There is no way to evaluate the services rendered by a homemaker (housewife) but the value must be recognised, the Supreme Court said on Monday.
A bench of justice GS Singhvi and justice SJ Mukhopadhyaya chided the National Consumer Commission for reducing the compensation awarded to a woman’s husband for medical negligence on the grounds that she was a homemaker. It also directed the nursing home to undertake liability for the negligence.
Accepting the contention of the husband’s advocate Himanshu Gupta, the bench restored the Chandigarh state consumer commission's November 2005 order that directed Santokh Nursing Home and one of its doctors to pay Rs 12.34 lakh as compensation with a monthly interest of 6%.
The national commission had in July 2009 drastically reduced it to just Rs 8 lakh without giving any cogent reason.
“The mere fact that the deceased was a homemaker was not sufficient to deny adequate compensation to her husband,” the bench ordered.
While the doctor has been ordered to pay Rs 3 lakh, as ordered by the state commission, the apex court said the nursing home would pay the balance.
It dismissed the hospital's contention that it was insured for just Rs 5 lakh and the doctor was liable for negligence.
Gupta contended that his client was 50 years old when she was operated for fibroids in the abdomen in June 2004. While it was a successful operation, the doctor left swabs inside her abdomen, resulting in septicemia that led to her death in November 2004.