Notional earnings for homemakers in claims case alerts regulation believes of their sacrifices: SC


Satya Prakash
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 6

Recognising home-makers’ contribution to a household in terms of “economic value”, the Supreme Court has enhanced by Rs 11.20 lakh compensation awarded to heirs of a couple from Delhi which died in an accident in 2014.

A three-judge Bench of Justice NV Ramana, Justice S Abdul Nazeer and Justice Surya Kant enhanced the compensation of Rs 22 lakh awarded by the Delhi High Court in 2017 to the claimant – family members of the victims—to Rs 33.20 lakh. One of the deceased was a homemaker.

In a separate judgment, supplementing the main verdict penned by Justice Surya Kant, Justice Ramana sought to dispel the notion that homemakers don’t work or that they do not add economic value to the household.

Terming it a “problematic idea” that has persisted for many years, Justice Ramana said it must be overcome.

“A house maker often prepares food for the entire family, manages the procurement of groceries and other household shopping needs, cleans and manages the house and its surroundings, undertakes decoration, repairs and maintenance work, looks after the needs of the children and any aged member of the household, manages budgets and so much more. In rural households, they often also assist in the sowing, harvesting and transplanting activities in the eld, apart from tending cattle,” Justice Ramana noted.

“The issue of fixing notional income for a homemaker, therefore, serves extremely important functions. It is a recognition of the multitude of women who are engaged in this activity, whether by choice or as a result of social/cultural norms.

“It signals to society at large that the law and the Courts of the land believe in the value of the labour, services and sacrifices of homemakers. It is an acceptance of the idea that these activities contribute in a very real way to the economic condition of the family, and the economy of the nation, regardless of the fact that it may have been traditionally excluded from economic analyses,” he noted.

“Taking into account the gendered nature of housework, with an overwhelming percentage of women being engaged in the same as compared to men, the fixing of notional income of a homemaker attains special significance.

“It becomes a recognition of the work, labour and sacrifices of homemakers and a reflection of changing attitudes. It is also in furtherance of our nation’s international law obligations and our constitutional vision of social equality and ensuring dignity to all,” Justice Ramana said.

The claimants had to move the SC after the HC reduced the Rs 40.71 lakh awarded to them by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal for both deceased to 22 lakh.



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