Introduction to Mapchowk Tribunal

Mapchowk Tribunal was among the Four Important Tribunals ( Kuther, Sulli, Ligwal, Mapchowk) of Ancient Nepal. The Exact Duty and Responsibilities of this Tribunal aren’t known.

Despite that, it has a Non-Sanksrit Name meaning that they were practiced by the Kirat Dynasty and the Lichhavi Dynasty continued to practice it.

The Primary Functions of the Mapchowk Tribunal are concerned with Marriage, Divorce, and its regulation.

Officers of Mapchowk Tribunal

The Mapchowk Tribunal required Government Officers to continue to deal with Marriage, Divorce, etc. In one of the Inscriptions of Ravi Gupta, Mahishil Brahamung has been mentioned as the Chief Officer of the Mapchowk Tribunal.

Brahamung was the Title given to the High-Class Government Officers of the Lichhavi Dynasty.

The Officers of the Mapchowk Tribunal were also termed Jagirdar or Brittibhuk. It translates to those who are provided a Salary by the Government.

Therefore, there were no criteria to be passed to be chosen by the Government. The castes such as Verma and Gupta are repeatedly seen to have been given these Posts.

Functions of Mapchowk Tribunal

One of the Inscriptions found in Maligaon belonging to Vishnu Gupta has shed light on the Mapchowk Tribunal, how it worked, and what were its functions.

After the Sulli Tribunal, this Tribunal is concerned with the Judicial and Legal Administration of Ancient Nepal. It also provided Punitive Consequences for the violations of Rules and Regulations. They were concerned with Marriage, Divorce, etc.

Inscription of Machowk Tribunal
Inscription of Machowk Tribunal


Marriage and Marriage Registration was one of the Important Functions of the Mapchowk Tribunal. The Exact Process of Registration of Marriages in Ancient Nepal is unknown. However, it certainly dealt with marriages and the cases related to Marriages.

This Tribunal dealt with the Financial and Legal Matters related to Marriage and the consequences of such marriages. The Laws that dealt with these Matters were quite strict.


Divorce was the most Important Responsibility of the Mapchowk Tribunal. It had strict rules and regulations concerning Divorce and Its Conditions as well. One of the interesting aspects of the Lichhavi Society was that Women were allowed to Divorce as well as choose another Husband in certain circumstances.

The Husband could also have multiple Wives but Women couldn’t have multiple Husbands. As Women were provided privileges, it seems that some of them could have exploited them according to Historians.

Therefore, the Mapchowk Tribunal punished those women who remarry with another Husband but do not have any children with them and continued repeating their actions.

Conditions of Divorce

The Mapchowk Tribunal had set a strict set of rules and regulations that accompanied divorce guidelines. Some of the Conditions for a woman to divorce a man are as follows:

1. Death of Husband: If the Husband died before his wife, the Wife was provided the opportunity to remarry. The Practice of Sati was not prevalent within the So-Called Lower Castes and therefore, the Woman could live without her husband.

2. Disappearance of Husband: If the Husband disappeared for a long period of time, the Wife could actually search for another husband and marry him.

3. Ascetic Husband: If One’s Husband turned into an ascetic and left his Wife, then the Wife was provided the privilege to remarry and choose Another Husband.

4. No Children: A woman could leave their husband and choose another one if the Child wasn’t born out of their marriage.

Punishment to Adultery

The Inscription of Ravi Gupta stated that those women who repeatedly commit actions of Adultery without giving birth to children were to be punished by the Mapchowk Tribunal. However, if the Woman succeeds at giving birth to Children, then, the necessity of punishing her disappears.

The Benefits and Remuneration obtained from the settlement of Legal Issues were awarded to the Officers of the Mapchowk Tribunal itself. The Remuneration was known as “ Danda Kunda”.


In conclusion, the Mapchowk Tribunal was an important judicial and legal administration system of Ancient Nepal. It was specifically concerning marriage and divorce regulations.

Though the exact functions of the tribunal are not fully known, some inscriptions have shed some light on its operations and the roles of government officers involved in this Tribunal.


Pokhrel, A. (2023). Mapchowk – Itihasaa. Encyclopedia of Nepali History.