In a landmark judgement, Supreme Court (SC) has said housewives are employees and their ‘gratuitous’ services to their husbands and children can’t be taken for granted.
It has also taken strong exception to the government clubbing them with prostitutes, beggars and prisoners in the Census. A bench of justices G.S. Singhvi and A.K. Ganguly reversed an Allahabad High Court verdict that awarded Rs 2.5 lakh to the family of a woman killed in a road accident because the victim was just a housewife.
The court had considered the victim’s monthly income as Rs 1,250 and put her in the category of non-workers. SC increased the compensation to Rs 6 lakh and asked the insurance company to pay Rs 50,000 to the family.
Slamming the government’s “insensitive approach”, the court said Parliament should revisit the Motor Vehicles Act and matrimonial laws to remove the existing “gender bias”.
In two separate, but concurring judgements, the SC Bench slammed the government for classifying about 36 crore women in the country as non-workers in the 2001 Census.
SC said the bias was “shockingly prevalent” since housewives had been equated with beggars, prostitutes and prisoners — a category not engaged in economically productive work.