In view of an accident caused by a State Transport Corporation bus leading to the death of a nun, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court allowed a Cristian Religious society to claim compensation for such death as it amounted to considerable loss to the organization. The Civil Miscellaneous Application filed by the State Transport Corporation was presented and heard before Hon’ble Justice A.M Basheer Ahamed which challenged the decision of the Motor Accident Claim’s Tribunal decision approving of the claim put forth by the claimant organization.
The counsel for the appellant argued that a claimant religious organization cannot be a legal representative of the deceased claiming compensation due to death in the accident and there was an employer and employee relationship between the deceased and claimant and one employer cannot be a legal heir of the deceased employee. The counsel for the claimant organisation relied upon the judgment of the Supreme Court in Montfort Brothers of St.Gabriel & Anr Vs. United India Insurance & Anr., etc. 2014 (1) CTC 886 wherein it was held that a religious organization may suffer from a considerable loss due to the death of a voluntary worker on the basis of the definition of ‘legal representative’ given in Section 2(11) of the Civil Procedure Code which reads as follows:
“legal representative” means a person who in law represents the estate of a deceased person, and includes any person who intermeddles with the estate of the deceased and where a party sues or is sued in a representative character the person on whom the estate devolves on the death of the party so suing or sued;
Upon adjudicating on the arguments placed before it, the Hon’ble Court observed as follows:
“12. There is no evidence on the side of the appellant / respondent in the claim petition that the deceased was having other legal representative on the date of the accident. Considering the above facts and also the decision of the Apex Court reported in (2014 (1) CTC 886) (cited supra), relied on by the respondent herein, the respondent has locus standi and also entitled to maintain the claim petition, as legal representative of the deceased Sister of the claimant religious organization.”
The Court dismissed the Civil Miscellaneous Appeal and upheld the order of the Tribunal and directed the appellant to deposit the money as directed by the Tribunal in accordance with directions of this Court.
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