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[Section 125 CrPC] Husband cannot escape liability to pay maintenance by entering into agreement with wife: Gauhati High Court

The trial court rejected the argument of the husband regarding adultery stating that that the wife had such feelings for another person prior to her marriage and not after marriage with the husband and thus, it couldn’t be said that she was leading an adulterous life.

Despite that, the trial court ruled against the wife leading to the present appeal before the High Court.

The High Court noted that the wife was living at her parental house since January 2017 and that the husband hasn’t provided any maintenance to her since then despite the fact that she was pursuing her education.

“Peculiarly, in his cryptic written objection, he has not narrated any detail as to under what circumstances, she began to reside in the parental house and as to why the FIR was also filed against him and simply it is stated that the matter has been settled between the parties. Such an evasive denial on the part of the husband itself indicates that he has not taken proper care of his wife, while she was in her parental house,” the Court said.

The judge further noted that plea of the husband itself revealed that he had not bothered to maintain his legally married wife though he admitted that she was a college student with no source of income.

“More so, her husband did not even hesitate to raise the plea of adultery, simply on the expression she recorded in her diary that she had some inclination to another person, prior to her marriage,” the bench added.

As regards the agreement, the Court said the same would be void in view of Section 125 CrPc.

The judge noted that the husband was a teacher in a school and was earning around ₹22,000 per month.

“Going by the provisions of the Act and the pleadings and evidence on record and legal proposition, it can be held that the husband has not been able to prove that he has no sufficient means to discharge his obligation and that he did not neglect or refused to maintain his wife, whereas the wife has been able to prove that there is neglect on his part to maintain his legally married wife,” the bench said.

It, therefore, set aside the trial court order and directed the trial court to consider the matter afresh.

“Both the parties are directed to appear before the learned trial Court on June 14, 2022, to receive further order from the court,” the High Court said.

Source: Barandbench

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