1. This revision petition raises an interesting question of law. The petitioner herein is one Rajalakshmi who is an insane person. She is represented by her next friend, the natural father Murugesa Pillai, who filed a petition praying that the respondent (Kothandapani Pillai) may be directed to pay a monthly allowance of Rs. 100 for her maintenance from the date of the application, namely, 27-10-1967. The main averments in her petition are that she was married 27 years ago to the respondent. They lived for ten years and they begot a son. There is no maintenance amount claimed for and on behalf of the son. About 17 years back he married a second wife. Subsequently the petitioner lost here mental capacity. She was given medical treatment in the house of her husband and also in the house of her parents. Her condition did not improve. The respondent did not take any interest in her and neglected the petitioner and finally brought her down to the house of her parents and left her there. Since then she has been under the care and protection of her father. Her case is that her husband-respondent herein has got to provide for her maintenance.
2. On behalf of the respondent a preliminary objection was raised about the maintainability of the petition. The respondent's objection is that proceedings must be taken under the Lunacy Act and not under Section 488, Crl. P. C. which does not provide for any action in the case of a lunatic wife. This objection appears to have been upheld by the Additional First Class Magistrate, Vellore, on the basis of the interpretation place on Section 15(1) of the Indian Lunacy Act, 1912, which provides for action in a different set of circumstances found in the said section itself. There was no justification by the First Class Magistrate to accept the position that in the circumstances mentioned in the petition for maintenance there is any justification to have recourse to Section 15 of the Indian Lunacy Act. In my view the section is inapposite and the said section is misapplied to the position of the petitioner made out by the averments in the maintenance petition. Section 90 of the Indian Lunacy Act reads as follows:--
'The liability of any relative or person to maintain any lunatic shall not be taken away or affected by any provision contained in this Act.'
Therefore it is very clear that the provisions of the Indian Lunacy Act (Act IV of 1912) of not have any overriding effect over the provision of Section 488, Crl. P. C. In short the provisions of this Act do not render Section 488 Crl. P. C. otiose. I accept the argument of the learned counsel Miss Malini in this case. The point of law advanced by her is substantial. The revision petition is allowed.
3. The Additional First Class Magistrate, Vellore, is directed to proceed with the enquiry in this petition as expeditiously as possible.
4. Revision allowed.