"Dependent" Mother-In-Law Legal Representative Of Son-In-Law: Top Court

The matter is related to the death of a man in a road accident and the compensation given by the Motor Accidents Tribunal regarding this incident.

'Dependent' Mother-In-Law Legal Representative Of Son-In-Law: Top Court

The Supreme Court accepted the appeal filed against the Kerala High Court's decision.

New Delhi:

The Supreme Court today held that a mother-in-law cannot be the legal heir of her son-in-law but can be treated as his legal representative for claiming compensation under the Motor Vehicles Act. The top court disagreed with Kerala High Court's view that she cannot be his legal representative.

The matter is related to the death of a mathematics professor, N Venugopalan Nair, in a road accident on June 20, 2011, and the compensation given by the Motor Accidents Tribunal regarding this incident.

52-year-old Mr Nair lived with his wife, two daughters, and mother-in-law.

The Kerala High Court had reduced the compensation given to the family saying that the tribunal did not properly assess the dependency compensation.

The Supreme Court accepted the appeal filed against the High Court's decision and directed the insurance company to pay Rs 85.81 lakh to the aggrieved family. It observed that the material on record clearly established that the mother-in-law was residing with the victim of the accident and his family members, and was dependent on the son-in-law for her accommodation and daily needs.

"It is not uncommon in Indian Society for the mother-in-law to live with her daughter and son-in-law during her old age and be dependent upon her son-in-law for her maintenance", the court said. The verdict was delivered by a bench of Justices S Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari.

The court said that she cannot be the legal heir but is definitely the affected party in the death of Mr Nair. "In such a situation, we have no hesitation to hold that she is a 'legal representative' under section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act and is entitled to file a claim petition," it said.

.