DATE OF JUDGMENT: 5th January 2021
JUDGES: Justice N.V. Ramana, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer, Justice Surya Kant
- Kirti & anr. (Petitioner)
- Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. (Respondent)
SUMMARY: The Supreme Court on Tuesday referenced that the estimation of a lady's work at home is pretty much as equivalent as her significant other who is an office specialist. The court was managing an instance of a couple who lost their lives when a car hit their scooter in April 2014 in Delhi. Considering something similar, the Supreme Court expanded the compensation to be given to the family members of the person in question.
- The present civil appeal was filed by the surviving dependents of the two deceased in which they have challenged the judgment which was passed by the Delhi High Court.
- The Delhi High Court has reduced the amount given for the motor accident compensation which was awarded by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal under Section 168 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, and decreased it from Rs. 40.71 Lakhs to Rs 22 Lakhs.
- The accident occurred in 2014 when the deceased couple was hit by a car. The couple passed away due to their injuries on that day itself. The FIR was filed against the car driver for rash and negligent driving. Instantaneously, the two daughters and septuagenarian parents of the deceased also filed the claim petition under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act.
- The tribunal held the driver of the car guilty for rash driving which made the insurance company liable towards the family of the dead for the payment of the reliable compensation. The tribunal also took into account the various factors and gave the sum of Rs 40.71 Lakhs to the claimants.
The issue analyzed by the court –
- Whether the amount of compensation granted by the tribunal should be reduced to half of it on the grounds of contributory negligence?
- Whether the value of housemakers should be considered equal to their office-going husbands?
- Section 279 of Indian Penal Code, 1860: defines rash driving or riding on a public way.
- Section 304 of Indian Penal Code, 1860: states punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
- Section 166 of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988: states for the application for compensation.
- Section 168 of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988: defines the award for the Claims Tribunal.
ANALYSIS OF THE JUDGEMENT
The bench of Justice N V Ramana and Justice Surya Kant analyzed-
- They expanded the remuneration by Rs 11.20 lakh to Rs 33.20 lakh to be paid to the father of the deceased by the insurance agency with a 9% yearly premium from May 2014.
- Justice Ramana extended the thought originally embraced by the SC in the Lata Wadhwa case in 2001 when it had managed the issue of remuneration for casualties of a fire during a capacity and had decided that it ought to be allowed to housewives based on administrations delivered by them in the house.
- He said according to the 2011 Census, almost 159.85 million ladies preferred to be "housemakers" as their principal occupation, as against just 5.79 million men.
- He likewise referred to a new report of the National Statistical Office named 'Time Use in India-2019' which proposed that, on a normal, housemakers go through almost 299 minutes per day on neglected and unpaid domestic services for family individuals versus 97 minutes by men.
- Similarly, in a day, women go through 134 minutes on neglected and unpaid providing caretaking services for family individuals when contrasted with 76 minutes by men.
- The absolute time spent on these exercises each day makes the image in India even clearer — women on a normal burn through 16.9% and 2.6% of their day on unpaid domestic and caretaking services for family individuals separately, while men burn through 1.7% and 0.8%, Justice Ramana said.
- 7. He said that "The sheer measure of time and exertion that is devoted to family work by people, who are bound to be women than men, isn't amazing when one considers the plenty of exercises a homemaker embraces. A housemaker often makes food for the whole family, handles the procurement of groceries and also other shopping needs of the household, cleans and manages the house and also its surroundings, undertakes decoration, repairs, and all the maintenance work also looks after the needs of the children or any aged member of the house and so much more.
- 8. Justice Ramana said that in rural households, housemakers frequently also assist in planting, reaping, and transplanting exercises in farms, apart from tending dairy cattle. The issue of fixing notional pay for a housemaker, hence, served an extremely important function and was an acknowledgment of the large number of women occupied with these activities, whether by choice or by social/cultural norms, the Supreme Court said.
The Bench expressed that "It signs to society everywhere that the law and courts of the land have faith in the estimation of the work, administrations, and penances of homemakers. It is an acknowledgment of the possibility that these exercises contribute undeniably to the monetary state of the family, and the economy of the country, paying little mind to the way that it might have been customarily prohibited from financial examinations. It is an impression of changing perspectives and attitudes and of our global law commitments. What is more, in particular, it is a stage towards the sacred vision of social fairness and guaranteeing respect of life to all people"
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