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Cousin Marriage

(Querist) 25 March 2008 This query is : Resolved 
I am a 30-year-old Bengali Hindu Kayastha man and by profession, a Software Engineer. For the past 7 years, I am having an affair with my cousin sister, and now intend to marry her soon.
She is the only daughter of my father's elder sister. She is now 39 years old, and working in a private organization as an office assistant. To be precise, I am 8 years & 8 months younger to her.

Our custom doesn't allow marriages between cousins.

In view of the above, please let me know :

1. whether I can marry her under Special Marriage Act, 1954,

2. if YES, whether there will be any other legal complication related to our marriage.

3. if NO, which process can be followed for our marriage to be legal & valid.
Rajesh Kumar (Expert) 25 March 2008
This marriage is not valid.
SANJAY DIXIT (Expert) 25 March 2008
1. No, You can't marry her.

2. As you both are in prohibited relationship, you both can't marry.

3. As the condition laid down in S. 4(d) of Special Marriage Act, 1954 specifies that the marriage under prohibited relationship is VOID ie zero from the beginning; your marriage can't be legal & valid.
Sumit Deb (Querist) 27 March 2008
Does it mean that all cousin-marriages among Hindus in many parts of South India (and some parts of North India) are illegal under Special Marriage Act (and Hindu marriage Act)?
Deepak Rikhari (Expert) 31 March 2008
yes all marriages amongs cousin are void ab-initio. It means void and zero from the begining.
Guest (Expert) 07 April 2008
You are right in your argument!

I've read from newspaper reports that in some villages of Tamil Nadu and Orissa polygamy is being practised by the Hindus. Husbands are known to have two wives. Such marriages have the (tacit) approval of the society while the administration plays the role of a mute spectator....

Having said that it is equally important for me to add that such marriages are void and will lead to many legal tangles in matters of succession et al.
Sumit Deb (Querist) 08 April 2008
Hi Sabah,

I was refering to cousin marriage, not polygamy !!
Guest (Expert) 11 April 2008
I clearly understood your point.....but in my alacrity I just pointed out the other anomalies which exist in this regard! For your information, there isn't much of a difference between marrying one's cousin and polygamy from the strict perspective of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (or Special Marriage Act, 1954). You had also stated in the begining of your question that no custom/usage to the contrary exists in your case. Thus, under no circumstance can you 'legally' marry her......

South Indian Hindus are well-known for solemnising such marriages between persons of prohibited degrees; but I "t-h-i-n-k" in their case there exists a custom/usage, which gives it a legal color.

I'm sorry if my 'addendum' has offended you!
Adv.Shine Thomas (Expert) 16 October 2008
The parties are within the degrees of prohibited relationship. thus the marriage will be void.
ritu bhadana (Expert) 02 April 2009
the marriage is not valid in the eyes of law..........it is void ab initio
ritu bhadana (Expert) 02 April 2009
as you both are falling in the prohibited degrees under the hindu marriage act


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