Daily Star Home  

<%-- Page Title--%> Reader'sQueries <%-- End Page Title--%>

  <%-- Page Title--%> Issue No 168 <%-- End Page Title--%>  

December 5, 2004 

  <%-- Page Title--%> <%-- Navigation Bar--%>
<%-- Navigation Bar--%>

Your Advocate

Q: May I ask you the question that whether parents have any legal right to forcefully decide over the marriage of their adult son or daughter?
What legal action could be taken to prevent parents from arranging the marriage of their daughter without her consent? Is there any law in our country concerning this?
I'll be obliged if you let me know. If you think this as a question worthy to answer, I believe many people will be glad to know the answer.

-Kanta On E-mail

Your Advocate: Your thought seems to have taken a new dimension and bears a testimony of rebelliousness against our long standing social values. In the advanced societies of the West individualism has reached such a stage that the parents and teachers are even taken to account for a bit of excess in controlling their children or in birching a bit for their good. Therefore, children and youths in those societies enjoy much greater personal freedom in all respects. In our society, by contrast, parental and social control is much stricter, some times unnecessarily cruel and egoistically oppressive. The questions of egoism and cruelty apart, so far as the question of controlling children are concerned, I must confess I am still confused as to which one is better- the western permissiveness or our possessiveness. It is no denying that the two social contexts are different. So it is difficult to come a conclusion straightway. My mind still dwells on the idea that middle course is possibly the best.

The spontaneous words came in because, after all, we are after laws and actions against the excesses of our parents, admittedly our best well-wishers on earth. You cannot deny that their concern about you, even if irrational, is not obsessively directed to your good. In that sense the dilemma of father-daughter feud on marriage does hardly conform the purpose of legal actions since the parties don't have conflicting interest or any guilty mind.
Legal answer of your question is not far to seek. The answers of your plain questions are: no one can interfere with, encross upon, derogate from or infringe the lawful rights of any other in any manner whatsoever save strictly in accordance with law. You as an adult (supposedly 18 or above) are absolutely competent to contract marriage for yourself to the exclusion or disregard of anyone else's opinion, choice or pressure. Your choice is unfettered. The fact that the persons standing on your way happen to be your parents doesn't make any difference.

Parenthood by itself does not confer upon individuals any special legal rights whatsoever to interfere with the personal choice of their sons or daughters, far less, applying force in making decisions or arranging marriage against their consent. Yes, there is law to prevent them from making or attempting to make encrossment upon your exclusive rights. Law is blind and doesn't know who are parents and who are not. Forget for the moment that they are your parents you get the law. The prevailing law which are applicable to others are equally applicable to your parents. Technically the relationship of the parties is of no consequence in the present circumstances. There is no nor is there any necessity of law as against the parents only so far as the present issue is concerned. The prevailing laws are enough to prevent anyone from interfering with the lawful rights of others irrespective of interrelationship between the parties.

Above everything one should keep in mind law is like a bamboo-stick, though equally menacing to all, is not kept for using against one's own family or friends for any difference of choice or opinion with them. It has definitive purposes. Parents may legitimately cherish dream of their own to be materialized through their children. If it is impossible to go by their choice you need not conceive of legal action rather it would be most advisable for you as their child to devise things in a away so as to hurt them the least.

Your Advocate M. Moazzam Husain is a lawyer of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. His professional interests include civil law, criminal law and constitutional law.

Corresponding with the Law Desk
Please send your mails, queries, and opinions to: Law Desk, The Daily Star 19 Karwan Bazar, Dhaka-1215; telephone 8124944,8124955,fax 8125155;email <dslawdesk@yahoo.co.uk,lawdesk@thedailystar.net



      (C) Copyright The Daily Star. The Daily Star Internet Edition, is published by The Daily Star