Guardianship in Family Law of Bangladesh

Guardianship versus Adoption in Family Law of Bangladesh

Opinion on the terminology ‘Legal Guardian’ and ‘Adoption’ under the Bangladeshi Law

Generally a legal guardian is a person who is not a biological parent of a child. But a legal guardian will assume all of the responsibilities that a parent would have.


In Bangladesh “guardian” means a person having the care of the person of a minor or of his property, or of both his person and property [section 4(2) of the Guardians and Wards Act.] Accordingly ‘Legal Guardian’ means a person who has been declared or appointed as a guardian by a court to take care the interest of a minor.


That under section 7(1) of the Guardians and Wards Act, a court can only appoint somebody as legal guardian if it welfares the child.


In Bangladesh there is no uniform personal law. Different religion is ruled by different personal law. All personal laws applicable for ‘Muslims’ has been used the word ‘Legal Guardian’ rather than ‘Adoption’. Similarly all personal laws applicable for ‘Hindu’s has been used the word ‘Adoption’ rather than ‘Legal Guardian’. In addition under Muslim inheritance law the adopted child does not inherit from the legal guardian, in contrary under Hindu inheritance law the adopted child can inherit from the adopted parents. However the objective for legal guardian and adoption is identical i.e. welfare of the child.


In addition Bangladesh is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) and as such Bangladesh has not any legal obligation to use the word ‘Adoption’.

There is no practical and legal difference between the terminologies ‘Legal Guardian’ and ‘Adoption’ so far as concern about Bangladeshi law. The said two terminologies are being used just because of different personal laws applicable in Bangladesh. The paramount purpose of Legal Guardianship and Adoption is same i.e. welfare of child.