Section 3 of the Hindu Marriage Act talks about “Sapinda Relationships” and “Degrees of Prohibited Relationships”. There is a scientific rationale behind the existence of such degrees of prohibition because these marriages can lead to birth of children that are genetically deformed or impaired.
Section 3 (f) talks about Sapinda Relationship, which is in reference to any individual extending to as far as the third generation through the mother and the fifth generation through the father. The person who’s Sapinda is to be calculated has to always be considered as the first generation.
They’re said to be in Sapinda relationship of one another if they are lineal ascendants of each other within the Sapinda limitations.
According to Section 3 (g) Degrees of Prohibited Relationships are as follows –
if one is a lineal ascendant of the other; or
if one was the wife or husband of a lineal ascendant or descendant of the other; or
if one was the wife of the brother or the father’s or mother’s brother or of the grandfather’s or grandmother’s brother; or
if the two are brother and sister, uncle and niece, aunt and nephew, or children of brother and sister or of two brothers or of two sisters;
For the purpose of explanation it stands as follows –
Relationship by half or uterine blood as well as by full blood;
Illegitimate blood relationship as well as legitimate;
Relationship by adoption as well as by blood;
And all these relationships are found out accordingly.
As far as “Full Blood” and “Half Blood” are concerned, “Full Blood” is when individuals are said to be related to each other by the same ancestors. In “Half Blood” they are descended from a common ancestor but different wives.
“Uterine Blood” are two persons that are related to each other with common ancestors but by different husbands.
There are two schedules of prohibited relationships, the First Schedule and the Second Schedule that provide a long list of relationships that are prohibited under the law unless the custom prevails.
Section 11 of The Hindu Marriage Act states the circumstances under which a marriage can be declared void. This can be done when either party, under the conditions of a valid marriage, that are given under Section 5 files a petition and these conditions are as follows –
Neither party must have a living spouse at the time of marriage
The parties are not within the degrees of prohibited relationship unless the custom or usage of either party permits marriage between such parties within a prohibited relationship.
The parties are not sapindas of each other unless the custom or usage of the parties permits marriage between them.
A degree of nullity can be obtained from the court if the marriage that has been solemnized under this Act is not in accordance with the conditions under Section 5. Such a marriage will be null and void ab initio and can be dissolved through the Court.