Kerala HC terms KSRTC’s ‘housewife not eligible for compensation’

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KOCHI: The Kerala High Court has held that the contention that a housewife earns no income and therefore is not eligible for compensation for disability and loss of amenities, is outrageous and beyond comprehension.

The observation has been made in case of an accident claim in connection to the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC).

The ruling has come while the Single Bench of Justice Devan Ramachandran was considering an appeal filed by a lady of 61 years.

The case pertains to the incident, where the lady travelling in a bus owned by the KSRTC on August 24, 2006, due to the rash application of brakes by its driver, got thrown from her seat and suffered grievous injuries.

The appellant asserts that she had to undergo extensive treatment, being bedridden and under extreme trauma, for a long period of time.

Therefore, she was justified in having approached The Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Irinjalakuda, seeking compensation of nearly Rs 2 lakhs, as the Tribunal has allowed her the grant of a mere, Rs 40,214.

While the appeal was under consideration, the learned counsel for the KSRTC submitted that “The compensation granted by the Tribunal is irreproachable, especially because the appellant was a housewife, without any income.”

Replying to this, the Court observed, “At the outset, I must say that the contentions of the KSRTC, that a housewife earns no income and therefore, not eligible for compensation for disability and loss of amenities, is outrageous and beyond comprehension. The role of a mother and wife at home is beyond comparison, and she is a true nation builder.”

“She invests her time in the family and ensures that the next generation is fostered with the highest levels of excellence; and her efforts can never be taken trivially or brushed aside, as being without monetary value. The lives of human beings are never tested on the scales of their monetary worth, but by their contribution and selflessness. In such perspective, the monetary compensation for an injury caused to a housewife will have to be measured and weighed on the same scales, as it would be had she been a working woman-if, not more,” the Court further observed.

Taking this into consideration, the Kerala High Court has granted her a compensation of Rs 1,64,654, instead of Rs 40,214 awarded earlier which she will be entitled to recover from the KSRTC, along with interest at the rate of 7.5 per cent, per annum as ordered by the Tribunal, from the date of the petition till realization, along with proportionate costs on the enhanced amounts. (ANI)

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