This week, India’s Supreme Court delivered a crucial judgment that will progressively inform our notions of homemakers’ work, sacrifice, and subsequently the economic value of both. In an insurance dispute case that sought to put a number on how much the heirs of a deceased couple should be compensated — a decision largely based on their income, among other considerations — a three-judge bench in the Supreme Court included a “notional income” for the deceased woman, who was a homemaker.
The bench said even if the homemaker didn’t receive an income for her work, it still had economic value, which should be calculated in such cases. After a High Court sought to reduce the compensation the victims’ relatives would receive, the Supreme Court increased the amount awarded to the claimants by Rs. 11.20 lakhs, reaching a sum total of Rs. 33.20 lakhs.