What is the Sagotra Prohibition as Applied to Widow Re-Marriage under Hindu Law?

The Hindu Widow’s Remarriage Act, 1856, permitted the remarriage of a widow. So when a widow re-marries how is the rule against Sagotra marriages to be applied?

In Radhanath Mukerji v. Shakti Pada Mukerji, AIR 1936 All. 624, a widow re-married in the gotra of her father. Though she was bom in this gotra, on marriage she went into another gotra. So her re-marriage in her father’s gotra is not to be regarded as a Sagotra marriage.

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So it was held to be valid. In Smt. Rewa v. Galhar Singh, AIR 1961 MP 164, a widow remarried in her husband’s gotra. Naik J., held that for purposes of remarriages only her original gotra i.e., father’s gotra is to be regarded. He thinks that the moment re-marriage is contemplated; there is a reverter to her father’s gotra. On this ground he upheld the validity of the marriage. With great respect to the learned judge, it has to be observed that the basis for such reverter to the father’s gotra is not conceivable.

If Allahabad view is right, the view of the Madhya Pradesh High Court cannot be correct and vice versa. Perhaps a safe rule, therefore, would be for the remarrying widow to avoid both her father’s gotra and husband’s gotra. The problem, however, is now merely academic for under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, Sagotra marriages are permissible and so in whichever gotra she marries, no objection can be raised on the ground of non-observance of this ancient prohibition against Sagotra marriages.