1. This appeal is directed against an order for inquisition made under the Lunacy Act, 1912. The proceedings were initiated on an application on the 27th March 1917 by one Nepal Chandra Pal, who stated that the husband of his sister, Moni Lal Seal, was a lunatic and that it was necessary to take proceedings under the Lunacy Act for the care of his person and for the management of his estate. The petition was duly verified by Nepal Chandra Pal, who affirmed the truth of the statements material for the institution of the proceedings The District Judge, notwithstanding the opposition of the lunatic and his brother, has directed an inquisition. That order has been assailed before us on the ground that the application should not have been at all entertained. Two questions consequently require consideration; namely, first, whether the petitioner was competent to present the application, and, secondly, whether the District Judge could take action on the verified petition presented to him.
2. As regards the first question, we observe that under Section 63 of the Lunacy Act, 1912, an application for inquisition under Section 62 may be made by any relative of the alleged lunatic, or by any public curator appointed under the Succession Property Protection Act, 1841, or by the Government Pleader, as defined in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, or, if the property of the alleged lunatic consists in whole or in part of land or any interest in land, by the Collector of the district in which it is situate The term 'relative,' as defined in Clause (11) of Section 3, includes any person related by blood, marriage or adoption The brother of the wife must, we think, be deemed a 'relative' within the meaning of this clause; he is plainly related by marriage to the husband of his sister, and it would not be right to restrict the term only to the husband or the wife. A question may hereafter possibly arise, what limitation, if any, should be placed 00 the term in a case of this description; it is not necessary for our present purpose to consider, whether every blood relation of the wife 13 a relative of the husband within the meaning of Section 3(11). But we may observe that the cases in England seem to show that a narrow construction should not be placed upon the expression. Eldon, L.C., in Ex parte Ogle (1808) 15 Ves. (Jun) 112 : 33 E.R. 697, held that even a stranger may be permitted, in a proper case, without regard to his motive, to move the Lord Chancellor for the institution of a proceeding and the issue of an inquisition. A similar view was taken by Cottenham, L.C., in In re Nesbitt (1874) 2 Ph. 245 : 41 E.R. 936, where he laid down the qualification that even amongst people who are connected by blood, although the carriage of the proceedings should ordinarily be given to the nearest of kms., yet the carriage, in the case of a content, might be given to the party who was moat likely to bring out the whole truth If the Indian Legislature had intended to put a restricted meaning upon the term relative, the interpretation clause in Section 314 of the English Lunacy Act, 1890, might well have been adopted, and it might have been stated that the term 'relative' means lineal ancestors or lineal descendants or lineal descendants of ancestors not more remote than great-grandfather and great-grandmother. In our opinion, the brother-in-law was unquestionably a relative within the meaning of Section 63 of the Lunacy Act, 1912.
3. As regards the second question, we have been pressed to hold that the application should not have been entertained by the District Judge, as it was not accompanied by two medical certificates, such as are required in similar cases on the original side of this Court. It has been urged in substance that in the absence of rules applicable to cases outside the presidency towns, the same procedure should be followed as has been prescribed by this Court for cases in Calcutta. We are unable to accept this contention as sound and reasonable. The Legislature deliberately made Section 60 applicable only to cases in the presidency towns. That section provides that the Court may, from time to time, make rules for the purpose of carrying into effect the provisions of Chapter IV in matters of lunacy. Under that section, this Court has framed a rule to the effect that every application on the original side should set out certain particulars and should be supported by duly verified certificates of at least two medical practitioners and by an application of the proposed guardian or manager. We are of opinion that this rule is not only not applicable to cases outside the presidency towns, but that it should not be made applicable to such cases. It is conceivable that, incases outside the Presidency towns, the production of two medical certificates of the kind mentioned may be impracticable in many instances. This is precisely a matter in which the conditions in the presidency towns and in places outside are so widely different that it would be most unreasonable to hold that rules intended for the Presidency towns should be extended to places outside.
4. It may be pointed out that under Section 141 of the Civil Procedure Code of 1908, the provisions of that Code are applicable to proceedings of this character; for that section lays down that the procedure provided in the Code in regard to suits shall be followed, as far as it can be made applicable, in all proceedings in any Court of civil jurisdiction. That this is a proceeding in a Court of civil jurisdiction is clear from the fact that the term 'District Court' is defined in Section 3(3) as the principal Civil Court of original jurisdiction in any area outside the local limits, for the time being, of the presidency towns. This view was first taken by Sir Barnes Peacock, C.J., in the case of Maharajah Jugunnath Sahee Deo v. Burra Lal Upendronath Sahee Deo 5 W.R. Mis. 54 and was followed in Busrut Ali Chowdhry v. Eshan Chunder Roy 7 W.R. 267 Consequently, all applications for the initiation of proceedings under the Lunacy Act 1912, must be verified in the same manner as is provided in the Code of Civil Procedure. This clearly furnishes a sufficient safeguard against the institution of vexatious or unfounded proceedings of the kind contemplated by Sir Richard Couch, C.J., in the case of Baboo Gunga Pershad Sahoo v. Musammat Wooma Koower 18 W.R. 326. If a proceeding is sought to be instituted upon a verified application which contains statements untrue to the knowledge of the petitioner, criminal proceedings of a deterrent character may easily be adopted against him. In the present case, the application was duly verified, and the District Judge was competent to take proceedings on its basis.
5. The result is that the order of the Court below is affirmed and this appeal dismissed with costs. We assess the hearing fee at one gold mohur.