Which one of the following statements is correct about Sabha and Samiti in Rigvedic times ?
1. While Sabha was a selected body, Samiti was assembly of larger group of people
2. While Sabha performed most judicial as well as political functions, Samiti did not do these functions
Select the correct option from the codes given below:

Answer: [A] Only 1

Two assemblies called ‘sabha’ and ‘samiti’ formed an essential feature of the government. The term  ‘sabha’ is often mentioned in the Rigveda, and denotes both “the people in conclave” and the “hall” which was the venue of their meeting. Since, however, the ‘ sabha ‘ was used for the game of dice, it is clear that even nonpolitical business could be transacted at the hall or by the people who constituted the ‘ sabha’. That it was a gathering of the elect i.e., of Brahmanas and the rich patrons, when it was concerned for administrative purposes, is clear from the term ‘ Sabheya’, “worthy of the assembly”, as applied to a Brahmana.

The ‘samiti’ in the sense of an “Assembly” of the Vedic tribe is mentioned in the Rigveda. According to Ludwig, the’ samiti’ was a more comprehensive conference including not only all the common people (visah) but also Brahmanas and rich patrons (maghavan).

Although it is difficult to distinguish between a ‘sabha’ and a ‘samiti’, it appears that the ‘ samiti ‘ was an august assembly of a larger group of the people for the discharge of tribal (i.e. political) business and was presided over by the king, while the ‘ sabha’ , a more select body, was less popular and political in character than the ‘samiti’ .

Although the functions and powers of ‘ sabha’ and ‘ samiti’ cannot be exactly defined, numerous passages referring to them clearly indicate that both these Assemblies exercised considerable authority and must have acted as healthy checks on the power of the king.

Source: Administrative System in India: Vedic Age to 1947 By U. B. Singh

This question is a part of GKToday's Integrated IAS General Studies Module