One of the primary assumptions of all legal systems is that citizens ought to have access to laws. Publication of laws in the Bangladesh Gazette, Extraordinary is the first step to make available to people that a particular law has been enacted. Further, Section 6 of the Bangladesh Laws (Revision and Declaration) Act 1973 (Act No. VIII of 1973) provides that “All Acts of Parliament, Ordinances and President’s Order in force in Bangladesh shall be printed in chronological order under the name and style of the Bangladesh Code”.
The Bangladesh Code therefore, seeks to present in handy volumes, the amended, adapted and authentic version of all enacted laws in force in Bangladesh. These laws include enactments that have been inherited from the past dating back from 1799 onward promulgated by various authorities according to competence under the Constitution in force at the relevant time.
Scarcity of legal publications to give correct and updated text of the laws in force in Bangladesh has made it extremely difficult for the judges, lawyers and others concerned not only to ascertain the current position of existing laws that have undergone extensive changes, but also to keep track of the flow of new laws which are being continuously enacted. The need for a correct version of the statutes currently in force in a convenient form may be over-emphasized. Publication of the Bangladesh Code is designed to meet this necessity.
The Bangladesh Code published in 2007 consisted of 38 volumes. The current publication of the Bangladesh Code is presented in 42 volumes, which includes updating and codifying of laws from 1799 to 30th June 2014.
According to the Allocation of Business among different Ministries and Division (Schedule I of the Rules of Business, 1996), the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs is solely responsible for carrying out codification, consolidation, adaptation, publication and technical amendment of laws. But due to lack of proper institutional support and manpower such updating, codifying and publishing work had not been proceeded which caused huge backlog. To overcome the situation, Mr. A.K Mohammad Hossain, a former Joint Secretary (Drafting) of the Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Division has done a tremendous job as a consultant for codification of updated version of the Bangladesh Code. Mr. Mohammad Delowar Hossain, Printing officer (Assistant Secretary) of the Ministry worked hard for the updating work. Officers of the Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Division, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, particularly senior, midlevel and junior officers undertook the work as a challenging one and demonstrated outstanding performance in reviewing the manuscripts.
As a result of updating task, Bangladesh Code published earlier in 2007 in 38 volumes has been relocated which is now comprising of 42 volumes. The enactments included in the Bangladesh Code have been arranged in a chronological order and footnotes have been added to indicate amendments made therein by subsequent legislation. In order to reduce the number of footnotes, general footnotes have been used wherever appropriate. Similarly, amendments before the year 1972 have not been indicated in the footnotes, except in the event of addition or insertion of new section, sub-section, clause and sub-clause.
I am thankful to the above-mentioned consultant and officers for their efforts of codifying and updating all laws and making it ready for printing. I would also like to place on record my warm appreciation to UNDP, Bangladesh office for their support they have rendered through ‘Promoting Access to Justice and Human Rights in Bangladesh Project’ in connection with preparing and printing the Bangladesh Code.
In the current volume of the Bangladesh Code, Act No. XXIII of 1980 to Ordinance No. V of 1982 have been printed, which are up to date as of 30th June, 2014. A chronological table has been affixed with reference to the short titles of the enactments of the period covered by this volume.
Even after completion of cautious proof reading, the possibility of inadvertent or printing error may not be eliminated. Intimation of any error in the new publication of the Bangladesh code, will be highly appreciated and attended to.