What is Crime?
Crime is the intentional commission of an act usually deemed socially harmful or dangerous and specifically defined, prohibited, and punishable under criminal law.
In other words, a crime is an illegal act or omission prohibited by law and for which a person can be punished by law.
Example: When a person steals something or commits murder, this is an example of crime.
What is Criminal Law?
Criminal Law means the laws relating to the prevention and detection of crimes, the trial of offenders, and the level of punishment awarded to criminals when the charges brought against them are proved beyond all reasonable doubt in a duly constituted court of law.
In other words, criminal law refers to a body of laws that apply to criminal acts. It defines criminal offenses, regulates the apprehension, charging, and trial of suspected persons, and fixes penalties and modes of treatment applicable to convicted offenders. Most criminal law is established by statute, which is to say that the laws are enacted by a legislature. Criminal law includes the punishment and rehabilitation of people who violate such laws.
In instances where an individual fails to adhere to a particular criminal statute, he or she commits a criminal act by breaking the law. This body of laws is different from civil law because criminal law penalties involve the forfeiture of one’s rights and imprisonment. Conversely, civil laws relate to the resolution of legal controversies and involve money damages.
Types of Criminal Law:-
There are two main types of Criminal Law. These types are felony and misdemeanor.
1. Felony: Felony, within common-law countries, is a severe criminal offense. These crimes are punishable by death or imprisonment for one year or more depending upon the particular nature of the offense. Some examples of felonies include murder, manslaughter, dealing drugs, rape, robbery, arson, burglary, battery, aggravated assault, tax evasion, fraud, kidnapping, blackmail, forgery, obstruction of justice, treason, and more.
2.Misdemeanor: A misdemeanor is an offense that is considered a lower-level criminal offense, such as minor assaults, traffic offenses, or petty theft. The penalty for the misdemeanor crime is typically less than one year. Misdemeanor offenses include public intoxication, reckless driving, disorderly conduct, vandalism, trespassing, and more.
Purpose of criminal law:-
The fundamental purpose of criminal law and criminal justice system is to control crime, punish the offenders, prevent crimes, protect innocents, and to maintain a fair degree of cohesion and stability in society. While criminal law is broadly seen as a tool of social control, the criminal justice system is an institutional framework to enforce criminal laws. In general, criminal law refers to the following points: substantive norms for defining crime as well as prescribing punishment for offenses; general principles upon which norms and practices of criminal law develop; rules of evidence and procedures through which criminal laws are applied.
Criminal laws of Bangladesh:-
The main criminal laws of Bangladesh are listed below:
1. The Penal Code, 1860;
2. The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898;
3. The Cattle Trespass Act, 1871;
4. The Explosive Substances Act, 1908;
5. The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947;
6. The Anti-Corruption Act, 1957;
7. The Special Powers Act, 1947;
8. The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1980;
9. The Narcotics (Control) Act,2018;
10.The Women and Children Oppression Act, 1995;
11. The Anti-Terrorism Act, 2013;
12.The Arms Act, 1878;
13. Digital Security Act, 2018 and many more.
Examples of Criminal Cases:-
The following are some examples of criminal cases:
1. Murder case & other Sessions cases;
2. Other sections of Penal Code cases;
3. Special Tribunal cases;
4. Acid Offences cases ;
5. Nari o Shishu Ain Offences cases;
6. Anti- Terrorism Act offenses cases;
7. Speedy Trial Act cases;
8. Electrification Board Cases etc. and many more
Classes of Criminal Courts in Bangladesh:-
Section 6 of The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 states as follows:
(1) Besides the Supreme Court and the Courts constituted under any law for the time being in force, other than this Code, there shall be two classes of Criminal Courts in Bangladesh, namely:-
(a) Courts of Sessions; and
(b) Courts of Magistrates.
(2) There shall be two classes of Magistrate, namely: –
(a) Judicial Magistrate; and
(b) Executive Magistrate.
(3) There shall be four classes of judicial Magistrate, namely: –
(a) Chief Metropolitan Magistrate in Metropolitan Area and Chief judicial Magistrate to other areas;
(b) Magistrate of the first class, who shall in Metropolitan area, be known as Metropolitan Magistrate;
(c) Magistrate of the second class; and
(d) Magistrate of the third class.
History of the Criminal laws of Bangladesh:-
The Indian Penal Code (Act XLV of 1860) and The Criminal Procedure Code (Act XXV of 1861), these two Codes laid the foundation of criminal law in British India. After 1947, the title of the Indian Penal Code was changed to that of the Pakistan Penal Code. Similarly, after 1971, the Pakistan Penal Code came to be known as the Bangladesh Penal Code. Except for the changes in the title the Penal Code more or less remained an immutable document with only minor modifications.
The same can be said of the Code of Criminal Procedure. It was framed to supplement the Penal Code which provides the substantive criminal law. The legal experts make a distinction between the Codes. The Code of Criminal Procedure is defined as an adjective or procedural law while the Penal Code is defined as substantive law. This distinction is valid for academic and operational purposes.
Two main criminal laws of Bangladesh:-
The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, and the Penal Code, 1860 are two main criminal laws of Bangladesh.
(1) The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898: The Code of Criminal Procedure provides rules or procedures for
(i) preventing offenses, and
(ii) bringing the offenders to justice for committing offenses defined in the Penal Code or any special or local laws if no procedure is provided in such laws.
It also specifies the classes of courts and their jurisdiction in which offenders may be prosecuted. It prescribes the procedures which are to be followed by various courts in an inquiry, trial, or any other proceedings.
It would, however, be correct to say that the Code of Criminal Procedure contains certain provisions which are in the nature of substantive law, such as aid and information to the magistrates, the police and persons making arrests, processes to compel the production of documents and other movable property and the discovery of persons wrongfully confined, preventive action of the police, the maintenance of wives and children, directions in the nature of Habeas Corpus and disposal of property.
(2) The Penal Code, 1860: The Penal Code, on the other hand, is concerned with defining the nature of an offense and if proved in a duly constituted court of law, the punishment that it entails. This is the broad distinction between the adjective law and the substantive law.
Outside the scope of the Penal Code, there are special and local laws that come within the purview of criminal law. The special laws deal with special types of offenses which though envisaged in the Penal Code, do not guarantee adequate punishment or a speedy trial. Instances include anti-corruption laws, laws to protect women from torture or attack, etc. Local laws relate primarily to municipal laws that seek to ensure the prevention of civic offenses.
Criminal justice system refers to the institutional aspect which conjures up the broad spectrum of a set of legal institutions, which include judiciary, police, prosecutors, defense lawyers, and prison authorities as well as a host of other support institutions and functions such as investigation, forensics, surveillance and so on. Effective application of criminal law is fundamentally connected to the efficiency of the administrative system of these legal institutions.
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