The Gotra is a system which associates a person with his most ancient or root ancestor in anunbroken male lineage. In Hindu society, the term gotra means clan. It broadly refers topeople who are descendants in an unbroken male line from a common male ancestor or patrilineal. When we talk in terms of Hindu marriage act, 19551 or Special Marriage Act2,nowhere in both of the acts the term “gotra” has been defined and has nothing to do with themarriage. According to the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 2.2.6, Gautama and Bharadv?ja,Vi?v?mitra and Jamadagni, Vashishtha and Ka?hyapa, and Atri are seven sages (also knownas Saptarishi); the progeny of these seven sages is declared to be gotras.A gotra is different from a kula. Kula is set of people following the same cultural rituals,often worshipping the same divine (the kula-devata, god of clan). Kula unlike gotra does notrelate to same lineage or case. One can change his/her kula, on the basis of faith or Istadevata.Gotra as a tradition among hindus, prohibits marriage in the same gotra, the tradition is basedon marrying someone outside their gotra. But the Hindu Marriage Act, 19553 legalizesmarriage between the members of same gotra. Marrying outside the gotra is still very muchprevalent even till date among the upper castes such as Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas.Gotra exogamy applies in its fullness to all the “twice-born” castes. These castes have atradition of descent from certain sages who are believed to have lived in the remote past andtwo persons claiming descent from the same “gotra” were forbidden from marrying eachother.The gotra of a family is named after the Rishi or sage who founded the family in theimmemorial past. There were only a few gotras in the beginning, but in course of time, theirnumbers increased enormously.1Hindu Marriage Act, 19552Special Marriage Act, 19543Hindu Marriage Act, 19559CHAPTER-2: ORIGINS AND THE PRESENT SCENARIOIn Vedic Sanskrit, “gotra” initially signified “bovine pen.” Cows were at the time the mostprofitable ownership of a family aggregate, so with time, the expression “gotra” started toallude to the family gather who claimed a specific pen of cows. The term was relatedinevitably with simply the family amass and its heredity4.Gotra is the Sanskrit term for a much more seasoned arrangement of tribal factions. TheSanskrit term “Gotra” was at first utilized by the Vedic individuals for the recognizable proofof the heredities. For the most part, these genealogies mean patrilineal drop from the sages orrishis in Brahmins, warriors and overseers in Kshatriyas and lineal tradesmen in Vaisyas.The genealogy framework, either patrilineal or matrilineal, was trailed by the South Asianindividuals. In present-day Hinduism, Gotra is connected to all the heredity frameworks5.Numerous Hindu standings have ancestries that don’t take after Vedic grouping.Essentially a Brahmin shouldn’t guarantee Brahmin status by conception. He must be rebornby learning and achieve Brahminical status through the accomplishment of a mental andsocial status befitting a Brahmin. Any one conceived low could turn into a Brahmin byhoisting his learning and conduct and correspondingly one who had attained to Brahmanicalstatus could be pushed to lower strata if his behaviour came to request such assignment. ABrahmin must be “Re-conceived” and that is the reason he is called “Dwija- twiceconceived”.The instance of sage Vishwamitra is the case. Accordingly the gotra probably been of theancestry of the realizing one picked as opposed to the heredity of one’s introduction to theworld. Rama is expressed to be the relative of Ikshwaku, yet the genealogy was broken whenKalmashpada got his child through Niyoga of Vasishta with Kalmashapad’s wife Madayanthi,and not through an organic contact. Yet Rama is said to be Ikshwaku’s relative and not ofVasishta6In the present scenario, if we talk in general term, there has been a decent evolution in thepractice of Sa-gotra marriage. The kind of sanction upon Sa-gotra marriage which was therehas loosened its grip and with time has paved way for such marriages. Though Sa-gotra4’Details and Origin of Gotra: Gotram’. N.P., 2009. Web. 24 Feb. 2017.5’Details and Origin of Gotra: Gotram’. N.P., 2009. Web. 24 Feb. 2017.6Details and Origin of Gotra: Gotram’. N.P., 2009. Web. 24 Feb. 2017.10marriages are perfectly legal but still they are not accepted by the society as a whole. There isnoticeable number of cases of honour killing due to Sa-gotra marriages. The issue oftenraised by culprits in such cases is not only of purity of the race but also of the honour of theclan. Such pseudo-honour often leads to the life of a young couple. Such acts by Khaps forexample are perfectly illegal and are without any legal backing. Illegal in their very natureand brutal in their performance, such incident prevails in the majority of the northern regions.Gotras have been playing a material role from the very starting in Hindu marriages and theystill play an important role when it comes to marriage ties in the 21st century.11CHAPTER-3; LEGAL ASPECTSa-gotra marriages under Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 stand valid as of the current scenario.But if we have to look into the matter of Sa-gotra marriages from the very beginning, thematter is not as simple as it seems.The division of four castes among Hindus is from time immemorial i.e. Brahmin, Kshytria,Vysya, and Sudra. Originally, this division was not hereditary but rather based on function. Incourse of time, the caste system became rigid. One of the major causes of this rigidity wasrule of endogamy observed in the marriage. It meant that the members of a particular casteshould marry within that particular caste only.The Smritis have condemned both pratiloma and anuloma marriages. Pratiloma marriages arethose in which a male of lower caste is married to a women of higher and the anulomamarriages are the one in which a male of higher caste marries to a women of lower caste. Itwas in Ratansi Morarji Vs. Advocate General of Madras7 that the validity of inter castemarriage (anuloma marriage in this case) was questioned. The facts comprised of a Europeanlady turning into a Hindu by undergoing Suddhi (Purification) ceremony by a Hindumissionary society of Bombay. Later she went on to marry a Vysya mill-owner with Hindurites and ceremonies. The question arising here in front of Justice Venkata Subbarao was thatwhether such marriage is valid or not. It was held by honourable madras high court that theconversion made the European lady a Sudra Hindu. The judge here postulated the any Hindudoes not necessarily belong to any caste but in this case considered the lady to be a Sudraafter the conversion, and held the marriage valid. Therefore the honourable high court gavethe validity to anuloma marriages8.In a later case in the year 1941, Subbamma Vs. Venkata Subbamma9, justice Pandurangaraoand somayya, J., overruled the Ratansi Morarji case and after an elaborate reading of theancient texts reached to a conclusion that smritis countenanced inter caste marriages andcommentators have laid a ban on such marriages. Thus, the reverend high court held thatanuloma marriages are void and hence overruled the Ratansi Morarji case.71929(52) Mad. 1608Venkata Subbarao, G. C, T. V Subba Rao, and Vijender Kumar. Prof. G.C.V. Subba Rao’s Family Law inIndia. 10th ed. Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh: S. Gogia, 2012. Print.9 “Honour Killings in India”, Daily Life in India. 16 June 2010. Retrieved 3 September201012It was after independence that Allahabad high court examined the question of inter-castemarriages in the case of Kastoori Devi V Chiranjit lal10. It came to the notice of thehonourable high court that the interpretation made by Madras high court was not a rationaleone as when smritis themselves have not banned the inter-caste marriages, how cancommentators ban inter-caste marriages and thus they validated the inter-caste marriages,overruling the madras high court judgment. The drawback in the judgment was thathonourable Allahabad high court overlooked the decision of privy-council that “in the eventof a conflict between the ancient text-writer and the commentators, the opinion of the lattermust be accepted11.In the case of Bai Gulab V. Jiwanlal12, honourable Bombay high court held anulomamarriages valid.Thus, there has been a constant conflict between courts in terms of inter-caste marriages. Butthis conflict was removed statutorily13 in Hindu marriage act, 1955 under section 5 of whichthe conditions of a valid Hindu marriage are stated.Later, in Lata Singh vs. State of U.P14., the honourable court held that the caste system inIndia is a curse for the nation and inter-caste marriages are the best way to curb thismenace15. It was further stated by the honourable justices that once being major andcompetent for marriage, the person has a choice to make on his own and his relatives at thelast can cut-off social relations but cannot give life threats.Sagotra marriages are not prohibited by law, whatever may be the view in olden times. TheHindu Marriage Disabilities Removal Act, 1946 was enacted with a view to dispel any doubtsin this regard16. The Act expressly declared the validity of marriages between the Hindus,belonging to the same „gotra? or „pravara? or different sub-divisions of same caste. The HinduMarriage Act does not prohibit sagotra or inter-caste marriages.