‘A son can inherit not just assets, but even liabilities of dad’

IT is not that a son can only inherit his father’s properties. He has to inherit his father’s liabilities too, the Madras High Court has ruled.

Published: 09th February 2018 02:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th February 2018 07:16 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: IT is not that a son can only inherit his father’s properties. He has to inherit his father’s liabilities too, the Madras High Court has ruled. Justice S Vaidyanathan made this observation, while disposing of a writ petition from A Ravichandran of Saidapet.

“The concept of pious (moral) obligation originated in dharmasastras, according to which non-payment of debt is a sin, which results in unbearable suffering in the next world. Just as Lord Rama was obligated to fulfil his deceased father’s promise to his step-mother, the petitioner herein is obligated to pay the compensation to the deceased worker’s family, which is imposed on his father,” the judge said.
The father was to pay compensation to the family of a worker, who died while engaged in cleaning the drainage of his house in Saidapet in 2001.

Challenging the order of Puzhithivakkam zonal officer of the Chennai Corporation dated August 21, 2017, asking him to pay `10 lakh as liability to Adhilakshmi, the legal heir of Narasimhan who died while cleaning the drainage, Ravichandran filed the petition.

He submitted that the compensation amount had already been paid by his father.
Adhilakshmi had kept quiet for more than 15 years. Only in 2016, the Corporation claimed the amount on her behalf and it is only an afterthought, he said and sought to quash the order.

Rejecting the contention, the judge said the petitioner and the official are jointly, severally and vicariously responsible to pay the compensation to the dependant of deceased. The judge, however, modified the order. He fixed it at `7.50 lakh. Of this, petitioner should pay `5 lakh and the remaining `2.50 lakh should be paid by the Corporation to the victim’s family. However, this will not preclude Adhilakshmi and other legal heirs from claiming the balance amount of `2.5 lakh, if they are able to establish that there is no delay on their part in claiming the amount, the judge said.

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