The division bench of Supreme Court presided by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari in the case of National Insurance Company Limited Vs. Birender and Ors. stated that a major married and earning son has a right to claim compensation under the Motor Vehicle Act.
The present case is an appeal from the Punjab and Haryana High Court. In the present case, the deceased i.e Smt. Sunheri Devi has died in a motor vehicle accident. The Dependents of the deceased i.e Respondent no. 1 and 2 who are the major married and earning sons of the deceased has applied to claim compensation. The main contention that was raised by the counsel for the appellant is that the respondents are the major married and earning sons of the deceased and they are not dependent on the income of the deceased.
The Supreme Court while analysing the above question looked into section 166 of the Motor Vehicle Act. which states that who can file an application for compensation. According to Section 166 (c), it states that, “where death has resulted from the accident, by all or any of the legal representatives of the deceased.” The Court has also analysed the definition of “Legal Representative” that is given under section 2(11) of Code of Civil Procedure. The Supreme Court stated that, “The legal representatives of the deceased could move application for compensation by virtue of clause (c) of Section 166(1). The major married son who is also earning and not fully dependant on the deceased, would be still covered by the expression “legal representative” of the deceased. The Supreme Court has also referred to the Manjuri Bera (Supra) case in which it was stated that, “that even if there is no loss of dependency, the claimant, if he was a legal representative, will be entitled to compensation.” Therefore, the Supreme Court stated that, “It is thus settled by now that the legal representatives of the deceased have a right to apply for compensation. Having said that, it must necessarily follow that even the major married and earning sons of the deceased being legal representatives have a right to apply for compensation and it would be the bounden duty of the Tribunal to consider the application irrespective of the fact whether the concerned legal representative was fully dependant on the deceased and not to limit the claim towards conventional heads only.”
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