Report No. 62
2.14. Re-marriage of widow.-
The definition of "dependant" includes certain widows. In an Andhra Pradesh case,1 it was held that a widow does not cease to be a dependant on her re-marriage. The Court observed:-
"There is no provision in the Act to the effect that subsequent events would affect the claim of the dependant to compensation. Further, a similar conclusion follows by a consideration of section 8, sub-section (5), which is in the following terms:
8(5) Compensation deposited in respect of a deceased workman shall, subject to any deduction made under sub-section (4), be apportioned among the dependants of the deceased workman or any of them in such proportion as the Commissioner thinks fit, or may, in the discretion of the Commissioner, be allotted to any one dependant."
1. R. Kotayya v. Di Nngavardhanamma, AIR 1962 AP 47, para. 19, (Sanjeeva Rao Nayadu J.).
2.15. In a Rajasthan case,1 the contention that the widow became debarred from claiming compensation on account of her re-marriage was rejected, "because in the Act there is no such provision that after re-marriage widow of the deceased would not be regarded as a dependant. Under section 21 of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956, a widow remains a dependant, within the meaning of that section so long as she is not re-married. But the definition of the 'dependant' under the Act is not so restricted and the fact that she has re-married will not disentitle her to claim compensation under the Act."
In respect of the widowed mother,2 the contention that a mother who has re-married cannot be considered to be a "widowed mother", did not appeal to the Madhya Pradesh High Court. The High Court gave the reason that the relationship of a "mother is not destroyed by re-marriage" and, moreover, the word "widowed" has been used in contra-distinction to the word "un-widowed".
1. R.B. Moondra & Co. v. Bhanwari, AIR 1970 Raj 111 (118), para. 19.
2. Intivabji v. Amirkhan, AIR 1959 MP 329, para. 4, (P.K. Tare J.).
2.16. With respect, we are unable to see the validity of the reasoning adopted in the decisions cited above. In our view, the widow should be debarred on re-marriage, since there would be some body to look after her. It would be useful to add an explanation to that effect, modifying the above judicial interpretation.
2.17. Minor attaining majority before order of Commission.-
We are also of the view that a person who attains majority before the order under section 8(5) is passed, should be debarred from compensation, if his entitlement as a dependant is on the basis of minority only.