In a garland, flowers of many colors and forms are strung for the most pleasing effect, whereas in the hands of the charcoal burner all kinds of wood reduced to just charcoal.
This famous statement from the Mahabharata emphasizes the importance of the king’s duty to preserve and protect this diversity. The charcoal burner is reductionist and destroys diversity, whereas the garland maker celebrates it.
In legislative context, this could be achieve by Jury system backed by localized legislation.
Manu (7.41) codifies the contextual importance of dharma: “[A king] who knows the sacred law, must imagine into it the laws of jati (community), of districts, of guilds, and of families, and thus settle the peculiar law of each”. The acceptance of many ways of dharmic living was built into the Indian king’s duties to uphold religious diversity, as explained by Kane:
“It was on account of the general attitude of religious tolerance that the Smritis and digests prescribe that even the usage of heretical sects should be enforced by the king. Yaj.II.192 prescribes that the king should guard against the breach of the distinctive usages and conventions of guilds (of artisans), of traders, of heretical sects, and bands (of soldiers). Narada (samayasyanapakarma 1-3) states that the king should uphold the conventions of heretical sects of traders, guilds and other groups and that whatever traditional usages, activities, mode of attendance and means of maintenance were peculiar to them should be permitted to them by the king without introducing any change. Among the matters of which the king was to take cognizance and included under prakirnaka by Narada (verse 2) was the transgression of usages of heretics, traders, guilds and ganas. Brhaspati provides that in disputes among husbandmen, artisans, wrestlers, money-lenders, guilds, dancers, heretics, thieves, a decision is to be given in accordance with their conventions.”
“Generally speaking, the king had no legislative power; nevertheless there are instances where kings created new rules, usually by recognizing existing customs. He also had residual powers to create positive law, viz. in areas that were not covered by the dharma-sastras.”
– “History of Dharmasastra”. Volume III, second edition, 1973, Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Poona.
Context sensitive dharma vs. Normative compliance based dharma. Not only adjusted to local conditions but to that context presented by running time. The training for excellence is to practice the embodied technologies of decision-making, the right decisions, the wise decisions, when needed by the present dharma, context, one faces. This is the goal, the ethics of the whole program of the Avatara Krisna in the Bhagavad Gita: to train Arjuna, that fallen and disturbed warrior, to make decisions, the best ones, as needed by his present dharma (his present situation), a battle field. And this is the program of human acting, from the Rig Veda down, that Indic texts propose: an ethics of decision making as opposed to an ethics of compliance to rules coming from the outside.
I tried to give few examples here where collective, context sensitive justice was given and recorded in inscription:
1] A village officer demanded taxes from a woman who declared she was not liable. The former seems to have put her through an ordeal. The woman took poison and died. A meeting of the people from the four quarters (All castes), eighteen districts and the various countries (International Jury) was held and it was decided that the man was liable. In order to expiate his sin, he paid ,32 kasu for burning a lamp at the temple (A.D. 1054).
2] A man pushed his wife and she fell down and died in consequence. The 1,500 men of the four quarters assembled and declared the husband guilty. He was required to provide 4 lamps to the temple (12th century A.D).
3] A laborer went out hunting, missed his aim and shot a person. The agriculturists from the seventy-nine (79) districts assembled together and declared the person guilty. He was required to present 64 cows for burning two lamps in the temple.
More here : Link to note: http://goo.gl/k48Wm
Hope we citizens correct the system by amending it for good of larger mass.
How to handle “Will the latter not result in manipulation of results?”
Randomly selected, case specific Jury can help implementing system prescribed by great legacy of dharma-shashtra(s) we have. Again, this is not perfect answer. churning is on to find this answer.