The Supreme Court has held that the mother-in-law of a deceased is a dependent and can maintain a motor accident claim petition.
The appellants filed a claim petition before the MACT seeking compensation on account of the death of N. Venugopalan Nair in a motor vehicle accident which occurred on 20.06.2011. The appellants were the wife and mother-in-law of the deceased.
The High Court held that the mother-in-law was not a legal representative of the deceased. The High Court held that the MACT ought to have applied a split multiplier for the assessment of the dependency compensation.
A single bench of Justice S. Abdul Nazir held that the motherinlaw of the deceased is also a dependent and a “legal representative” under Section 166 of the MV Act, the total number of dependents left behind by the deceased is four. Hence, 1/4th of the income (actual salary + future prospects) should be deducted towards his personal expenses.
The court said that 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 mother in law may not be a legal heir of the deceased, but she certainly suffered on account of his death.
Case: N. Jayasree & Ors. v/s Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Company Ltd
Citation: Civil appeal no. 6451 of 2021
Date: October 25, 2021