- Commenced on 28 September 1945
- [This is the version of this document at 30 November 2019.]
Part I – General provisions
1. Short titleThis Act may be cited as the Penal Code, and hereinafter is referred to as "this Code".[Ord. No. 21 of 1945 s. 2]
2. DisapplicationDisapplication of Indian Penal Code.
3. Saving of certain laws
4. General rule of constructionSubject to the provisions of the Interpretation of Laws Act and the expressions specifically defined in this Code, the Code shall be construed according to the principles of construction which may be applied to any written law, with regard to Tanzanian conditions and without applying any principle of strict construction relating to penal legislation.[Cap. 1; Act No. 14 of 1980 s. 3]
5. InterpretationIn this Code, unless the context requires otherwise—"court" means a court of competent jurisdiction;"dwelling house" includes any building or structure which is for the time being kept by the owner or occupier for the residence therein of himself, his family or servants or any of them, and it is immaterial that it is from time to time uninhabited; a building or structure adjacent to or occupied with a dwelling house is deemed to be part of the dwelling house if there is communication between that building or structure and the dwelling house, either immediate or by means of a covered and enclosed passage leading from the one to the other, but not otherwise;"harm" means any bodily hurt, disease or disorder whether permanent or temporary;"dangerous harm" means harm endangering life;"grievous harm" means any harm which amounts to a maim or dangerous harm, or seriously or permanently injures health or which is likely so to injure health, or which extends to permanent disfigurement, or to any permanent or serious injury to any external or internal organ, member or sense;"judicial proceeding" includes any proceeding had or taken in or before court, tribunal, commission or person in which or before whom evidence may be taken on oath;"knowingly" used in connection with any term denoting uttering or using, implies knowledge of the character of the thing uttered or used;"local government authority" means a local government authority established by law;"maim" means the destruction or permanent disabling of any external or internal organ, member or sense;"money" includes bank notes, currency notes, bank drafts, cheques and other orders, warrants or requests for the payment of money;"night" or "night-time" means the period between seven o’clock in the evening and six o’clock in the morning;"offence" means an act, attempt or omission punishable by law;"person" and "owner" and other like terms when used with reference to property include corporations of all kinds and any other association of persons capable of owning property, and also when so used include the Government;"person employed in the public service" means any person holding any of the following offices or performing the duty thereof, whether as a deputy or not, namely—(a)any public office of the President, and any office the power of appointing a person to which or of removing from which is vested in the President or in a commission or board to which the President has delegated his function of, or which is established by written law for the purpose of, making appointments to any office;(b)any office to which a person is appointed or nominated under any law;(c)any public office, the power of appointing to which or removing from which is vested in any person or persons holding an office of any kind included in paragraph (a) or (b); or(d)any office of arbitrator or umpire in any proceeding or matter submitted to arbitration by order or with the sanction of any court, or in pursuance of any law; and also means—(i)a justice of the peace;(ii)a member of a commission of inquiry appointed under or in pursuance of any law;(iii)any person employed to execute any process of a court;(iv)a member of the Regular Force of the Defence Forces, a member of the National Service, and any other member of the Defence Forces when on duty;(v)a person in the employment of any government department;(vi)a person acting as a minister of religion of whatsoever denomination in so far as he performs functions in respect of the notification of intended marriage or in respect of the solemnisation of marriage, or in respect of the making or keeping of any register or certificate of marriage, birth, baptism, death or burial, but not in any other respect.(vii)a member of a local government authority(viii)a municipal councilor;(ix)a person in the employment of a local government authority;(x)any person employed by or in the service of any public corporation established under the Public Corporations Act or a corporation established by or under any written law other than the Companies Act or a company incorporated under the Companies Act which is wholly owned by the Government or which is a subsidiary of any public corporation;[Caps 257; 212]"possession" "be in possession of’ or "have in possession" includes—(a)not only having in one’s own personal possession, but also knowingly having anything in the actual possession or custody of any other person, or having anything in any place (whether belonging to, or occupied by oneself or not) for the use or benefit of oneself or of any other person;(b)if there are two or more persons and any one or more of them with the knowledge and consent of the rest has or have anything in his or their custody or possession, it shall be deemed and taken to be in the custody and possession of each and all of them;"property" includes everything animate or inanimate capable of being the subject of ownership;"public" refers not only to all persons within Mainland Tanzania but also to the persons inhabiting or using any particular place, or any number of those persons, and also to such indeterminate persons as may happen to be affected by the conduct in respect to which such expression is used;"public way" includes any highway, market place, square, street, bridge or other way which is lawfully used by the public;"public place" or "public premises" includes any public way and any building, place or conveyance to which, for the time being, the public are entitled or permitted to have access either without any condition or upon condition of making any payment, and any building or place which is for the time being used for any public or religious meetings, or assembly or as an open court"publicly" when applied to an act means either—(a)that it is so done in any public place as to be seen by any person whether such person is in a public place; or(b)that it is so done in any place not being a public place as to be likely to be seen by any person in a public place;"utter" includes using or dealing with and attempting to use or deal with and attempting any person to use, deal with or act upon the thing in question;"valuable security" includes any document which is the property of any person and which is evidence of the ownership of any property or of the right to recover or receive any property;"vessel" includes a ship, a boat and every other kind of vessel used in navigation either on the sea or in inland waters, and includes aircraft;"wound" means any incision or puncture which divides or pierces any exterior membrane of the body; and any membrane is exterior for the purpose of this definition which can be touched without dividing or piercing any other membrane.[R. L CAP. 500 ss. 8, 36; R. L. Cap. 537 6th Sch.; R. L. Cap. 553 2nd Sch.; Act Nos. 2 of 1965 Sch; 24 of 1966 2nd Sch.; 50 of 1968 1st Sch.; 14 of 1980 s. 4]
Territorial application of this Code
6. Extent of jurisdiction of local courts
7. Offences committed partly within and partly beyond the jurisdictionWhen an act which, if wholly done within the jurisdiction of the court, would be an offence against this Code, is done partly within and partly beyond the jurisdiction, every person who within the jurisdiction does any part of such act may be tried and punished under this Code in the same manner as if such act had been done wholly within the jurisdiction.
General rules as to criminal responsibility
8. Ignorance of lawIgnorance of the law does not afford any excuse for any act or omission which would otherwise constitute an offence unless knowledge of the law by the offender is expressly declared to be an element of the offence.
9. Bona fide claim of rightA person is not criminally responsible in respect of an offence relating to property if the act done or omitted to be done by him with respect to the property was done in the exercise of an honest claim of right and without intention to defraud.
10. Relevance of intention or motive
11. Mistake of fact
12. Presumption of sanityEvery person is presumed to be of sound mind and to have been of sound mind at any time which comes in question until the contrary is proved.
15. Immature age
16. General immunity for officersSave as is expressly provided by this Code, no act or thing done or omitted to be done by a judicial officer shall, if the act or omission was done or omitted bona fide in the exercise of his judicial function, render the judicial officer criminally liable for the act or omission.[Act No. 2 of 1970]
17. CompulsionA person is not criminally responsible for an offence if it is committed by two or more offenders and if the act is done or omitted only because during the whole of the time in which it is being done or omitted the person is compelled to do or omit to do the act by threats on the part of the other offender or offenders instantly to kill him or do him grievous bodily harm if he refuses; but threats of future injury do not excuse any offence, unless the offender is a child.[Act No. 21 of 2009 s. 175]
18. Defence of person or propertySubject to the provisions of section 18A, a person is not criminally liable for an act done in the exercise of the right of self defence or the defence of another or the defence of property in accordance with the provisions of this Code.[Act No. 14 of 1980 s. 6]
18A. The right of defence
18B. Use of force in defence
18C. When right of defence extends to causing death
19. Use of force in effecting arrestWhere any person is charged with a criminal offence arising out of the arrest, or attempted arrest, by him of a person who forcibly resists such arrest or attempts to evade being arrested, the court shall, in considering whether the means used were necessary or the degree of force used was reasonable for the apprehension of such person, have regard to the gravity of the offence which had been, or was being, committed by that person and the circumstances in which such offence had been, or was being, committed by that person.
20. Compulsion by husbandA married woman is not free from criminal responsibility for doing or omitting to do an act merely because the act or omission takes place in the presence of her husband; but on a charge against a wife for any offence other than treason or murder, it shall be a good defence to prove that the offence was committed in the presence and under the coercion of the husband.
21. Person not to be punished twice for same offenceA person shall not be punished twice, either under the provisions of this Code or under the provisions of any other law, for the same offence.[Ord. No. 49 of 1955 s. 3]
Parties to offences
22. Principal offenders
23. Offences committed by joint offenders in prosecution of common purposeWhen two or more persons form a common intention to prosecute an unlawful purpose in conjunction with one another, and in the prosecution of such purpose an offence is committed of such a nature that its commission was a probable consequence of the prosecution of such purpose, each of them is deemed to have committed the offence.
24. Counseling another to commit an offenceWhen a person counsels another to commit an offence, and an offence is actually committed after such counsel by the person whom it is given, it is immaterial whether the offence actually committed is the same as that counselled or a different one, or whether the offence is committed in the way counselled or in a different way, provided in either case that the facts constituting the offence actually committed are a probable consequence of carrying out the counsel and in either case the person who gave the counsel is deemed to have counseled the other person to commit the offence actually committed by him.
25. Kinds of punishmentsThe following punishments may be inflicted by a court—
26. Sentence of death
28. Corporal punishmentSubject to the provisions of the Minimum Sentences Act, where in this Code it is provided that any person shall be liable to undergo corporal punishment, such punishment shall, if awarded, be inflicted in accordance with the provisions of the Corporal Punishment Act.[Cap. 90; Caps 17; 11 6th Sch.]
29. FinesWhere a fine is imposed under any law, in the absence of express provisions relating to the fine in that law the following provisions shall apply—
|Not exceeding Shs. 50,000/||14 days|
|Exceeding Shs. 50,000/= but not exceeding Shs. 100,000/=||2 months|
|Exceeding Shs. 100,000/= but not exceeding Shs. 500,000||6 months|
|Exceeding Shs. 500,000/= but not exceeding 1,000,000/=||12 months|
|Exceeding shs. 1,000,000/=||24 months|