week your advocate is M. Moazzam Husain of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh.
His professional interests include civil law, criminal law and constitutional
I am a 25-year-old Bangladeshi citizen by birth. I am in love with a
foreigner and we are planning to marry here in Bangladesh soon. The
problem is, my fiancé do not have a work permit for Bangladesh.
He is currently living in Japan. Few days ago I heard that a foreigner
must have a work permit to legally marry in Bangladesh. Is it true?
If we get married in Bangladesh, will our marriage be recognized by
the existing marriage laws of our land? Please advice. I have been asking
a lot of people and each time I get confusing reply.
S. Hossain Dhaka
Advocate: I am sorry to know that you have had lot of run-around
on your problem before you could decide to take recourse to a lawyer
for an opinion. In our society people in general, are in the habit of
prescribing medicine to patients without asking them to go to doctors.
The case is also nearly same with the legal problems. If you could approach
a lawyer instead of wasting time on asking stray questions to the people
around, you would have got a legal opinion much earlier. Of course,
lawyers' opinions may differ. That is altogether different and a matter
to be resolved among experts.
Your query goes
short of adequate information so as to facilitate an opinion to be given
by a lawyer. Lawyers will require you to answer some basic questions
before passing any comments about your marriage. In addition to ones
you have given the most relevant and primary information that would
be necessary for the purpose are: your religion, if you at all profess
any; religion of your fiancé, if any; marital status of you both
i.e., whether you and your fiancé are bachelors, earlier married
etc.; whether you are a public servant? Moreover the term "foreigner"
by itself does not suggest now-a-days that he or she is not a person
of Bangladeshi origin. Therefore, the question of interrelationship,
if any, between the parties comes in. Of course, your style of _expression
and diction suggest that your fiancé is an unmixed foreigner.
Answers to these questions may divert the attention of the lawyer to
multiple legal dimensions in search of solutions.
Be that as it may,
for a reply to your question I take you to be a Muslim woman as your
Arabic name suggests and also assume your fiancé to be a Muslim.
From your silence in respect of other aspects and exclusive emphasis
on supposed 'work-permit-impediment' I can presume that there is no
legal barrier for a valid marriage between you as per Muslim law.
I am coming to the
question of work-permit in the later part of the reply. If it is only
a work-permit issue, and there is no other impediment, I assure you,
it cannot stand on your way to marry your foreign fiancé. Before
that I feel like making you aware of the basic law rather gratuitously
in respect of the marriage of a Muslim woman with the hope that those
may be of use in case your problem travels beyond the mere work-permit
As per Muslim personal
law, a Mohammedan woman cannot contract a valid marriage except with
a Mohammedan. She cannot contract a valid marriage even with a Kitabi,
that is, Christian or a Jew. A marriage, however, with a Kitabi, that
is, a Christian or a Jew is irregular not void but there are controversies
in respect of whether marriage with a non-Kitabi, that is, an idolater
or fire-worshipper is void or irregular. Overwhelming view weighs in
favour of calling it irregular. There are different incidents and legal
consequences of irregular and void marriage which, I think, are not
relevant here, that too, cannot be dealt with in this short span.
Back to your basic
concern. In Bangladesh there is no law which imposes work-permit as
a precondition for marriage with a foreigner. Work permit is something
related to visa, staying in particular country, citizenship etc. In
our country marriage is substantially regulated by our personal laws,
that is, for Muslims by the Muslim law and for Hindus by Hindu law and
so on. And if the proposed marriage between the parties is otherwise
valid under the personal law there is nothing to prevent it. The only
legal bar that is created is in respect of the public servants. The
Public Servant (Marriage with Foreign Nationals) Ordinance,1976 has
put complete bar on the members of our diplomatic service in marrying
foreign nationals and provided similar restriction on members of other
public services with a relaxation that they can contract such marriage
subject to prior permission to be given by the President.
Please send your mails, queries, and opinions to: Law Desk,
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