Report No. 85
9.7. Nature of right conferred by Fatal Accidents Act.-
The precise nature of the right conferred by the Fatal Accidents Act has been considered more than once1. The word "representative" in this Act is not equivalent to "heirs", since, by the Legal Representatives Suits Act passed on the same day, the right is given to bring a suit against heirs or representatives of the deceased wrong-doer. The word "representative" means and includes in this context all or any one of the person2 for whose benefit a suit under the Fatal Accidents Act can be maintained. They are the persons taking the place of the deceased in obtaining reparation for the wrong done.
Where there is no executor or administrator, or where there is one and he fails or is unwilling to sue, then the suit may be instituted by, and in the name of the representative of the person deceased, but only one suit is allowed to enforce the claims of all the persons beneficially entitled. The right of each beneficiary is only to receive compensation in proportion to the loss occasioned to him by the death of his deceased relative. Thus, in the Fatal Accidents Act, the expression "representative" means not the legal representative in the strict sense, but the wife, husband, parent and children of the deceased, and any one of them can also bring the suit for the benefit of others3.
1. Cf. Johnson v. Madras Railway Company, 1905 ILR 28 Cal 479.
2. Spouse, parent or child.
3. feet Kumari v. Chittagong Engineering & Electric Supply Co., AIR 1947 Cal 195 (198, 199); paras. 16-17.