The Panchayat is most important adjudicating and licensing agency in the self-government of the Wholly Marines. Literally, a panchayat (from Sanskrit pañca, “five”) consists of five members, but there can be more; the panchayat has a policy committee, however, often numbering five. One of the roles of the policy Committees is to codify the precedent from the rules of the Panchayat
A Panchayat should consist of Officers of the Wholly Marines but any 5 people that the primary parties can agree to respect their arbitration.
The panchayat sits as a court of law. Cases are heard in open meetings in which all members of the group concerned are entitled to take part. Any evidence that has any conceivable bearing on the case is admissible; it can be produced by either party, by onlookers, or by members of the council.
TOoHNA's panchayats are an example of restoritive justice. They do not consider whether an offence has taken place or not, rather the purpose of the Panchayat is to find out what the true offence was and to find mitigating circumstances.
Penalties take the form of fines (paid by distributing sweets to a caste group or by contributing to a caste fund), the obligation to offer a feast to the berādarī (family brotherhood) or to Brahmans, and temporary or permanent excommunication. Pilgrimage and self-humiliation are sometimes levied, but physical punishment is now uncommon.