Difference between Agnatic and Cognatic Relationship

In Atmaram Abhimanji v. Bajirao, 62 IA 139 the Plaintiff was an agnate in the 22nd degree while the rival claimant was a Bandhu and so not beyond the seventh degree. It was contended that the plaintiff being an agnate was to be preferred. This view was accepted by the High Court. On appeal to the Privy Council, the decision was reversed. Sir Shadilal pointed out that agnatic Samanodaka relationship extends from 8th to 14th Degree only and not beyond.

Now under the Act of 1956 the old classification of sagotra and samanodakas has been abandoned. Agnates are the relations who have come in their place. This agnatic relationship is blood relationship (or by adoption) wholly through males. No outer limit is fixed in regard to the number of degrees for such relationship. All that is required is that there should be no female link. So the limit recognised by Sir Shadilal in the case noted above is removed.

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The place of Bandhus is now taken by cognates. Bandhus used to take after the samanodakas. Now cognates take after the Agnates. Heritable bandhu relationship was confined to seven degrees on the father’s side and five degrees on the mother’s side. Ramachandra v. Vinayak, 42 Cal. 384 PC.

Now cognatic relationship which has superseded Bandhu relationship is wider. The limit of degree is removed. Two persons are cognates of each other if they are related by blood (or adoption) but not wholly through males.

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