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Constitution of Bangladesh (1972, reinst. 1986, rev. 2011)

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3Preamble

4We, the people of Bangladesh, having proclaimed our independence on the 26th day of March, 1971 and through a historic struggle for national liberation, established the independent, sovereign People's Republic of Bangladesh;

5Pledging that the high ideals of nationalism, socialism, democracy and secularism, which inspired our heroic people to dedicate themselves to, and our brave martyrs to sacrifice their lives in, the national liberation struggle, shall be the fundamental principles of the Constitution;

6Further pledging that it shall be a fundamental aim of the State to realise through the democratic process to socialist society, free from exploitation-a society in which the rule of law, fundamental human rights and freedom, equality and justice, political, economic and social, will be secured for all citizens;

7Affirming that it is our sacred duty to safeguard, protect and defend this Constitution and to maintain its supremacy as the embodiment of the will of the people of Bangladesh so that we may prosper in freedom and may make our full contribution towards international peace and cooperation in keeping with the progressive aspirations of mankind;

8In our Constituent Assembly, this eighteenth day of Kartick, 1379 B.S corresponding to the fourth day of November, 1972 A.D., do hereby adopt, enact and give to ourselves this Constitution.

9PART I. THE REPUBLIC

101. The Republic

11Bangladesh is a unitary, independent, sovereign Republic to be known as the People's Republic of Bangladesh.

122. The territory of the Republic

13The territory of the Republic shall comprise-

14 1.The territories which immediately before the proclamation of independence on the 26th day of March, 1971 constituted East Pakistan and the territories referred to as included territories in the Constitution (Third Amendment) Act, 1974, but excluding the territories referred to as excluded territories in that Act; and

15 2.such other territories as may become included in Bangladesh.

162A. The state religion

17The state religion of the Republic is Islam, but the State shall ensure equal status and equal right in the practice of the Hindu, Buddhist, Christian and other religions.

183. The state language

19The state language of the Republic is Bangla.

204. National anthem, flag and emblem

211. The national anthem of the Republic is the first ten lines of "Amar Sonar Bangla."

222. The national flag of the Republic shall consist of a circle, coloured red throughout its area, resting on a green background.

233. The national emblem of the Republic is the national flower Shapla (nymphaea-nouchali) resting on water, having on each side an ear of paddy and being surmounted by three connected leaves of jute with two stars on each side of the leaves.

244. Subject to the foregoing clauses, provisions relating to the national anthem, flag and emblem shall be made by law.

254A. Portrait of the Father of the Nation

26The Portrait of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman shall be preserved and displayed at the offices of the President, the Prime Minister, the Speaker and the Chief Justice and in head and branch offices of all government and semi-government offices, autonomous bodies, statutory public authorities, government and non-government educational institutions, embassies and missions of Bangladesh abroad.

275. The capital

281. The capital of the Republic is Dhaka.

292. The boundaries of the capital shall be determined by law.

306. Citizenship

311. The citizenship of Bangladesh shall be determined and regulated by law.

322. The people of Bangladesh shall be known as Bangalees as a nation and the citizens of Bangladesh shall be known as Bangladeshies.

337. Supremacy of the Constitution

341. All powers in the Republic belong to the people, and their exercise on behalf of the people shall be effected only under, and by the authority of, this Constitution.

352. This Constitution is, as the solemn expression of the will of the people, the supreme law of the Republic, and if any other law is inconsistent with this Constitution and other law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.

367A. Offence of abrogation, suspension, etc. of the Constitution

371. If any person, by show of force or use of force or by any other un-constitutional means-

38 a.abrogates, repeals or suspends or attempts or conspires to abrogate, repeal or suspend this Constitution or any of its article; or

39 b.subverts or attempts or conspires to subvert the confidence, belief or reliance of the citizens to this Constitution or any of this article,

40his such act shall be sedition and such person shall be guilty of sedition.

412. If any person-

42 a.abets or instigates any act mentioned in clause (1); or

43 b.approves, condones, supports or ratifies such act,

44his such act shall also be the same offence.

453. Any person alleged to have committed the offence mentioned in this article shall be sentenced with the highest punishment prescribed for other offences by the existing laws.

467B. Basic provisions of the Constitution are not amendable

47Notwithstanding anything contained in article 142 of the Constitution, the preamble, all articles of Part I, all articles of Part II, subject to the provisions of Part IXA all articles of Part III, and the provisions of articles relating to the basic structures of the Constitution including article 150 of Part XI shall not be amendable by way of insertion, modification, substitution, repeal or by any other means.

48PART II. FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF STATE POLICY

498. Fundamental principles

501. The principles of nationalism, socialism, democracy and secularism, together with the principles derived from those as set out in this Part, shall constitute the fundamental principles of state policy.

512. The principles set out in this Part shall be fundamental to the governance of Bangladesh, shall be applied by the State in the making of laws, shall be a guide to the interpretation of the Constitution and of the other laws of Bangladesh, and shall form the basis of the work of the State and of its citizens, but shall not be judicially enforceable.

529. Nationalism

53The unity and solidarity of the Bangalee nation, which, deriving its identity from its language and culture, attained sovereign and independent Bangladesh through a united and determined struggle in the war of independence, shall be the basis of Bangalee nationalism.

5410. Socialism and freedom from exploitation

55A socialist economic system shall be established with a view to ensuring the attainment of a just and egalitarian society, free from the exploitation of man by man.

5611. Democracy and human rights

57The Republic shall be a democracy in which fundamental human rights and freedoms and respect for the dignity and worth of the human person shall be guaranteed and in which effective participation by the people through their elected representatives in administration at all levels shall be ensured.

5812. Secularism and freedom of religion

59The principle of secularism shall be realised by the elimination of-

60 a.communalism in all its forms;

61 b.the granting by the State of political status in favour of any religion;

62 c.the abuse of religion for political purposes;

63 d.any discrimination against, or persecution of, persons practicing a particular religion.

6413. Principles of ownership

65The people shall own or control the instruments and means of production and distribution, and with this end in view ownership shall assume the following forms-

66 a.state ownership, that is ownership by the State on behalf of the people through the creation of an efficient and dynamic nationalised public sector embracing the key sectors of the economy;

67 b.co-operative ownership, that is ownership by co-operatives on behalf of their members within such limits as may be prescribed by law; and

68 c.private ownership, that is ownership by individuals within such limits as may be prescribed by law.

6914. Emancipation of peasants and workers

70It shall be a fundamental responsibility of the State to emancipate the toiling masses, the peasants and workers and backward sections of the people from all forms of exploitation.

7115. Provision of basic necessities

72It shall be a fundamental responsibility of the State to attain, through planned economic growth, a constant increase of productive forces and a steady improvement in the material and cultural standard of living of the people, with a view to securing to its citizens-

73 a.the provision of the basic necessities of life, including food, clothing, shelter, education and medical care;

74 b.the right to work, that is the right to guaranteed employment at a reasonable wage having regard to the quantity and quality of work;

75 c.the right to reasonable rest, recreation and leisure; and

76 d.the right to social security, that is to say to public assistance in cases of undeserved want arising from unemployment, illness or disablement, or suffered by widows or orphans or in old age, or in other such cases.

7716. Rural development and agricultural revolution

78The State shall adopt effective measures to bring about a radical transformation in the rural areas through the promotion of an agricultural revolution, the provision of rural electrification, the development of cottage and other industries, and the improvement of education, communications and public health, in those areas, so as progressively to remove the disparity in the standards of living between the urban and the rules areas.

7917. Free and compulsory education

80The State shall adopt effective measures for the purpose of-

81 a.establishing a uniform, mass-oriented and universal system of education and extending free and compulsory education to all children to such stage as may be determined by law;

82 b.relating education to the needs of society and producing properly trained and motivated citizens to serve those needs;

83 c.removing illiteracy within such time as may be determined by law.

8418. Public health and morality

851. The State shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the improvement of public health as moving its primary duties, and in particular shall adopt effective measures to prevent the consumption, except for medical purposes or for such other purposes as may be prescribed by law, of alcoholic and other intoxicating drinks and drugs which are injurious to health.

862. The State shall adopt effective measures to prevent prostitution and gambling.

8718A. Protection and improvement of environment and biodiversity

88The State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to preserve and safeguard the natural resources, bio-diversity, wetlands, forests and wild life for the present and future citizens.

8919. Equality of opportunity

901. The State shall endeavour to ensure equality of opportunity to all citizens.

912. The State shall adopt effective measures to remove social and economic inequality between man and man and to ensure the equitable distribution of wealth among citizens, and of opportunities in order to attain a uniform level of economic development throughout the Republic.

923. The State shall endeavour to ensure equality of opportunity and participation of women in all spheres of national life.

9320. Work as a right and duty

941. Work is a right, a duty and a matter of honour for every citizen who is capable of working, and everyone shall be paid for his work on the basis of the principle "from each according to his abilities to each according to his work."

952. The State shall endeavour to create conditions in which, as a general principle, persons shall not be able to enjoy unearned incomes, and in which human labour in every form, intellectual and physical, shall become a fuller expression of creative endeavour and of the human personality.

9621. Duties of citizens and of public servants

971. It is the duty of every citizen to observe the Constitution and the laws, to maintain discipline, to perform public duties and to protect public property.

982. Every person in the service of the Republic has a duty to strive at all times to serve the people.

9922. Separation of Judiciary from the Executive

100The State shall ensure the separation of the judiciary from the executive organs of the State.

10123. National Culture

102The State shall adopt measures to conserve the cultural traditions and heritage of the people, and so to foster and improve the national language, literature and the arts that all sections of the people are afforded the opportunity to contribute towards and to participate in the enrichment of the national culture.

10323A. The culture of tribes, minor races, ethnic sects and communities

104The State shall take steps to protect and develop the unique local culture and tradition of the tribes, minor races, ethnic sects and communities.

10524. National monuments, etc.

106The State shall adopt measures for the protection against disfigurement, damage or removal of all monuments, objects or places of special artistic or historic importance or interest.

10725. Promotion of international peace, security and solidarity

108The State shall base its international relations on the principles of respect for national sovereignty and equality, non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, peaceful settlement of international disputes, and respect for international law and the principles enunciated in the United Nations Charter, and on the basis of those principles shall-

109 a.strive for the renunciation of the use of force in international relations and for general and complete disarmament;

110 b.uphold the right of every people freely to determine and build up its own social, economic and political system by ways and means of its own free choice; and

111 c.support oppressed peoples throughout the world waging a just struggle against imperialism, colonialism or racialism.

112PART III. FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS

11326. Laws inconsistent with fundamental rights to be void

1141. All existing law inconsistent with the provisions of this Part shall, to the extent of such inconsistency, become void on the commencement of this Constitution.

1152. The State shall not make any law inconsistent with any provisions of this Part, and any law so made shall, to the extent of such inconsistency, be void.

1163. Nothing in this article shall apply to any amendment of this Constitution made under article 142.

11727. Equality before law

118All citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law.

11928. Discrimination on grounds of religion, etc.

1201. The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on ground only of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.

1212. Women shall have equal rights with men in all spheres of the State and of public life.

1223. No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth be subjected to any disability, liability, restriction or condition with regard to access to any place of public entertainment or resort, or admission to any educational institution.

1234. Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making special provision in favour of women or children or for the advancement of any backward section of citizens.

12429. Equality of opportunity in public employment

1251. There shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in respect of employment or office in the service of the Republic.

1262. No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, be ineligible for, or discriminated against in respect of, any employment or office in the service of the Republic.

1273. Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from-

128 a.making special provision in favour of any backward section of citizens for the purpose of securing their adequate representation in the service of the Republic;

129 b.giving effect to any law which makes provision for reserving appointments relating to any religious or denominational institution to persons of that religion or denomination;

130 c.reserving for members of one sex any class of employment or office on the ground that it is considered by its nature to be unsuited to members of the opposite sex.

13130. Prohibition of foreign titles, etc.

132No citizen shall, without the prior approval of the President, accept any title, honour, award or decoration from any foreign state.

13331. Right to protection of law

134To enjoy the protection of the law, and to be treated in accordance with law, and only in accordance with law, is the inalienable right of every citizen, wherever he may be, and of every other person for the time being within Bangladesh, and in particular no action detrimental to the life, liberty, body, reputation or property of any person shall be taken except in accordance with law.

13532. Protection of right to life and personal liberty

136No person shall be deprived of life or personal liberty save in accordance with law.

13733. Safeguards as to arrest and detention

1381. No person who is arrested shall be detained in custody without being informed, as soon as may be of the grounds for such arrest, nor shall he be denied the right to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice.

1392. Every person who is arrested and detained in custody shall be produced before the nearest magistrate within a period of twenty four hours of such arrest, excluding the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the court of the magistrate, and no such person shall be detained in custody beyond the said period without the authority of a magistrate.

1403. Nothing in clauses (1) and (2) shall apply to any person-

141 a.who for the time being is an enemy alien; or

142 b.who is arrested or detained under any law providing for preventive detention.

1434. No law providing for preventive detention shall authorise the detention of a person for a period exceeding six months unless an Advisory Board consisting of three persons, of whom two shall be persons who are, or have been, or are qualified to be appointed as, Judges of the Supreme Court and the other shall be a person who is a senior officer in the service of the Republic, has, after affording him an opportunity of being heard in person, reported before the expiration of the said period of six months that there is, in its opinion, sufficient cause for such detention.

1445. When any person is detained in pursuance of an order made under any law providing for preventive detention, the authority making the order shall, as soon as may be, communicate to such person the grounds on which the order has been made, and shall afford him the earliest opportunity of making a representation against the order:

145Provided that the authority making any such order may refuse to disclose facts which such authority considers to be against the public interest to disclose.

1466. Parliament may be law prescribe the procedure to be followed by an Advisory Board in an inquiry under clause.

14734. Prohibition of forced labour

1481. All forms of forced labour are prohibited and any contravention of this provision shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.

1492. Nothing in this article shall apply to compulsory labour-

150 a.by persons undergoing lawful punishment for a criminal offence; or

151 b.required by any law for public purpose.

15235. Protection in respect of trial and punishment

1531. No person shall be convicted of any offence except for violation of a law in force at the time of the commission of the act charged as an offence, nor be subjected to a penalty greater than, or different from that which might have been inflicted under the law in force at the time of the commission of the offence.

1542. No person shall be prosecuted and punished for the same offence more than once.

1553. Every person accused of a criminal offence shall have the right to a speedy and public trial by an independent and impartial court or tribunal established by law.

1564. No person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.

1575. No person shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment or treatment.

1586. Nothing in clause (3) or clause (5) shall affect the operation of any existing law which prescribes any punishment or procedure for trial.

15936. Freedom of movement

160Subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the public interest, every citizen shall have the right to move freely throughout Bangladesh, to reside and settle in any place therein and to leave and re-enter Bangladesh.

16137. Freedom of assembly

162Every citizen shall have the right to assemble and to participate in public meetings and processions peacefully and without arms, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interests of public order health.

16338. Freedom of association

164Every citizen shall have the right to form associations or unions, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interests of morality or public order:

165Provided that no person shall have the right to form, or be a member of the said association or union, if-

166 a.it is formed for the purposes of destroying the religious, social and communal harmony among the citizens;

167 b.it is formed for the purposes of creating discrimination among the citizens, on the ground of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or language;

168 c.it is formed for the purposes of organizing terrorist acts or militant activities against the State or the citizens or any other country;

169 d.its formation and objects are inconsistent with the Constitution.

17039. Freedom of thought and conscience, and of speech

1711. Freedom of thought and conscience is guaranteed.

1722. Subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interests of the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence-

173 a.the right of every citizen of freedom of speech and expression; and

174 b.freedom of the press

175are guaranteed.

17640. Freedom of profession or occupation

177Subject to any restrictions imposed by law, every citizen possessing such qualifications, if any, as may be prescribed by law in relation to his profession, occupation, trade or business shall have the right to enter upon any lawful profession or occupation, and to conduct any lawful trade or business.

17841. Freedom of religion

1791. Subject to law, public order and morality-

180 a.every citizen has the right to profess, practice or propagate any religion;

181 b.every religious community or denomination has the right to establish, maintain and manage its religious institutions.

1822. No person attending any educational institution shall be required to receive religious instruction, or to take part in or to attend any religious ceremony or worship, if that instruction, ceremony or worship relates to a religion other than his own.

18342. Rights to property

1841. Subject to any restrictions imposed by law, every citizen shall have the right to acquire, hold, transfer or otherwise dispose of property, and no property shall be compulsorily acquired, nationalized or requisitioned save by authority of law.

1852. A law made under clause (1) of this article shall provide for the acquisition, nationalisation or requisition with compensation and shall fix the amount of compensation or specify the principles on which, and the manner in which, the compensation is to be assessed and paid ; but no such law shall be called in question in any court on the ground that any provision of the law in respect of such compensation is not adequate.

18643. Protection of home and correspondence

187Every citizen shall have the right, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interests of the security of the State, public order, public morality or public health-

188 1.to be secured in his home against entry, search and seizure; and

189 2.to the privacy of his correspondence and other means of communication.

19044. Enforcement of fundamental rights

1911. The right to move the High Court Division in accordance with clause (1) of article 102, for the enforcement of the rights conferred by this Part is guaranteed.

1922. Without prejudice to the powers of the High Court Division under article 102, Parliament may by law empower any other court, within the local limits of its jurisdiction, to exercise all or any of those powers.

19345. Modification of rights in respect of disciplinary law

194Nothing in this Part shall apply to any provision of a disciplinary law relating to members of a disciplined force, being a provision limited to the purpose of ensuring the proper discharge of their duties or the maintenance of discipline in that force.

19546. Power to provide indemnity

196Notwithstanding anything in the foregoing provisions of this Part, Parliament may by law make provision for indemnifying any person in the service of the Republic or any other person in respect of any act done by him in connection with the national liberation struggle or the maintenance or restoration of other in any area in Bangladesh or validate any sentence passed, punishment inflicted, forfeiture ordered, or other act done in any such area.

19747. Saving for certain laws

1981. No law providing for any of the following matters shall be deemed to be void on the ground that it is inconsistent with, or takes away or abridge, any of the rights guaranteed by this Part-

199 a.the compulsory acquisition, nationalisation or requisition of any property, or the control or management thereof whether temporarily or permanently;

200 b.the compulsory amalgamation of bodies carrying on commercial or other undertakings;

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