SC : How to decide monetary value of house work done by wife?

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This is the upshot of a case recently decided by Supreme Court.

Judges said it is extremely difficult to decide in monetary terms value of multiple work done by a house a wife.

So far we have not quantified value of work done by housewife. But some rational formula has to be worked out.

In this case a house wife died in Motor accident case. It was claimed that in addition to doing housewife work, she was also earning Rs.5000/- per month by selling her paintings.

Tribunal gave Rs. 6 Lakh on basis of accepting her Rs. 5000/- from painting. No value given to her for her housewife work.

Insurance company challenged this order in High Court and said that there is no proof that she was selling painting. She was only a housewife and nothing more.

High Court accepted Insurance company’s argument and reduced compensation.

Relatives challenged this order in Supreme Court. Supreme Court expressed it anguish, set aside High Court order and asked Insurance Company to pay Rs 6 Lakh with interest as ordered by Tribunal.

However, Supreme Court was unable to frame any guidelines as to how to decide value of work done by a housewife.

To my mind, it means that some woman organization should do some research on this issue and should file a PIL in SC or in HC to lay down some guidelines and assist Courts to come to some rational formula. Or some points should be argued in Tribunal or High Courts in Such Cases.

In Sarla Verma Case (2009), it has now been made simple as to how to calculate compensation payable to victims of Motor Accident cases.

But in my view there is no case which lays down guidelines for how to calculate monetary value of work done by a house wife and how to calculate compensation when a housewife dies in motor accident. A housewife is not paid any salary for multiple works she does in house.

Is any woman organization listening and willing to do research and to assist Courts on this point? The data and research must point out to workable formula which court can apply in such cases.

Haresh Raichura
21/1/2012

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