádha (about the middle of July). (The work during) the intercalary month shall be (separately) calculated.
8A government officer, not caring to know the information gathered by espionage and neglecting to supervise the despatch of work in his own department as regulated, may occasion loss of revenue to the government owing to his ignorance, or owing to his idleness when he is too weak to endure the trouble of activity, or due to inadvertence in perceiving sound and other objects of sense, or by being timid when he is afraid of clamour, unrighteousness, and untoward results, or owing to selfish desire when he is favourably disposed towards those who are desirous to achieve their own selfish ends, or by cruelty due to anger, or by lack of dignity when he is surrounded by a host of learned and needy sycophants, or by making use of false balance, false measures, and false calculation owing to greediness.
9The school of Manu hold that a fine equal to the loss of revenue and multiplied by the serial number of the circumstances of the guilt just narrated in order shall be imposed upon him.
10The school of Parásara hold that the fine in all the cases shall be eight times the amount lost.
11The school of Brihaspathi say that it shall be ten times the amount.
12The school of Usanas say that it shall be twenty times the amount.
13But Kautilya says that it shall be proportional to the guilt.
14Accounts shall be submitted in the month of Ashádha.
15When they (the accountants of different districts) present themselves with sealed books, commodities and net revenue, they shall all be kept apart in one place so that they cannot carry on conversation with each other. Having heard from them the totals of receipts, expenditure, and net revenue, the net amount shall be received.
16By how much the superintendent of a department augments the net total of its revenue either by increasing any one of the items of its receipts or by decreasing anyone of the items of expenditure, he shall be rewarded eight times that amount. But when it is reversed (i.e., when the net total is decreased), the award shall also be reversed (i.e., he shall be made to pay eight times the decrease).
17Those accountants who do not present themselves in time or do not produce their account books along with the net revenue shall be fined ten times the amount due from them.
18When a superintendent of accounts (káranika) does not at once proceed to receive and check the accounts when the clerks (kármika) are ready, he shall be punished with the first amercement. In the reverse case (i.e., when the clerks are not ready), the clerks shall be punished with double the first amercement.
19All the ministers (mahámáras) shall together narrate the whole of the actual accounts pertaining to each department.
20Whoever of these (ministers or clerks ?) is of undivided counsel or keeps himself aloof, or utters falsehood shall be punished with the highest amercement.
21When an accountant has not prepared the table of daily accounts (akritáhorúpaharam), he may be given a month more (for its preparation). After the lapse of one month he shall be fined at the rate of 200 panas for each month (during which he delays the accounts).
22If an accountant has to write only a small portion of the accounts pertaining to net revenue, he may be allowed five nights to prepare it.
23Then the table of daily accounts submitted by him along with the net revenue shall be checked with reference to the regulated forms of righteous transactions and precedents and by applying such arithmetical processes as addition, subtraction, inference and by espionage. It shall also be verified with reference to (such divisions of time as) days, five nights, pakshás, months, four-months, and the year.
24The receipt shall be verified with reference to the place and time pertaining to them, the form of their collection (i.e., capital, share), the amount of the present and past produce, the person who has paid it, the person who caused its payment, the officer who fixed the amount payable, and the officer who received it. The expenditure shall be verified with reference to the cause of the profit from any source in the place and time pertaining to each item, the amount payable, the amount paid, the person who ordered the collection, the person who remitted the same, the person who delivered it, and the person who finally received it.
25Likewise the net revenue shall be verified with reference to the place, time, and source pertaining to it, its standard of fineness and quantity, and the persons who are employed to guard the deposits and magazines (of grains, etc.).
26When an officer (káranika) does not facilitate or prevents the execution of the king’s order, or renders the receipts and expenditure otherwise than prescribed, he shall be punished with the first amercement.
27Any clerk who violates or deviates from the prescribed form of writing accounts, enters what is unknown to him, or makes double or treble entries (punaruktam) shall be fined 12 panas.
28He who scrapes off the net total shall be doubly punished.
29He who eats it up shall be fined eight times.
30He who causes loss of revenue shall not only pay a fine equal to five times the amount lost (panchabandha), but also make good the loss. In case of uttering a lie, the punishment levied for theft shall be imposed. (When an entry lost or omitted) is made later or is made to appear as forgotten, but added later on recollection, the punishment shall be double the above.
31The king shall forgive an offence when it is trifling, have satisfaction even when the revenue is scanty, and honour with rewards (pragraha) such of his superintendents as are of immense benefit to him.