By Swami Harshananda
Aksapatala literally means ‘depository of legal documents’.
A study of the Arthaśāstra of Kauṭilya (400 B.C.-A.D. 200) reveals that the administration of a State was well-organized even from the perspective of modern standards. One of the departments described in detail is the ‘aksapatala,’ the department which preserved legal documents and records of accounts. The doors of this office building faced north or east with rooms for the clerical staff and sufficient accommodation for account of books and documents.
The adhyaksa (superintendent) of this section had to maintain strictly all accounts pertaining to taxes, dues and fines and take measures to prevent embezzlement of State funds. It was also his duty to maintain a register of the dharma (customs, usages, methods of judicial procedures) of the various jati groups, families and corporations.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore