The Supreme Court on Monday declined to entertain a petition seeking direction to government to amend the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA) to prohibit same-gotra marriages.
A vacation bench headed by Justice Deepak Verma asked petitioners to approach the High Court.
Contending that science has proven marriages among close relatives might lead to genetic disorders in the offspring, they said the environment and forest ministry has prohibited inbreeding even among animals and allowing same-gotra marriages among Hindus would play havoc with the social fabric.
“Although severe inbreeding depression in humans seems to be highly uncommon and not widely known, there have been several cases of apparent forms of inbreeding depression in human populations. As with animals, this phenomenon tends to occur in isolated, rural populations that are cut off to some degree from other areas of civilization,” the petition said.
Pointing that the same clan marriage has become a vital issue for Haryana and National Capital Region, the plea said amendment in the Act was required for the prevention of honour killings as the same-gotra union is legally valid even though social custom prohibits it.
Maintaining that prohibition of marriage among people of the same clan was the customary right of Hindus, the petitioners said the practice was violative of their fundamental rights.