In Bangladesh, there is no specific law governing adoption, although individuals can apply for guardianship of either the person or the property of a child under the Guardians and Wards Act 1890. In this article, we are going to have a short but detailed discussion as regards to adoption and legal guardianship in Bangladesh.

Adoption and legal guardianship in Bangladesh:

There is no legal or practical difference between the terms ‘Adoption’ and ‘Legal Guardianship’. However, the terms ‘Adoption’ and ‘Legal Guardianship’ were used because of applicable various personal laws in Bangladesh.

Concerned Laws:

Family Court Ordinance, 1985; Guardians and Wards Act, 1890; Code of Civil Procedure, 1908; Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961, Children Act, 2013, Hindu personal Laws and Customs.

Adoption of Muslim child:

In Bangladesh, according to Muslim law, Muslim parents do not have the right to adopt children because the laws do not recognize adoption. However, the only option they have in hands is to apply to the competent family courts for legal guardianship.  Unfortunately, the children under guardianship do not enjoy all the rights, i.e. inheritance of property from the legal guardians etc. 

Adoption of Hindu child and child belonging to other religion:

On the other hand, as per Hindu family law, only the person belonging to Hindu religion have the option to adopt boys. Therefore, the status of the adopted boys will be considered same as a natural son and consequently will enjoy all the rights following personal law or secular law, i.e. inheritance etc. as if he was born to this family. Furthermore, adoption is also permitted as well as encouraged under the Christian and Buddhist personal laws.

Legal custody and Guardianship under Guardians and Wards Act, irrespective of personal laws:

Application to court for guardianship:

In Bangladesh, the adoption or guardianship seeker are required to apply to the family court which is having jurisdiction over the child’s place of residence for legal guardianship of children following the Code of Civil Procedure through filing of prayer. After reviewing the application, the court will give its decision considering the welfare of the children using its discretion, following the provisions of Personal laws and Guardians and Wards Act against which appeal is allowed. For example- if the court is satisfied that the parents are eligible to take responsibilities of that child then the decision will be in favor of them and if the decision was against them then the appeal against the decision can be filed at District Judge Court.

Limitation of guardians applying for guardianship:

The Act requires one of the parents who are seeking for adoption or guardianship to be Bangladeshi citizen or dual citizenship holder, i.e. American who is also a Bangladeshi citizen and that is why foreigners do not have the option to apply for adoption or legal guardianship here, in this country.

Children’s rights as regards to property:

Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 plays an important role regarding the guardianships of minors. However, a child or person under guardianship does not have the same rights, i.e. inheriting property etc. as the biological children following the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890. However, if the guardian before their death gifts a property to the person under guardianship, then that person can have that property.

Procedures of obtaining legal guardianship of a child in Bangladesh:

The following procedures have to be maintained for obtaining adoption or legal guardianship in Bangladesh-

  • Process 01: If the prospective adoptive parents are residing abroad then they have to take permission from the concerned authority of the domicile country.
  • Process 02: The prospective adoptive parents have to look for individual, organizations or institutions, i.e. orphanage, NGOs, shelters etc. and contact with them which can provide necessary documents as regards to the expected adoptee child for the guardianship process, so that later on no legal issues arise regarding the guardianship or adoption.
  • Process 03: Application to the family court for legal guardianship and submission of necessary documents.

For example: Child’s birth certificate, irrevocable release of the adoptee minor which is duly signed by the biological parents before a Notary Public, Magistrate or the relevant Family Court in Bangladesh, proof that one of the parents are Bangladeshi citizen, proof that the foreign documents which have been submitted have utmost authenticity.

  • Process 04: After the decision of the court the guardians of the child have to obtain the post-guardianship birth certificate of the child which will bear the proof that the prospective legal guardians are now the valid legal guardians of the child.
  • Process 05: Subsequently, if the parents want to take the child out of Bangladesh then it is mandatory for them to obtain a no objection certificate (NOC) from the Ministry of Home Affairs and after applying for it, the concerned ministry will carry out a detailed investigation regarding the said matter and if satisfied then will provide the NOC.
  • Process 06: Thereafter the guardians now have to submit all the required documents, i.e. form, NOC etc. either online or in hard copy to obtain the child’s passport and to get the him or her out of the country.
  • Process 07: After that all the required medical assessments, i.e. tests, vaccinations etc. have to be performed as per requirement in order to obtain visa.
  • Process 08: Finally, all the formalities as regards to adoption have to be completed as per law of the country of residence of the adoptive parents according to adoption law of that country to make the adoption of the concerned child in that country legally valid.

Concluding remarks:

Adoption and legal guardianship is a matter of great importance in Bangladesh and also in abroad.  For years, Counsels Law Partners (CLP) has been working regarding the issues relating to adoption and legal guardianship and are expert in this field. If you need any assistance or consultation, visit us at our office or feel free to contact us on +8801700920980 or email us –


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