Were some of the harsher punishments laid out in smṛtis like the Manu actually carried out (any real examples?) or they merely served as a deterrent?
On abusing a Brāhmaṇa the Kṣatriya should be fined one hundred; and the Vaiśya one hundred and fifty; or two hundred; the Śūdra however deserves immolation.—(267)
Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):
For the Śūdra ‘immolation,’—in the form of beating, cutting off the tongue, actual death, and so forth, to be adjusted in accordance, with the exact nature of the abuse.—(267)
If through arrogance, he teaches brāhmaṇas their duty, the king shall pour heated oil into his mouth and ears.—(272)
In a case of adultery, a non-Brāhmaṇa deserves the penalty ending in death; as the wives of all the four castes are always the most deserving of protection.—(359)
If a man of equal status violates an unwilling maiden, he deserves immediate death; but if he violates a willing one, he shall not suffer death.—(364)