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Husbands cannot avoid paying maintenance by making an agreement with their wives: Gauhati HC.


sonal Bhargava 

The Gauhati High Court has ruled that a wife's entitlement to collect maintenance from her husband under section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) is a statutory right, and that the husband cannot avoid his duty by signing a contrary arrangement. According to the High Court, such an agreement would be against public policy and hence void. Single-judge Justice Rumi Kumari Phukan held that an agreement by which the wife waived her right to claim maintenance would be a void agreement as against public policy. In this regard, the Court cited the Punjab and Haryana High Court's decision in Ranjit Kaur v. Pavittar Singh, which found that maintenance is a statutory right that the government has defined regardless of the parties' nationality, caste, or creed. Aside from being against public policy, such an arrangement would also be against the clear intent of this provision, according to the Court.

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