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20/06/2024
Laws of Bangladesh

The Official Secrets Act, 1923

( ACT NO. XIX OF 1923 )

Wrongful communication, etc., of information
5.(1) If any person having in his possession or control any secret official code or pass word or any sketch, plan, model, article, note, document or information which relates to or is used in a prohibited place or relates to anything in such a place, or which has been made or obtained in contravention of this Act, or which has been entrusted in confidence to him by any person holding office under Government, or which he has obtained or to which he has had access owing to his position as a person who holds or has held office under Government, or as a person who holds or has held a contract made on behalf of Government, or as a person who is or has been employed under a person who holds or has held such an office or contract-
 
 
(a) wilfully communicates the code or pass word, sketch, plan, model, article, note, document or information to any person other than a person to whom he is authorized to communicate it, or a Court of Justice or a person to whom it is, in the interests of the State, his duty to communicate it; or
 
 
(b) uses the information in his possession for the benefit of any foreign power or in any other manner prejudicial to the safety of the State; or
 
 
(c) retains the sketch, plan, model, article, note or document in his possession or control when he has no right to retain it, or when it is contrary to his duty to retain it, or wilfully fails to comply with all directions issued by lawful authority with regard to the return or disposal thereof; or
 
 
(d) fails to take reasonable care of, or so conducts himself as to endanger the safety of, the sketch, plan, model, article, note, document, secret official code or pass word or information;
 
 
he shall be guilty of an offence under this section.
 
 
(2) If any person voluntarily receives any secret official code or pass word or any sketch, plan, model, article, note, document or information knowing or having reasonable ground to believe, at the time when he receives it, that the code, pass word, sketch, plan, model, article, note, document or information is communicated in contravention of this Act, he shall be guilty of an offence under this section.
 
 
(3) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be punishable,-
 
 
(a) where the offence committed is a contravention of clause (a) of sub-section (1) and intended or calculated to be, directly or indirectly, in the interest or for the benefit of a foreign power, or is in relation to any work of defence, arsenal, naval, military or air force establishment or station mine, mine field, factory, dockyard, camp, ship or aircraft or otherwise in relation to the naval, military or air force affairs of Bangladesh or in relation to any secret official code, with death, or with imprisonment of a term which may extend to fourteen years; and
 
 
(b) in any other case, with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

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Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs