MADRAS, India (AP) _ Magazine editor S. Balasubramanian was sentenced to three months hard labor Saturday for publishing a cartoon depicting government ministers as bandits and lawmakers as pickpockets, the United News of India reported.

He refused to apologize to enraged members of the Tamil Nadu State Assembly, who have powers to act as a court.

Police said Balasubramanian was arrested at his farmhouse near here on orders of the state legislature. The House leader and finance minister, V.R. Neaduchezhianj, said the cartoons in the Tamil-language weekly Ananda Vikatan were defamatory.

A sentence of hard labor in India means exhausting work over long hours.

''Only people with a troubled conscience will get angry, the editor said in a statement earlier, refusing to apologize. ''Others will simply laugh away the whole matter.''