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Saturday, May 30, 2015

The false witness and the silent witness

The false witness and the silent witness

न स्यात् कूटसाक्षी॥५५०॥
na syāt kūṭasākṣī||550||

The great Statesman and lawgiver, Chanakya in his Sootram or aphorism 550, declares that 

one should never give false evidence… |

That is, one should never declare as right and genuine something which he has not seen or felt or witnessed to be true and correct.. Moreover, one should never depose depose as genuine anything which he know s is not genuine, before any authority or forum .

On this issue, Sage Yaajnavalkya in his smritis goes a step further..

न ददाति हि यः साक्ष्यं जानन्नपि नराधमः।
स कूटसाक्षिणाम् पापैः तुल्यो दण्डेन चैव हि॥

na dadāti hi yaḥ sākṣyaṁ jānannapi narādhamaḥ|
sa kūṭasākṣiṇām pāpaiḥ tulyo daṇḍena caiva hi||
A person who declines or refrains from giving evidence before a forum, even while knowing the facts of an issue, is a mean human being equal to a false witness. He should suffer the same sins as a false witness and the state should also mete out identical punishmes to him as if he were a perjurer or a false witness.

Mahabharatham ( Bhagavan Vyaasa) goes one more step further.

यश्च कार्यार्थतत्त्वज्ञो जानन्नपि न भाषते।
सोऽपि तेनैव पापेन लिप्यते नात्र सम्शयः॥
yaśca kāryārthatattvajño jānannapi na bhāṣate|
so'pi tenaiva pāpena lipyate nātra samśayaḥ||

One who is aware of the facts of a case, and is also well versed in law and customs, and simply keeps quiet or declines to intervene with the correct facts and law when it comes for consideration in the appropriate forum, also becomes tarnished and he too partakes in sins to the same extent as the perpetrators of the sinful action..

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