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“All Citizens are Equal before Law and are Entitled to Equal Protection of Law”-Article 27 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Issue No: 122
June 13, 2009

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Laws For everyday life

Public nuisance

A public nuisance is an interference with the common right of the general public or an indefinite number of persons; an unreasonable interference with the health, safety, peace, or comfort of the community.

Public nuisance is such an inconvenience or troublesome offence, as it annoys the whole community in general, and not merely some particular person. To constitute a public nuisance, there must be such 'a number of persons annoyed, that the offence can no longer be considered a private nuisance. It is difficult to define what degree of annoyance is necessary to constitute a nuisance. In relation to offensive trades, it seems that when such a trade renders the enjoyment of life and property uncomfortable, it is a nuisance for the neighbourhood as they have a right to pure and fresh air. A thing may be a nuisance in one place, which-is not so in another; therefore the situation or locality of the nuisance must be considered.

Public nuisances arise in consequence of following particular trades by which the air is rendered offensive and noxious. These may include -
* Acts of public indecency
* Acts tending to a breach of the public peace, as for drawing a number of persons into a field for the purpose of pigeon-shooting
* The disturbance of the neighbourhood or keeping a disorderly house or a gaming house or a bawdy house or a dangerous animal, as a large bull-dog accustomed to bite people
* Exposing a person having a contagious disease, as the smallpox, in public and the like.

The following are provisions from national legislations with issues concerning public nuisance-

The Penal Code, 1860
Chapter XIV, Of offences affecting the public health, safety, convenience, decency and morals

Public nuisance
268. A person is guilty of a public nuisance who does any act or is guilty of an illegal omission which causes any common injury, danger or annoyance to the public or to the people in general who dwell or occupy property in the vicinity, or which must necessarily cause injury, obstruction, dangers or annoyance to persons who may have occasion to use any public right. A common nuisance is not excused on the ground that it causes some convenience or advantage.

Continuance of nuisance after injunction to discontinue
291. Whoever repeats or continues a public nuisance, having been enjoined by any public servant who has lawful authority to issue such injunction not to repeat or continue such nuisance, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.

The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898
Chapter X, Public nuisances
Magistrate may prohibit repetition or continuance of public nuisance
A District Magistrate or any other Executive Magistrate empowered by the Government or the District Magistrate in this behalf, may order any person not to repeat or continue a public nuisance, as defined in the Penal Code or any special law.

The Ports Act, 1908
Chapter III, Port-officials and their powers and duties
Removal of obstructions within limits of port
(1) The conservator may remove, or cause to be removed, any timber, raft or other thing, floating or being in any part of any such port, which in his opinion obstructs or impedes the free navigation thereof or the lawful use of any pier, jetty, landing-place, wharf, quay, dock, mooring or other work on any part of the shore or bank which has been declared to be within the limits of the port and is not private property.

(2) The owner of any such timber, raft or other thing shall be liable to pay the reasonable expenses of the removal thereof, and if such owner or any other person has without lawful excuse caused any such obstruction or impediment, or causes any public nuisance affecting or likely to affect such free navigation or lawful use, he shall also be punishable with fine which may extend to one hundred taka.

(3) The conservator or any Magistrate having jurisdiction over the offence may cause any such nuisance to be abated.

The Dhaka Metropolitan Police Ordinance, 1976
Chapter IV, Powers and duties of police-officers
General duties of Police-officers
It shall be the duty of every police-officer-
(a) promptly to serve every summons and obey and execute every warrant or other order lawfully issued to him by competent authority, and to endeavour by all lawful means to give effect to the lawful commands of his superiors;

(b) to the best of his ability to obtain intelligence concerning the commission of cognizable offences or designs to commit such offences, and to lay such information and to take such other steps, consistent with law and the orders of his superiors, as are best calculated to bring offenders to justice or to prevent the commission of cognizable offences, or the commission of non-cognizable offences within his view;

(c) to the best of his ability to prevent the commission of public nuisances;

(d) to apprehend without unreasonable delay all persons whom he is legally authorised to apprehend and for whose apprehension there is sufficient reason;

(e) to aid another police-officer, when called on by him or in case of need in the discharge of his duty, in such ways as would be lawful and reasonable on the part of the officer aided;

(f) to discharge such duties as are imposed upon him by any law for the time being in force.

- Compiled by Law Desk.


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