The government has ruled out any changes in the Hindu Marriage Act to ban marriages within the same gotra (sub-caste), a demand raised by Khaps.
“There is no such proposal before the ministry. We have recommended doing away with the mandatory 30-day notice period required for registering marriages under the Special Marriage Act, but we are not doing anything on the Hindu Marriage Act,” Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily said.
Pressure is being mounted on the government by the Khap (caste) panchayats from Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh to make changes in the law for banning marriages within the same sub-caste or clan that claims descent from a common mythological ancestor.
The Law Ministry says the existing law regulating the Hindu marriages does not require any change. “Section 3 of the Act has clearly laid down the degrees of prohibited relationship for marriage among the Hindus,” said a ministry official.
According to Section 3 of the Hindu Marriage Act, two persons are said to be in the degrees of prohibited relationship “up to third generation in the line of ascent through the mother, and the fifth in the line of ascent through the father”.
The official said, “Going beyond degrees of prohibited relationship to declare the marriage illegal is not legally advisable. Such demands cannot be entertained as it could lead to similar demands from other religions,” he said.