Section 16. Effect of death on or before the accrual of the right to sue

(1) Where a person who would, if he were living, have a right to institute a suit or make an application dies before the right accrues, or where a right to institute a suit or make an application accrues only on the death of a person, the period of limitation shall be computed from the time when there is a legal representative of the deceased capable of instituting such suit or making such application.

(2) Where a person against whom, if he were living, a right to institute a suit or make an application would have accrued dies before the right accrues, or where a right to institute a suit or make an application against any person accrues on the death of such person, the period of limitation shall be computed from the time7 when there is a legal representative of the deceased against whom the plaintiff may institute such suit or making such application.

(3) Nothing in sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) applies to suits to enforce rights of pre-emption or to suits for the possession of immovable property or of a hereditary office.

Section 16 – Effect of Death on or before the Accrual of the Right to Sue –

Sec. 16(1) provides that where a person who would, if he were living, have a right to institute a suit or make an application dies before the right accrues, or where a right to institute a suit, etc. accrues only on the death of a person, the period of limitation shall be computed from the time when there is a legal representative of deceased capable of instituting such suit, etc.

Sub-sec. (2) relates to cases in which such cause of action accrues against the estate of the deceased or accrues on the death of a person (i.e. when there is a legal representative of the deceased against whom the plaintiff may institute such suit or make such application.

Sec. 16 adopts the general principle that limitation cannot run unless there be a person who can sue or who can be sued. The words “a person capable of instituting such suit” in this section means a person not under such disabilities as are mentioned in Sec. 6. The expression “capable of suing” is the equivalent of “not under legal disability to sue”. Thus, the mere existence of a legal representative of the deceased is not sufficient for the purpose of Sec. 16.

The Section applies to suits and applications but not to appeals. The section also does not apply to suits to enforce rights of pre-emption and to suits for possession of immovable property or of a hereditary office [Sec. 16(3)], because the application of this section to such cases would tend to create insecurity of title. Sec. 16(3) ensures security of title. Sec. 16(1) does not apply to suits for possession in view of Sec. 16(3).

Sec. 16 is not applicable to cases where death occurs after right to sue accrues. Where a cause of action has accrued to or against a person during his life-time, time continues to run under statute, notwithstanding his death, whether or not a legal representative is in existence who could sue or be sued (See Section 9)

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