This week Your Advocate is Barrister Omar Khan Joy, Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh. He is the head of the chambers of a renowned law firm, namely, 'Legal Counsel', which has expertise mainly in commercial law, corporate law, family law, employment and labor law, land law, banking law, constitutional law, criminal law, IPR and in conducting litigations before courts of different hierarchies. Our civil and criminal law experts from reputed law chambers will provide the legal summary advice.
We are a married couple. We have been married for more than 10 years, but we do not have any child. We are thinking of adopting a child. We have heard from some of our lawyer friends that adoption is not allowed in Bangladesh. However, some of our relatives have adopted few years back. We want to know whether it is possible to adopt a child in Bangladesh and if so, what the system is.
We would like to thank you very much for your inquiry. In Bangladesh family law is personal, i.e. it is depended on the religion of the person concerned. Accordingly, adoption is also regulated by the religious law of the person concerned. Adoption is not allowed under the Muslim Law, but the same is allowed under the Hindu Law and the Christian Law in certain situations. Canon Law is the 'Personal Law' for Roman Catholics. Canon 110 of the Code of Canon Law allows adoption for Christians.
Adoption arises from a legal bond whereby one takes the child (or adult) as one's own with all the rights and duties which would have existed had the child (or adult) been one's own originally. Canon 110 does not specify any age limit.
Every law has two sides, one is what is the law; known as the “substantive law”; the other is the method to apply the law in the court, known as the “procedural law”. Canon 110 is the “substantive law” for adoption but in Bangladesh, there is no “procedural law” in this regard. So, some of the lawyers of our country file case for “Guardianship” under “The Guardians and Wards Act, 1890”, which is mainly used for the Muslims (as no adoption is allowed under the Muslim law), where no child is given the complete adoption to the adoptive parents, but the “Legal Guardianship” only. This being given, the child would not be treated as the proper son/daughter of the adoptive parents, as we treat the biological children; creating problem regarding the inheritance of properties for the child. So, after getting the guardianship or even without getting the guardianship from the Court the persons intending to adopt has to apply before the court for adoption of the child.
There are more Catholics in Bangladesh than Protestants. There is no specific law on adoption for Protestants. There is even no such bar on adoption for Protestants. Thus, the court may give adoption unless there are any other issues.
I hope the aforesaid opinion will help you to resolve your queries.
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