PUNCH-HOUSE, s. An Inn or Tavern; now the term is chiefly used by natives (sometimes in the hybrid form Punch-ghar, [which in Upper India is now transferred to the meeting-place of a Municipal Board]) at the Presidency towns, and applied to houses frequented by seamen. Formerly the word was in general Anglo-Indian use. [In the Straits the Malay Panchaus is, according to Mr. Skeat, still in use, though obolescent.]

[1661.—“… the Commandore visiting us, wee delivering him another examination of a Persee (Parsee), who kept a Punch house, where the murder was committed. …”—Forrest, Bombay Letters, Home Series, i. 189.]

1671-2.—“It is likewise enordered and declared hereby that no Victuallar, Punch-house, or other house of Entertainment shall be permitted to make stoppage at the pay day of their wages. …”—Rules, in Wheeler, iii. 423.

1676.—Major Puckle’s “Proposals to the Agent about the young men at Metchlepatam.

“That some pecuniary mulct or fine be imposed … for misdemeanours.

“6. Going to Punch or Rack-houses without leave or warrantable occasion.

“Drubbing any of the Company’s Peons or servants.”
—In Notes and Exts., No. I. p. 40.

1688.—“… at his return to Achen he constantly frequented an English Punch-house, spending his Gold very freely.”—Dampier, ii. 134.

„ “Mrs. Francis, wife to the late Lieutenant Francis killed at Hoogly by the Moors, made it her petition that she might keep a Punch-house for her maintenance.”—In Wheeler, i. 184.

1697.—“Monday, 1st April … Mr. Cheesely having in a Punch-house, upon a quarrel of words, drawn his Sword … and being taxed therewith, he both doth own and justify the drawing of the sword … it thereupon ordered not to wear a sword while here.”—In Wheeler, i. 320.

1727.—“… Of late no small Pains and Charge have been bestowed on its Buildings (of the Fort at Tellichery); but for what Reason I know not … unless it be for small Vessels … or to protect the Company’s Ware-house, and a small Punch- house that stands on the Sea-shore. …”—A. Hamilton, i. 299 [ed. 1744].

1789.—“Many … are obliged to take up their residence in dirty punch-houses.”—Munro’s Narrative, 22.

1810.—“The best house of that description which admits boarders, and which are commonly called Punch-houses.”—Williamson, V.M. i. 135.

PUNCHAYET, s. Hind. panchayat, from panch, ‘five.’ A council (properly of 5 persons) assembled as a Court of Arbiters or Jury; or as a committee of the people of a village, of the members of a Caste, or what-not, to decide on questions interesting the body generally.

1778.—“The Honourable WILLIAM HORN-BY, Esq., President and Governor of His Majesty’s Castle and Island of Bombay, &c.

“The humble Petition of the Managers of the Panchayet of Parsis at Bombay. …”—Dosambhai Framji, H. of the Parsis, 1884, ii. 219.

1810.—“The Parsees … are governed by their own panchaït or village Council. The word panchaït literally means a Council of five, but that of the Guebres in Bombay consists of thirteen of the principal merchants of the sect.”—Maria Graham, 41.

1813.—“The carpet of justice was spread in the large open hall of the durbar, where the arbitrators assembled: there I always attended, and agreeably to ancient custom, referred the decision to a panchaeet or jury of five persons.”—Forbes, Or. Mem., ii. 359; [in 2nd ed. (ii. 2) Panchaut].

1819.—“The punchayet itself, although in all but village causes it has the defects before ascribed to it, possesses many advantages. The intimate acquaintance of the members with the subject in dispute, and in many cases with the characters of the parties, must have made their decisions frequently correct, and…the judges being drawn from the body of the people, could act on no principles that were not generally understood.”—Elphinstone, in Life, ii. 89.

1821.—“I kept up punchaycts because I found them…I still think that the punchayet should on no account be dropped, that it is an excellent institution for dispensing justice, and in keeping up the principles of justice, which are less likely to be observed among a people to whom the administration of it is not at all intrusted.”—Ibid. 124.

1826.—“…when he returns assemble a punchayet, and give this cause patient attention, seeing that Hybatty has justice.”—Pandurang Hari, 31; [ed. 1873, i. 42].

1832.—Bengal Regn. VI. of this year allows the judge of the Sessions Court to call in the alternative aid of a punchayet, in lieu of assessors, and so to dispense with the futwa. See LAW-OFFICER.

1853.—“From the death of Runjeet Singh to the battle of Sobraon, the Sikh Army was governed by ‘Punchayets’ or ‘Punches’—committees of the soldiery. These bodies sold the Government to the Sikh chief who paid the highest, letting him command until murdered by some one who paid higher.”—Sir C. Napier,

  By PanEris using Melati.

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