Legal representative IΙ Section 2(11) ΙI CPC

legal representative under s.2(11) of CPC

Definition of legal representative under S. 2 (11) of CPC

“Legal representative” as defined in Civil Procedures Code, under s.2(11), means a person who in law represents the estate of a deceased person and includes any person who intermeddles with The estate of the deceased and where the party sues or is prosecuted in a representative manner by the person to whom the estate is transferred upon the death of the party so suing or sued. 

The definition is inclusive and broad in nature, not limited to legal heirs, but rather defines a person who may or may not be the heir, who is eligible to inherit the deceased’s estate but who must represent the deceased’s estate. This includes all heirs and individuals holding the assets either without ownership, even as executors even administrators of the deceased’s estate. All such persons are covered by the expression “legal representative.” If there are many heirs, then those in good faith are also entitled to represent the deceased’s estate, without fraud or collusion.

who is legal representative in CPC?

When we think about who can be a person qualified to become a legal representative according to the law? In answer to the question, we can say that any person can represent a deceased person’s estate. There is no provision here for a legal representative to receive any of a dead person’s property. If through the will, a person obtains any part of the estate, he may be eligible to represent his estate as a legal representative according to law.

In the case of Andhra Bank Ltd vs. R. Srinivasan and others, (1962 AIR 232), The supreme court held that the legal representative is a “Person representing the estate of the deceased” in law, that the estate does not mean the entire estate, and that even a legatee who obtains only part of the estate of the deceased under a will can be said to represent the estate of the deceased and is, therefore, a legal representative under S. 2 (11) CPC.[1].

Here are the other things we must know that only the deceased’s legal heir may be a legal representative? No, as it has a significant meaning according to the legal representative’s interpretation of that. Not only is there identified as a legal heir but whoever receives the deceased’s property may become an authorized representative.

In the case of Custodian Branches of BANCO National Ultramarino vs. Nalini Bai Naique, (AIR 1989 SC 1589), Hon’ble the Supreme Court held that “The definition in Section 2(11) CPC is inclusive in character and its scope is broad, not limited to solely legal heirs. Instead, it stipulates that the deceased ‘s assets must be held by a person who may or may not be a legal heir, entitled to inherit the deceased ‘s assets. It includes both the heirs and the persons representing the estate, even without the title, either as executors or as administrators in possession of the estate of the deceased. The term ‘legal representative’ would apply to all such persons.”[2].

In the case of Dhool Chand vs. Ganpat Lal and another, (AIR 1957 Raj 283), the Rajasthan high court held that, In order to determine whether or not a person is a legal representative, it is not necessary to inquire immediately whether or not the deceased person has left any estate and to what extent. It may be the subject of a subsequent investigation to determine the extent of the legal representative’s liability. In law, an individual, who is the heir of a deceased, represents the estate of a deceased, except in certain special cases, someone other than the heir may represent a deceased person’s estate, such as administrator or executor. The sons of the deceased judgment-debtor would, therefore, be his legal representatives, irrespective of whether or not the deceased left any estate.[3].

who can be a legal representative under CPC?

As discussed above, who is a legal representative in the CPC? There is, of course, one question that arises after that answer, who can be a legal representative? Most of the answer is similar to the above.

Now it is true that anyone can be a legal representative and, in order to satisfy that requirement, it is not necessary for a person to be a legal heir to the deceased.

In some circumstances, an intermediary is involved as an agent in court proceedings, and this type of rights is limited only to the conduct of court proceedings. It does not confer the right of legal heirship to the property of the deceased, nor does the decision of the court on that basis involve res judicata.

In the case of Kalu Ram s/ o, Shri Ganga Ram Petitioner vs. Charan Singh and another, (AIR 1994 RAJASTHAN 31), the Rajasthan high court held that Legal representatives may also be legal persons other than legal heirs An intermeddler with the estate of the deceased may also be allowed to represent the estate for the purposes of proceedings pending before the court. The decision as to who is the legal representative for the purposes of the proceedings is necessarily limited for the purposes of the proceedings and can not have the effect of conferring any rights. Heir to the estate of the deceased. Neither does the decision on this issue apply to res judicata on the question of heirship in subsequent proceedings. Consequently, the inquiry of the right of inheritance is not a determining factor in deciding whether or not a person is a legal representative for the purposes of proceedings before the court. What is required to be considered is whether the person claiming to represent the estate of the deceased has sufficient interest in the conduct of the dispute? In the case of contending applicants, it may also be necessary to decide which of the competing applicants is the person entitled to represent the estate for the purposes of the particular proceedings. Even the decision does not result in itter se right being decided to succeed the deceased ‘s property and that right has to be defined according to the law in independent proceedings.[4].

In the case of Suraj Mani and another vs. Kishori Lal, (AIR 1976 HIMACHAL PRADESH 74), The Himachal Pradesh High Court held that Legatee is a legal representative-In Section 2(11) the concept of ‘legal representative’ is very broad. It will include a person seeking to represent a deceased person’s estate on the basis of a will said to be executed in his favor. One such individual must sufficiently represent the estate.[5].


A person in possession of a person’s estate which intermingles with a deceased’s estate is a legal representative even if they are not the deceased ‘s legal heirs. It is clear from S.2 (11) that the definition of the word “legal representative” is broad and comprehensive and covers two separate categories. Firstly, heirs or persons; who by statute hold the deceased ‘s wealth. At the same time, however, with them and in the class itself, there is every person who intertwines with the estate of the deceased. Such a person is also a legal representative.


(1) 1962 AIR 232

(2) AIR 1989 SC 1589

(3) AIR 1957 Raj 283

(4) AIR 1994 RAJASTHAN 31


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