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Indian Case Summary

S. Varadarajan vs State Of Madras on 9 September, 1964 – Case Summary

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In the case of S. Varadarajan vs State Of Madras, a landmark judgment was delivered by the Supreme Court of India on 9th September 1964. The case revolved around the interpretation of Section 361 of the Indian Penal Code (Act XLV of 1860) which deals with the concept of “taking out of keeping of the lawful guardian.”

Facts of the Case

The petitioner, S. Varadarajan, was accused of taking away a minor girl, Savitri, who was under the lawful guardianship of her father, S. Natarajan. Savitri, a college student, had developed a friendly relationship with Varadarajan, who lived next door. On learning about their relationship, Savitri’s father left her at a relative’s house to keep her away from Varadarajan. However, Savitri left the relative’s house, met Varadarajan, and they both went on to register an agreement to marry. They then lived together, visiting various places, until they were apprehended by the police following a complaint of kidnapping lodged by Savitri’s father.

Issues Raised

The case raised two significant issues. First, whether a minor can abandon the guardianship of their guardian, and second, whether Varadarajan’s actions amounted to “taking” Savitri out of the keeping of her lawful guardian.

Court’s Observations and Judgment

The court observed that Savitri, who was on the verge of attaining majority, had the capacity to know the full import of her actions. She had willingly accompanied Varadarajan, and there was no evidence of any inducement or active participation by Varadarajan in the formation of her intention to leave her father’s protection. The court noted that the law did not cast a duty on Varadarajan to return Savitri to her father’s house or even to tell her not to accompany him.

The court held that for an act to constitute “taking” under Section 361, there must be some kind of inducement or active participation by the accused in the formation of the minor’s intention to leave the guardian’s house. Merely facilitating the fulfillment of the minor’s intention to leave the guardian’s house does not amount to “taking.”

In conclusion, the court held that Varadarajan was not guilty of taking Savitri out of the keeping of her lawful guardian. The court emphasized that the provisions of Section 361 and other cognate sections of the Indian Penal Code are intended more for the protection of minors and persons of unsound mind themselves than the rights of the guardians of such persons.