Right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion is a fundamental right under the constitution of Bangladesh

“Right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion is a fundamental right under the constitution of Bangladesh”.


Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. The freedom means doing something without any restriction and it will be accept by social rules and freedom of speech is commonly defined as ‘the right to express information, ideas, and opinions free of government restrictions based on content and subject’ this idea forms the basis of , that any person shall have the right to say what he or she feels without interference from government is one that pervades society.

To what extent and how the right to freedom of expression and speech can be restricted

It appears absolute freedom of speech is guaranteed by the constitution there are often questions raised as to how absolute this freedom of speech and expression can be. This battle forms over concepts and speech some would deem dangerous and or offensive. However, there are restrictions on free speech such as defamation and incitement to crime and violence. Throughout the world a battle rages to balance the right to free speech, as to what extent freedom of speech and expression should be unregulated.

Former associate justice of the Supreme Court Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr declares that he ‘felt that the Constitution allows some restrictions on speech under certain circumstances’ and that free speech was never absolute. The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic’ Holmes decreed ‘that the only limits to freedom of speech were words that activate immediate danger.’ This danger is one that became translated as a threat of clear and present danger. That is it was legitimate to restrict freedom of speech in the light of clear and present danger to the government or the nation. This result shows a clear answer of a section of speech which needs to be regulated. Anything which presents a clear and present danger to the government, anything which is likely to cause violence and disorder is something which successive governments and courts have ruled is something where absolute free speech does not apply. This shows to one extent where free speech cannot remain unregulated.

Defamation of character provides the means by which legal action can be taken in respect of statements which are unwelcome to the claimant, regardless of any public interest in those statements being made. This law exists to protect the character of the people. Defamation ensures that no deliberate lies can be told to damage the reputation of a person within society. This law is one that is relatively uncontested and uncontroversial areas of limitation of free speech. The biggest criticisms of the law often come of its application and accessibility rather than its very existence. This shows another area of free speech where free speech cannot be unregulated.

Hate speech is a new and developing area of the restriction of free speech, and one many wish to see restricted. The rise in this area of speech has caused much disconcertion and a constitutional scrutiny. Those seeking to get this area of free speech banned suggest that this area cannot remain unregulated because of the potential damage it could cause. The absolutist state that freedom of speech and expression must be defended no matter how offensive.

Article 39 of the Bangladesh Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, expression and the press but permits restrictions on certain grounds. Contempt of court is recognized explicitly as a ground for restricting free speech. Like all citizens in a democratic state, they have the right to free speech. Freedom of expression is not an absolute right but there is a presumption in its favour under international law.

We can see that free speech cannot remain completely unregulated, there are elements that must be protected to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the state as well as the person.

Different aspects of the right

Article 39 of the Constitution is the most important Article for this study as it provides provision for press freedoms:

39 (1) Freedom of thought and conscience is guaranteed.

(2) Subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the society 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-

(a) The right of every citizen to freedom of speech and expression

(b) Freedom of the press is guaranteed.

Article 39 clearly states that freedom of thought and conscience is unlimited, but other freedoms such as speech and expression and freedom of the press are not without restrictions. The restrictions referred to in Article 39 assume action only by law. Without legislative authority, the executive cannot place any restriction or limitations on these freedoms. To impose a restriction, the legislature must make a law only for that purpose. While a citizen may exercise such rights in normal situations, extenuating circumstances may create compelling reasons to depart from the normal functions of the state.

Right of Freedom

“Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought” In the Bangladesh constitution there is many rules about freedom of right such as:

(1) The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race caste, sex or place of birth.

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

(3) 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.

(4) Every people have right to choose his leader and any leader cannot force to choose him/her.

(5) Every people have right to know the government and government have to show their performance on the people.

Freedom of religion

Freedom of religion is very important part of freedom of right but we know most of the people of our country do not get their freedom of religion but in our constitution there are some rules about freedom of religion .The rules of Bangladesh constitution are:

1. Every citizen has the right to profess, practice or propagate any religion.

2. Every religious community or denomination has the right to establish, maintain and manage its religious institutions.

3. 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.

4. Every people can learn other religion and all people have to some respect of the other religion.

5. Freedom of religion for any religious group in the country.

Freedom of information & legislation:

Freedom of information legislation is rules that guarantee the access by general people to the data which are held by the Government. They establish a “right-to-know” legal process which allows the general public to request for the Government-held information which can be received freely or at a minimal cost except some standard exceptions. Also variously referred to as open records which mean that governments are typically bound to publish and promote openness of information. There are constitutional guarantees in many countries for the right of the people to access to information, but usually remains unused if specific support legislation is not there.

One important feature of freedom of information laws is that it excludes the private sector from practicing this rule. This means that people normally do not have any legal access to the information of the private sector. This limitation is very important because now the private sectors have many functions which were under the public sector previously. So now the private sector has a lot of information which cannot be forced legally to publish. Many countries are working to introduce such laws and many countries with regions have such laws. For example, all states of the United States have laws governing access to public documents of state and local taxing entities, in addition to that country’s Freedom of Information Act which governs records management of documents in the possession of the federal government.

The Right to Religion Belief & quality:

The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion is one of the most important factors in the Western human rights ideology and also in the democratic societies. Both international and European rights instruments give great attention to this factor. The right of not to be discriminated in terms of religious ground is also strictly grounded in these and other authoritative instruments.

However, the right of enjoying freedom in terms of thought conscience and religion can be violated in various ways. Sometimes some comments can be made to under estimate any religion or any sacred place. Comments can be made to make incitement of hatred as well. These types of offences are divided into two categories in the UK. One is criminal and the other is civil. Some of the criminal offences are dealt by report of the House of Lords Select Committee on Religious Offences. In our constitution have some rules about freedom of religion but it is only written materials if we look the real situation than look that every people have no

Freedom of Movement

Article 36 provides that subject to reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the public interest, every person has the right to move freely throughout Bangladesh, to reside and settle in any place in Bangladesh and to leave and re-enter Bangladesh. Freedom of Assembly: Article 37 provides that every citizen shall have the right to assemble and participate in public meetings and processions peacefully and without arms. This right can be restricted only by a law imposed in the interest of the public order or public health. Freedom of Association: Article 38 secures the freedom of association of citizens upon which the very existence of democracy is dependent. Right to form associations or unions is guaranteed subject to any reasonable.

Freedom of speech and constitution:

Every constitution has some human basic rules that important of freedom of right and freedom of religion. For human being human right is very important and people get their freedom by human right and make something or build something by their own judgment. The Constitution consists mainly of provisions relating to the structure of the Commonwealth Parliament, executive government and the federal judicial system. There is no list of personal rights or freedoms which may be enforced in the courts. There are however some provisions relating to personal rights such as the right to trial by jury, and the right to freedom of religion.

Since 1992 decisions of the High Court have indicated that there are implied rights to free speech and communication on matters concerning politics and government, e.g. permitting political advertising during election campaigns. This is known as the ‘implied freedom of political communication’. Issues arising from these decisions include defining when communication is ‘political’ and when the freedom should prevail over competing public interests.

In 1942 a Constitutional Convention held in Canberra recommended that the Constitution be amended to include a new section 116A preventing the Commonwealth or a State passing laws which curtailed freedom of speech or of the press. The government did not accept this proposal and it was not included in the referendum on 19 August 1944, when other constitutional amendments were proposed. In our constitution have some rules about freedom of speech but it is only written materials if we look the real situation than look that every people have no right to freedom of speech.

The right to freedom of expression and opinions

The right to freedom of expression upholds the rights of all to express their views and opinions freely.[9] It is essentially a right which should be promoted to the maximum extent possible given its critical role in democracy and public participation in political life. There may be certain extreme forms of expression which need to be curtailed for the protection of other human rights.


Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have a religion or whatever belief of their choice and freedom either individually or in community with others, and in private or public to manifest their religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.

But In our country most of the people cannot get their freedom in any sector like in job sector the people get their job by corruption and in our civil society those people are Hindu they cannot apply the Army sector of job but in our constitution says that every people have Bangladesh have same right to apply their position. Now we have to create our belief, we have created our responsibility, we have to create our confidence, we have to create our nation and create our society that gives our freedom. People and government can improve our freedom and rural people of our country those are not care about the freedom we have to build freedom of knowledge of rural people because most of the people are live in rural Area in Bangladesh. Now at the end I can say that freedom is our properties and we have to build our properties by our responsibility


1. http://www.ippf.org/en/Resources/Statements/The+Right+to+Freedom+of+ Thought.htm

2. http://www.forum18.org/PDF/freedomofreligion.pdf

3. http://www.parliament.gov.bd/Constitution_English/part3.htm

4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_religion

5. http://www.everystudent.com/features/connecting.html

6. http://www.legalserviceindia.com/articles/rel_rel.htm

7. http://www.article19.org/pdfs/standards/righttoknow.pdf

8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_information_legislation

9. Right_to_freedom_of_religion.html.

10. http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=152087

11. Mirriam Webster Dictionary of law, freedom of speech, http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/freedom of speech

12. WikiQuotes, Voltaire, http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Voltaire

13. http://jackofkent.blogspot.com/2010/12/libel-reform-part-1-purpose-of.html

14. http://www.lawyersnjurists.com

15. http://www.lawcommissionbangladesh.org/reports/62.pdf