ADOPTION OF CHILD FROM ABROAD

Published by The Daily Star on 3rd April, 2011 (Link Above)

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.

Query
I want to adopt a child from Nepal as I want to maintain secrecy of that adoption from certain people from my family. What are the legal procedures?
Baridhara, Dhaka

Response
I would like to thank you very much for your query. As far as adoption of a child is concerned, in Bangladesh it is governed by the personal law to which each individual belongs. In Bangladesh, Muslims cannot lawfully adopt a child as Muslim law does not permit adoption. But, Hindus can adopt according to their traditional personal law, i.e. Hindu law. As from your query it is not clear to which religion you belong to and whether you are a male or female. If you are a Muslim, simply you cannot adopt a child. Though you may have seen some Muslims in Bangladesh have actually adopted children, the same has no legal footing. If you are a Muslim, you may, however, take the guardianship of a minor child in Bangladesh through the family court. At this stage, it may be wise to give a brief account of what the Hindu law provides for Adoption.

Under traditional Hindu law only a boy can be adopted. Thus, it is not possible to adopt a girl. A Hindu male can adopt even if he is a widower or unmarried. However, a Hindu female can only adopt with the express consent of her husband. In case of a Hindu widow, consent of her husband during his lifetime is needed to make an Adoption. Consent of both the giver and taker of the adopted son is also important. It is also necessary to have consent of the person adopted where he has attained maturity. As far as Adoption under the traditional Hindu law is concerned, there are some restrictions as well. For instance, the son to be adopted and the person adopting must belong to the same caste. Besides, the only son of a family cannot be adopted under traditional Hindu law. Adoption of an orphan is not allowed unless permitted by custom. In order for Adoption to take place, there must be actual giving and taking of the adopted son. In addition, some rituals are also required to be performed but they are not as essential.

Besides, since you are considering adopting a child from Nepal, you also have to consider and fulfill what the Nepalese Law in this regard. I am not expert in Nepalese law. So, if you are a Hindu and fulfil the aforesaid requirements, you are encouraged to consult a Nepalese lawyer to ascertain the legal and procedural formality that needs to be fulfilled for adopting a child from there. In Bangladesh as well, you may have to satisfy a number of requirements with the immigration and other authorities, which may also prove to be very difficult.

I hope the aforesaid opinion will help you to assess your position.

For detailed query contact: omar@legalcounselbd.com.