The Hon’ble Supreme Court in Bondala Gajapathi Rao v. State of A.P., AIR 1964 SC 1645, had occasion to consider Section 431 of Cr.P.C. A special leave petition was filed in the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the accused died during pendency of special leave petition. The Hon’ble Court again reiterated the principle on which hearing of a proceeding may be continued after the death of an accused. It was held as under:
“The principle on which the hearing of a proceeding may be continued after the death of an accused would appear to be the effect of the sentence on his property in the hands of his legal representatives. If the sentence affects that property, the legal representatives can be said to be interested in the proceeding and allowed to continue it.” Ramesan v. State of Kerala, (2020) 3 SCC 45.
Widow even after remarriage continues to be the legal representative of her husband as there is no provision under the Hindu Succession Act or any other law laying down that after remarriage she does not continue to be the legal representative. The right of succession accrues immediately on death of her husband and in the absence of any provision, she cannot be divested from the property vested on her due to remarriage.
Hon’ble Apex Court in the case of Manjuri Bera v. Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd., AIR 2007 SC 1474, while considering the question as to whether a married daughter could maintain a claim petition in terms of Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act and whether she would be entitled to any compensation as she was dependent upon the deceased, considered the provisions of Sections 166 and 168 of the Motor Vehicles Act and Section 2(11) of the Code of Civil Procedure and relying upon the earlier observations of the Court in Custodian of Branches of BANCO National Ultramarion v. Nalini Bai Naique, (1989) 2 SCR 810, observed that the definition contained in Section 2(11) of the Code of Civil Procedure in inclusive in character and its scope is wide, it is not confined to legal heirs only. Instead it stipulates that a person who may or may not be legal heir competent to inherit the property of the deceased can represent the estate of the deceased person. It includes heirs as well as persons who represent the estate even without title either as executors or administrators in possession of the estate of the deceased. All such persons would be covered by the expression ‘legal representative’. As observed in Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation v. Ramanbhai Prabhatbhai, (1987) 3 SCR 404, a legal representative is one who suffers on account of death of a person due to motor accident and need not necessarily be a wife, husband parent and child.
Delhi High Court in Ram Kishan v. Meena Kumari, 2011 ACJ 1211, has held that remarriage will not deprive a person from claiming compensation for the death of her/his spouse. United India Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Smt. Baby, 2017 (2) AWC 1181.