The Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (hereinafter referred to as “MACT”) vide its judgement dated 07.12.2020 held that given the vital role played by housewives in Indian households, compensation for “loss of future prospects” can be granted for the death of a housewife.
The said judgement was pronounced by S.B. Hedaoo (Member) in a motor accident claim moved by the husband and children of a woman who had died in 2014 following an accident involving a rash bus driver.
Referring to the judgement passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of Rajendra Singh and others Vs National Ins.Co.Ltd. And ors., wherein, he top court held that a housewife, who contributes to the welfare of the family and upbringing for the children, must be given future prospects in as much as with the passage of time the utility of her services increases in the family.
Stating that the judgement did not distinguish between “skilled” and “unskilled” housewives, MACT, , rejected arguments made by the opposite party that there was nothing to indicate that the deceased housewife was skilled in order to assume that there was any loss of future prospects.
Stressing upon the estimate of the loss of national income attributed to the death of housewife, S.B. Hadaoo observed as follows, “As the deceased is held to be a housewife her notional income will have to be considered since she was not earning actually. Housewife discharges many important duties and without her complete house is not possible …The housewife renders very important duty. She looks after her husband and children passionately round the clock and creates the comfort zone in the house. In the absence of her in a house for a single day realises her importance to the other family members. Therefore, the value of services of any housewife to the family are really invaluable.”
The Tribunal proceeded to fix the housewife’s notional income at Rs 5,000 per month.
Applying relevant multipliers, the MACT proceeded to estimate that Rs.10,61,064 was payable as compensation for her death under various heads. The Tribunal further concluded that an interest of 8% per annum was payable on this compensation amount.
The MACT ordered that the husband and older son will each receive 30% each of the compensation, whereas the younger son will receive the remaining 40%. The claim made by the deceased woman’s parents-in-law was, however, rejected.