Recognising the value of the labour, services and sacrifices of homemakers, the Supreme Court, while hearing an insurance dispute case, held that the calculation of notional income of homemakers must be based on their work, labour and sacrifices.
While delivering the judgement, by a three-judge bench of Justices NV Ramana, S Abdul Nazeer and Surya Kant, the Apex Court held:
“The sheer amount of time and effort that is dedicated to household work by individuals, who are more likely to be women than men, is not surprising when one considers the plethora of activities a housemaker undertakes. A housemaker 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,”
“The Court should ensure while choosing the method, and fixing the notional income, that the same is just in the facts and circumstances of the particular case, neither assessing the compensation too conservatively, nor too liberally,” the Supreme Court wrote in its judgement.
“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,” Justice Ramana wrote.
Earlier, the tribunal had ordered the insurance company to pay an amount of Rs. 40.71 lakhs as compensation to the family but the Delhi High Court reduced the amount to Rs. 22 lakhs. The Supreme Court, however, enhanced the amount and ordered the company to pay an amount of Rs. 33.20 lakhs with 9 percent interest from 2014.