the amta-palas of the Arthasastra. These were the superintendents of tolls.
No doubt, each province had its own amta-palas and possibly in some
provinces tolls had to be paid even while exchanging goods in various
districts. But toll houses must have existed along the borders of the empire. It
is quite likely that the duties of amtamahamattas included the collection of
revenue from the toll dues. They would thus supervise the work of the toll
collectors and superintendent of tolls would also be responsible to them.
Judicial and Police Departments Kautilya refers to the existence of two
kinds of courts—dharmasthiyas and kantakasodhanas or civil and criminal
courts. The supreme court at the capital was presided over by the chief
justice, called dharmadhikarin. There were also subordinate courts at the
provincial capitals, divisions and districts under amatyas and pradeshtris.
Four sources of law are mentioned by Kautilya. They are dharma (sacred
law), vyavahara (usage), charitam (customs and precedents) and rajasasana
(royal proclamations). Mention is also made of different kinds of
punishments such as fines, imprisonment, mutilation and death (the last one
is noticed in Asokan edicts also). In the chapter on vakta-karmanuyoga,
Kautilya refers to the examination of evidence, recorded by the lekhaka.
    Police headquarters were found in all principal centres. There was a
sthaniya in the midst of 800 villages, a dronamukha in 400 villages, a
kharvatika in 200 villages and a sangrahana in 10 villages. The jail proper
known as bandhanagara was different from the police lock-up called
charaka. Severe penalty was prescribed by Kautilya for the dereliction of
duty by the bandha-nagaradhyaksha (jail superintendent). Asokan edicts also
deal with jails and jail officials. The dhamma-mahamattas were also
required, apart from their other duties, to take steps against unjust
imprisonment. Remission of sentences and jail deliveries are also mentioned
in Asokan inscriptions. Asoka in fact speaks of 25 jail deliveries in the course
of the first 26 years of his reign.
Espionage Department It was manned by gudhapurushas (secret agents)
under the control of mahamatyapasarpa. Both stationary (smastha) and
touring (sanchara) officials formed the personnel of this cadre. Different
types of agents, from recluses and students to householders and ‘poisonous’
girls (vishakanyas), were employed. They correspond to the ‘overseers’ of
Megasthenes and the pativedakas