September 24, 2023

Madras High Court Recognizes Homemaker’s Contributions and Upholds Equal Property Rights

The Madras High Court has emphasized the significant contributions of homemakers and affirmed their entitlement to an equal share in properties acquired by their spouses. The court stated that the role of a homemaker is a demanding, round-the-clock job that encompasses various skills and responsibilities. Justice Krishnan Ramasamy, while delivering the verdict, stressed that a homemaker’s efforts and sacrifices should not be undervalued or disregarded.

The court acknowledged that a homemaker fulfills a multitude of roles, including being a manager, cook, accountant, and even a home doctor providing basic medical support to family members. The judge highlighted that the nature of this job is such that it requires continuous dedication without any holidays, distinguishing it from the conventional working hours of an earning husband.

Justice Ramasamy asserted that a homemaker’s contribution is invaluable and integral to the family’s well-being. Therefore, in cases where properties are purchased by the husband using his earnings, the homemaker is entitled to an equal share. The judge emphasized that the property should be seen as acquired through the joint efforts and savings of both spouses, regardless of whether it is registered in the name of the husband or wife.

The ruling further stated that it is unjust for a woman to be left with nothing to call her own after dedicating herself to the welfare of the family, including caring for children, in-laws, and other family members. While there is currently no legislation specifically recognizing the contributions of homemakers, the court expressed its commitment to recognizing and rewarding their sacrifices in appropriate cases.

The judgment was delivered in response to a 2016 second appeal filed by an individual against his estranged wife. The couple had been married since 1965 and had three children. The High Court’s decision ensures that both husbands and wives, whether working or homemakers, or possessing property ownership, must equally share the assets acquired during the marriage.

This landmark ruling by the Madras High Court reinforces the importance of recognizing and valuing the contributions made by homemakers in the context of marital property division. It sets a precedent for acknowledging the dedication, labor, and sacrifices of individuals who choose to focus on maintaining the household and nurturing the family, ensuring that they receive a fair and equitable share in the assets accumulated during the course of the marriage.