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Q1. Compare and contrast Kautilya’s Saptanga Theory of the Sovereign State with Bodin’s theory of Sovereignty. 2011 – 15 marks


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  • jaish

    Sovereignty may be defined as the supreme power of the state to take independent decisions both internally and externally.
    Kautilya’s theory of saptanga:
    Kautilya in his book Arthashstra formulates the theory of saptanga state. Although, according to P.V.Kane, the word sovereignty is missing but idea of supreme power is visible.
    State is the organisation which consists os seven organs:-
    Svami or the Ruler, Amatya, Janapada, Durga, Kosh, Danda and Mitra.
    Saptanga state as a sovereign state:
    Internal and external sovereignty can be traced in saptanga state. Internal sovereignty- the notion of supreme power and svami may be compared with the modern sovereign.
    Svami is regarded as the ‘Dharmapravarttaka’ who enforces the law and it is compared with the legal power of the modern sovereign. Svami is also declared as to be ‘Kutasthaniya’ means centre of political activity. It is also said that king is the state.
    If we will compare this to the Bodin theory of Sovereignty, then above facts are also present in his theory. According to Bodin theory of sovereignty, “sovereignty is the supreme power of state over its subjects and citizens unrestricted by the law”. Therefore, there is element of supreme power, essential feature, permanent power and non transferability and sovereign has no legal restriction. Such concept of sovereignty can be well compared with the kautilaya’s Arthashashtra saptanga state and svami as sovereign.
    However, Bodin has put various restrictions on the sovereign while such restriction is absent in the saptanga state and svami as sovereign. In fact, restrictions on sovereign is criticised by the later philosopher like Austin.