The Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT), Mumbai recently ruled that that compensation for “loss of future prospects” can be granted for the death of a housewife, given the vital role housewives play within the household (Pravin Jagannath Bhalerao and ors v. MSRTC and ors).
MACT member SB Hedaoo passed the order while dealing with 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.
While dealing with the case, the Tribunal cited the Supreme Court ‘s recent judgment in the Rajendra Singh and others Vs National Ins.Co.Ltd. And ors.
In that case, the top court held that a housewife, who contributes to the welfare of the family and upbringing for the children, must be given prospects in as much as with the passage of time the utility of her services increases in the family. Referring to the said judgment, the MACT observed,
“Housewife who contribute for 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.”
The MACT clarified that the judgment in Rajendra’s case did not make any distinction between “skilled” and “unskilled housewife.”
The MACT, therefore, rejected arguments made by the opposite party that there was nothing to indicate that the deceased housewife was skilled to assume that there was any loss of future prospects.
The MACT went on to estimate the loss of notional income that could be attributed to the death of the housewife in this case, observing:
“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 has 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.