Law of Bangladesh

Basic information

  • Constitution of Bangladesh

The Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh was adopted on 4 November 1972 and has been in force since 16 December 1972. Its draft was prepared by Kamal Hossain, the chairman of the constitutional committee of the then Constituent Assembly (the interim parliament of Bangladesh). The author of the draft constitution was 35 years old at the time (he was probably the youngest author of such an important piece of legislation in history).

The document provides a framework for the functioning of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh as a parliamentary republic (restored under the Twelfth Amendment of 1991 after the relevant provisions were removed in 1975), with guaranteed fundamental human rights and freedoms, an independent judiciary, democratic local government and national administration. The Constitution ensures fundamental human rights, including freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of movement, freedom of assembly, right to education and public health care, among others. Amending the constitution requires a two-thirds vote in parliament. It commits Bangladesh to “contribute to international peace and cooperation in accordance with the progressive aspirations of humanity”. The constitution contains some controversial provisions (Article 70, providing for the loss of the seat of an MP who votes contrary to the decision of the party to which he or she belongs).

The Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh has been amended seventeen times so far (latest amendment in 2018). As a result of numerous amendments, today’s nature of the Constitution of Bangladesh is very different from the original 1972 document.

The law of precedents is enshrined in the Constitution in Article 111, making Bangladesh an integral part of the common law world. The document also introduces rules on judicial review.

The Constitution in Article 65 guarantees 50 seats for women (out of 350 parliamentary seats) in the National Assembly.

History of constitutional law in Bangladesh [ENG].
Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh [ENG].

  • The Code of Bangladesh

The Code of Bangladesh was first published between 1977 and 1988 in 11 volumes and contained legislation from 1836 to 1938.

The current publication of the Bangladesh Code contains all the existing Acts of Parliament, Presidential Ordinances and Orders in force in Bangladesh (with the exception of Ordinances and Amendment Only Acts) – all published in 38 volumes and an index in chronological and alphabetical order published separately.

The Code now includes earlier codified laws that are updated and carried forward in Volumes 1 to 8 and partly in Volume 9, and codified laws from 1939 to 2006 in Volumes 9 to 38.

These documents include acts inherited from the past, starting from 1836, promulgated by various authorities in accordance with the constitution in force at the time. With the introduction of the Bangla Vasha Procholon Ain, 1987 (a law mandating that all documents should be published in the national language), all laws enacted in Bangla have been presented in volumes 27 to 38.

  • Laws enacted in English: volumes 1 to 26 (from 1836 to 1986)
  • Laws enacted in Bangla: volumes 27 to 38 (from 1987 to 2007)

Bangladesh Code [ENG].