Report No. 62
2.3. Complexity of the definition.-
The definition of dependant appears to be complex, but the complexity is mainly due to the legislative scheme. The compensation1 is to be distributed among the dependants. The intention of the legislature is that while in the case of certain relatives this benefit should be available irrespective of whether they are or are not dependent on the workman, in the case of certain other relatives2 the benefit should be available only if they are dependent on him. In the latter case, again, a distinction3 had to be made between relatives wholly dependent and those partly dependent on the workman. Apart from this, there are other factors leading to complexity, based on physical condition, age, sex and legitimacy.
For example, a son or daughter if infirm, though a major, had to be provided for. This is based on physical condition. In the case of sons, a distinction had to be made between minor sons and major sons. In the case of daughters, the distinction had to be primarily related to their married, or unmarried, status-but in certain respects, age was also regarded as material. Then, there is a distinction-unfortunate if one may say so4between legitimate and illegitimate children-not in every case but in certain respects. So long as these distinctions are retained, the room for simplification of the definition is naturally limited.
1. Section 8(5).
2. The distinction between those 'dependent and those not' dependent is not in harmony with the very expression defined.
3. These distinctions came into the Act by amendments of 1933 and 1938.
4. See para. 2.4, infra.