Regional Campaign Against Corporal Punishment

SAIEVAC Secretariat - An Apex body of SAARC


Where Corporal punishment is permitted?


“Nothing which is done in good faith for the benefit of a person under twelve years of age, or of unsound mind by or by consent, either express or implied, of the guardian or other person having lawful charge of that person, is an offence by reason of any harm which it may cause, or be intended by the doer to cause or be known by the doer to be likely to cause to that person …” Article 89 of the Penal Code (1860)

Provisions against violence and abuse in the Penal Code such as the Children Act (1974) and the Domestic Violence Act (2010) are not interpreted as prohibiting corporal punishment in rearing a child.



According to a circular published by the Ministry of Education corporal punishment is prohibited in schools and that measures will be taken against perpetrators under the Penal Code, the Children Act and through departmental action

(Ministry of Education Circular No., 8 August 2010, Regarding the Ending of Corporal Punishment on Students in Educational Institutions).

Guidelines on the prohibition of corporal punishment came into effect in April 2011, yet prohibition is to be confirmed in legislation;

Sentence for CrimeCorporal punishment (whipping) is lawful for males. Under the Code of Criminal Procedure (1898), boys under the age of 16 may be whipped “with a light rattan not less than half an inch in diameter” up to 15 “stripes”, older males up to 30 stripes (article 392). Whipping must not be inflicted in instalments and may not be inflicted on females or on males sentenced to death or more than five years imprisonment (article 393). Whipping can be ordered The person to be whipped must be considered fit to receive the punishment, by a medical officer, the Magistrate or the officer present (article 394). In addition to imprisonment only if the term of imprisonment exceeds three months; it must not be carried out until at least 15 days after sentencing and must be inflicted in the presence of the officer in charge of the jail or of the Judge or Magistrate (article 391). Under the Whipping Act (1909) whipping may be given in lieu of or in addition to the punishments specified in the Penal Code for specific offences Whipping is a sentence for offences under article 23 of the Cantonments Pure Food Act (1966), articles 9, 10 and 12 of the Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act (1933) and, for boys under the age of 12, article 130 of the Railways Act (1890).

Corporal punishment is also commonly ordered by traditional village mediation councils (shalish), particular against girls and women. Punishments include caning, whipping, beating and stoning to death.

The Constitution protects persons who have been arrested or detained from torture, cruel, degrading and inhuman treatment but states that this provision “shall not affect the operation of any existing law which prescribes any punishment or procedure for trial” (article 35).

The Children Act does not refer to corporal punishment.


Disciplinary measure 

Corporal punishment is permitted in penal institutions, including certified institutes, approved homes, prisons and vagrant homes. The number of strokes should vary according to the age of the person and nature of the offence, should be inflicted on the buttocks or on the palm of the hand, and a medical officer should be present Rule No. 24 of the Children Rules

The Prisons Act (1894) authorises whipping as a punishment for breaches of discipline by male prisoners, up to 30 stripes (article 46); for boys under 16 it must be inflicted “in the way of school discipline” (article 53).


Alternative care 

Corporal punishment is lawful in alternative care settings under article 89 of the Penal Code and similar provisions in other laws.



A number of studies have exposed children’s vulnerability to corporal punishment in Bangladesh, particularly in homes and schools. A 2009 report by UNICEF interviewed nearly 4,000 households, including children aged 9-18 and a special survey was also held with children living on the street.

The research found that 91% of children experience physical punishment in school. Poorer children were more likely to experience it.

76% of students experienced punishments as hitting the palm or other parts of the body with a ruler or stick, standing in class and slapping.

23% said they faced corporal punishment every day;

7% reported injuries and bleeding as a result.

Corporal punishment was one of the top four reasons children gave for not attending school.

99.3% of children reported being verbally abused and threatened regularly by their parents;

74% said they were physically punished by parents or guardians, with 70%  being slapped and

40% being regularly beaten or kicked.

Of the 367 children who worked outside the home, 25% experienced physical punishment in their workplace, with girls more likely to be seriously injured by corporal punishment than boys.


Activities towards legal reform

At a meeting of the South Asia Forum in July 2006, following on from the regional consultation in 2005 of the UN Secretary General’s Study on Violence against Children, the Government made a commitment to prohibition in all settings, including the home.

The national action plan to achieve prohibition developed during the SAIEVAC law reform workshop in Kathmandu, November 2010, confirmed that there are a number of laws authorising corporal punishment of children and a comprehensive review of the legislation is necessary. It noted that the Children Bill would explicitly prohibit corporal punishment in care institutions and indicated that a law was being drafted which would prohibit in education institutions. The Bill is still under discussion. The plan outlined in detail the following process of law reform, though did not specify a starting date:




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In Solidarity with the Children of SAARC