‘The idea that housewives do not add economic value to the home must be overcome’: SC
The Supreme Court said Tuesday that the concept that housewives do not work or do not add economic value to the home is “problematic” and must be overcome. The Court was dealing with the award of compensation in a motor accident case, in which the Delhi High Court had reduced the income of the deceased wife as a homemaker.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice NV Ramana found that setting an economic value on hard work and housewives’ work is difficult but nonetheless significant. Citing the 2011 census, Judge Ramana, in a concurrent but separate order, found that nearly 159.85 million women in India are engaged in “domestic work” compared to 5.79 million men.
A recent report published by the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation showed that, on average, women dedicate 299 minutes a day to unpaid domestic services for household members, compared to 97 minutes that men dedicate on average. She prepares food, manages the purchase of groceries and shopping needs, cleans and manages the house and its surroundings, performs decoration, repair and maintenance work and takes care of the children and the elderly in the home.
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“Despite all of the above, the conception that housewives do not work or that they do not add economic value to the home is a problematic idea that persists for many years and must be overcome,” added Judge Ramana.
The court, also composed of Judges S Abdul Nazeer and Surya Kant, unanimously agreed to increase the compensation awarded to car accident victims, Poonam, a housewife and her husband Vinod, to Rs 33.2 lakh instead of Rs 22 lakh. granted by the Superior Court.
The Court said that the theoretical income of a housewife should be determined by the courts taking into account the number of women who are engaged in this activity and the value of their work, service and sacrifices. Their activities contribute in a real way to the economic condition of the family and the nation’s economy and should be recognized as a reflection of our changing attitudes and mentalities, as well as towards the achievement of the constitutional vision of social equality and dignity of all people. .
The motor accident claim in the present case was brought by the two daughters of the couple who died in April 2014. The Motor Accident Claims Court awarded the daughters compensation of Rs 40.7 lakh, but in an appeal from the insurance company, it was reduced to 22 lakh by the High Court