The Penal Code, 1860 (Bangladesh)

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The Penal Code, 1860
(Act No. XLV of 1860).
Council of the Governor General
Jatiyo Sangshad
Territorial extentBangladesh
Enacted byBritish Indian Empire
People's Republic of Bangladesh
Enacted6 October 1860
Assented to6 October 1860
Commenced1 January 1862
Committee reportFirst Law Commission
Status: Amended

The Penal Code, 1860 is the main criminal code of Bangladesh. It is based on the penal code of the British Indian Empire enacted in 1860 by the Governor General-in-Council in the Bengal Presidency. It is similar to the penal codes of countries formerly part of the British Empire in South and Southeast Asia, including Singapore, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Malaysia.

The Parliament of Bangladesh has amended the penal code on several occasions, with the most recent being in 2004.

The code is a legacy of the Victorian era. While its objective is to provide a general penal code for Bangladesh,[1] other criminal law statutes have also been enacted by the Bangladeshi parliament.


The code was drafted on the recommendations of first law commission of British India. It was presented to the Governor of Bengal in 1837. While based on the law of Victorian England, it derived elements from the Napoleonic Code and Louisiana Civil Code of 1825. It was adopted on 6 October 1860.[2] When East Bengal became part of Pakistan after the Partition of British India, the code was known as the Pakistan Penal Code. The code was re-enacted in Bangladesh after the country's independence in 1971.


The following includes the chapters of the code.

  • Chapter I - Introduction
  • Chapter II - General Explanations
  • Chapter III - Punishments
  • Chapter IV - General Exceptions
  • Chapter V - Abetment
  • Chapter VA - Criminal Conspiracy
  • Chapter VI - Offences Against the State
  • Chapter VII - Offences relating to the Army, Navy or Air Force
  • Chapter VIII - Offences Against Public Tranquility
  • Chapter IX - Offences by or relating to Public Servants
  • Chapter IXA - Offences relating to Elections
  • Chapter X - Contempts of the Lawful Authority of Public Servants
  • Chapter XI - False Evidence and Offences Against Public Justice
  • Chapter XII - Offences relating to Coin and Government Stamps
  • Chapter XIII - Offences relating to Weights and Measures
  • Chapter XIV - Offences Affecting the Public Health, Safety, Convenience, Decency and Morals
  • Chapter XV - Offences relating to Religion
  • Chapter XVI - Offences affecting the Human Body
  • Chapter XVII - Offences against Property
  • Chapter XVIII - Offences relating to Documents and Trade or Property Marks
  • Chapter XIX - Criminal Breach of Contracts of Service
  • Chapter XX - Offences relating to Marriage
  • Chapter XXI - Defamation
  • Chapter XXII - Criminal Intimidation, Insult, Prejudicial Act and Annoyance
  • Chapter XXIII - Attempts to Commit Offences

Controversial issues[edit]


Sedition and seditious libel has been criticized as an outdated law. While the United Kingdom has phased out penalties for seditious libel, its continued presence in the Bangladeshi penal code has been used by the government to target to leading journalists and politicians.[3]

Section 377[edit]

Section 377 criminalizes homosexuality, which has been criticized by the LGBT rights movement.[4]

Capital punishment[edit]

Capital punishment remains legal in Bangladesh, although other common law countries like the United Kingdom and Canada have abolished the death penalty.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Penal Code, 1860 (Act No. XLV of 1860)". 1949-08-12. Retrieved 2017-07-10. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ "Bangladesh - The Penal Code (Act No. XLV of 1860)". 2013-01-17. Retrieved 2017-07-10.
  3. ^ M Qaium (2016-02-29). "Sedition is too old fashioned in a modern society". The Daily Star. Retrieved 2017-07-10.
  4. ^ "Where does Bangladesh stand on homosexuality issue?". 2016-04-27. Archived from the original on 2017-06-05. Retrieved 2017-07-10.
  5. ^ "The Death Penalty in Bangladesh". Retrieved 2017-07-10.