It is trite law that a personal action or claim extinguishes with the death of a person. This principle has been appropriately captured in the common law maxim – “action personalismoritur cum persona”, which is the Latin equivalent for “a personal right of action dies with the person”. The maxim, however, has limited application on cases, such as (i) a defamatory action, (ii) criminal proceedings in lieu of personal injury not amounting to murder, (iii) where the grant of any relief in a suit would be nugatory owing to the death of a party, etc. However, where a judgement debtor dies before fully satisfying a money payment decree, the decree holder can apply to the court that had passed the decree to get the decree executed against the legal representatives and/ or legal heirs of the deceased judgement debtor. Here, the above mentioned common law maxim has no application. In this paper, we will discuss the extent of liability of a legal heir in such a situation where the judgement debtor has expired before the execution of a money decree.
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