Compromise Entered by Husband and Wife Regarding Amount of Maintenance – Later Suit Filed under Section 18 of Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act for Monthly Maintenance – Remedy Available
Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 – Section 18 – Maintenance of wife
(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, a Hindu wife, whether married before or after the commencement of this Act, shall be entitled to be maintained by her husband during her life time.
(2) A Hindu wife shall be entitled to live separately from her husband without forfeiting her claim to maintenance-
(a) if he is guilty of desertion, that is to say, of abandoning her without reasonable cause and without her consent or against her wish, or wilfully neglecting her;
(b) if he has treated her with such cruelty as to cause a reasonable apprehension in her mind that it will be harmful or injurious to live with her husband;
(c) if he is suffering from a virulent form of leprosy;
(d) if he has any other wife living;
(e) if he keeps a concubine in the same house in which his wife is living or habitually resides with a concubine elsewhere;
(f) if he has ceased to be a Hindu by conversion to another religion;
(g) if there is any other cause justifying her living separately.
(3) A Hindu wife shall not be entitled to separate residence and maintenance from her husband if she is unchaste or ceases to be a Hindu by conversion to another religion.
Excerpt from : Nagendrappa Natikar. Vs. Neelamma [Dated: March 15, 2013] [Court:Supreme]
2. The question that is raised for consideration in this case is whether a compromise entered into by husband and wife under Order XXIII Rule 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), agreeing for a consolidated amount towards permanent alimony, thereby giving up any future claim for maintenance, accepted by the Court in a proceeding under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), would preclude the wife from claiming maintenance in a suit filed under Section 18 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956
Para 9. We are in complete agreement with the reasoning of the Family Court and confirmed by the High Court that the suit under Section 18 of the Act is perfectly maintainable, in spite of the compromise reached between the parties under Order XXIII Rule 3 C.P.C. and accepted by the Court in its order dated 3.9.1994.
10. Section 125 Cr.P.C. is a piece of social legislation which provides for a summary and speedy relief by way of maintenance to a wife who is unable to maintain herself and her children. Section 125 is not intended to provide for a full and final determination of the status and personal rights of parties, which is in the nature of a civil proceeding, though are governed by the provisions of the Cr.P.C. and the order made under Section 125 Cr.P.C. is tentative and is subject to final determination of the rights in a civil court.
11. Section 25 of the Contract Act provides that any agreement which is opposed to public policy is not enforceable in a Court of Law and such an agreement is void, since the object is unlawful. Proceeding under Section 125 Cr.P.C. is summary in nature and intended to provide a speedy remedy to the wife and any order passed under Section 125 Cr.P.C. by compromise or otherwise cannot foreclose the remedy available to a wife under Section 18(2) of the Act.