Understanding the Degrees of Prohibited Relationship under the Special Marriage Act, 1954

The Special Marriage Act, 1954, provides a legal framework for marriages that transcend religious and cultural boundaries. Like the Hindu Marriage Act, it outlines the degrees of prohibited relationship to ensure the sanctity and legality of unions. Let’s explore the specifics laid out in the Act:

Degrees of Prohibited Relationship

According to the Special Marriage Act, a man and any person mentioned in Part I of the First Schedule, and a woman and any person mentioned in Part II of the said Schedule, are within the degrees of prohibited relationship.


1. Relationship Inclusions

  • Relationship by Blood: This encompasses both full and half-blood relationships, recognizing descendants from a common ancestor.
  • Illegitimate Relationships: Acknowledges both legitimate and illegitimate blood relationships.
  • Adoptive Relationships: Considers relationships formed through adoption as well as by blood.

2. Full Blood and Half Blood

  • Full Blood: Two persons are related by full blood if they descend from a common ancestor by the same wife.
  • Half Blood: They are related by half blood if they descend from a common ancestor but by different wives.

3. Uterine Blood

  • Two individuals are related by uterine blood if they descend from a common ancestress but by different husbands.

4. Ancestor and Ancestress

  • Ancestor: Includes the father.
  • Ancestress: Includes the mother.


Understanding the degrees of prohibited relationship is essential for individuals planning to marry under the Special Marriage Act. By delineating specific parameters and considerations, the Act aims to prevent unions that may be deemed culturally or socially inappropriate due to close familial ties.


The Special Marriage Act, 1954, serves as a comprehensive legal framework for marriages that transcend religious, cultural, and social boundaries.

By defining the degrees of prohibited relationship and providing explanations for various types of relationships, the Act ensures that marriages are conducted within the bounds of legality and societal acceptance.

This understanding is crucial for individuals embarking on marital unions under this Act, ensuring compliance with legal requirements and societal norms.

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