Introduction to Sulli Tribunal

Sulli or Sholla Tribunal dealt with the Judicial and Legal Administration of Ancient Nepal. It falls among the Four Administrative Tribunals of Nepal that were present during the Lichhavi as well as the Kirat Dynasty.

After the Kuther Tribunal, Sulli Tribunal was the important one. It was also called Sholla, Suli, etc.

Sulli Tribunal is mentioned in the Inscription of King Ganadeva where one of the Four Tribunals (Kuther, Sulli, Ligwal, and Mapchowk) is supposed to have dealt with Five Heinous Crimes.

The Five Heinous Crimes or Pancha Aparadh constituted the most unacceptable of Crimes and were often mentioned even till the reign of the Malla Dynasty.

Like the Kuther Tribunal, Sulli Tribunal was also administered by Officers hired by the Central Administration.

Functions of Sulli Tribunal

Inscription of Sulli Tribunal
Inscription of Sulli Tribunal

Case Registration

One of the Primary Responsibilities of the Sulli Tribunal was the registration of relevant cases that are heinous in Nature. The Inscription of Pasikhya of King Basantadeva has stated that “Those that will register the Cases of Five Heinous Crimes to the Sulli Tribunal won’t be tolerated.”

It clearly highlights that cases had to be first registered and accepted to be processed by the Sulli Tribunal. Therefore, one of the Functions of the Tribunal was related to the registration of such cases.

Pancha Aparadh

Pancha Aparadh or Five Heinous Crimes and its administration was the most important function of the Sulli Tribunal. Some Historians have even written that the Tribunal dealt with the administration and prevention of Crimes as well as the Administration of Justice in Ancient Nepal.

Anyways, Pancha Aparadh consisted of Five Heinous Crimes that were unacceptable in the then standard. One of the Inscriptions of Narendradeva has stated that Pancha Aparadh consisted of Theft, Jari, Murder, and other crimes.

For these Crimes, the Cirminal was taken to the Court of the King, and their property including their wives was given to The Arya Sangh as punishment.

Another Inscription of Vishnu Gupta with Bhimarjunadeva has stated that Theft, Jari, Murder, and Treason are the Heinous Crimes of the Era. Anyways, the Consequences of such crimes were harsh in nature.

The Property of the Individual was confiscated including their wives and children. Therefore, Pancha Aparadh was rare and quite a profitable source of Revenue for the Government.

After any applicant registered the Cases, the Sulli Tribunal had to travel to the respective village where the crime occurred and efficiently investigate the cases according to need. After that, the conclusion of who committed the Crime was derived and punished as per practices and Dharma Shastras.

The Authority of investigating Pancha Aparadh was gradually passed on to the Local Villages or Grams itself. Considering that it was a major source of Revenue, the Villages had to actually provide some form of Land or remuneration to the Central Administration so that the National Treasury wouldn’t be affected.

In the Inscription of Chaukitar of Basantadeva, it has been stated that 2 Manika of Land was to be given to the Tribunal in exchange for obtaining the authority to investigate Pancha Aparadh.

Other Functions

After the registration of Cases and investigation of Pancha Aparadh, the Functions of the Sulli Tribunal remain unknown to a large extent. Therefore, Historians have predicted that the Tribunal was only concerned with the Legal Aspects of Ancient Nepal.

These claims seem to have been made in Good Faith and could have been possibly true as well. Anyways, Sulli Tribunal was an integral part of the Administration of Ancient Nepal.


In conclusion, the Sulli Tribunal was responsible for registering and investigating cases related to the Five Heinous Crimes, known as Pancha Aparadh.

It was administered by officers hired by the Central Administration and had the authority to confiscate the property of criminals, including their wives and children.


Pokhrel, A. (2023). Sulli/Sholla – Itihasaa. Encyclopedia of Nepali History.