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Indian Case Summary

State Of Haryana vs Raja Ram on 27 October, 1972 – Case Summary

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In the case of State Of Haryana vs Raja Ram on 27 October, 1972, the Supreme Court of India was faced with a complex case involving the Indian Penal Code (Act 45 of 1860), specifically Sections 361 and 366, which pertain to the scope of kidnapping from lawful guardianship. The case was presided over by a bench consisting of Dua, I.D., Shelat, J.M., and Chandrachud, Y.V.

Facts of the Case

The case revolved around a minor girl, the prosecutrix, who was persuaded by the respondent, Raja Ram, to leave her home and accompany him to meet another man, Jai Narain. Jai Narain had previously tried to become intimate with the prosecutrix and had been sending messages to her through Raja Ram after her father forbade him from visiting their house. On the day of the occurrence, Raja Ram visited the prosecutrix and asked her to visit his house, from where he later took her to Jai Narain.

Issues Raised

The primary issue was whether Raja Ram was guilty under Section 361, I.P.C., of the offence of kidnapping from lawful guardianship. The trial court convicted him, but the High Court set aside the conviction. The case was then appealed to the Supreme Court.

Court’s Observations and Judgement

The Supreme Court held that the acquittal of the respondent by the High Court was erroneous both on facts and in law. The court observed that the object of Section 361, I.P.C., is to protect minor children from being seduced for improper purposes and to protect the rights and privileges of guardians having lawful charge or custody of their minor wards. The court noted that the respondent’s action was the proximate cause of the prosecutrix going out of the keeping of her father, and, but for his persuasive offer to take her to Jai Narain, the prosecutrix would not have gone out of the keeping of her father. The respondent actively participated in the formation of the intention of the prosecutrix to leave her father’s house, and the facts that the respondent did not go to her house to bring her and that she was easily persuaded to go with him would not prevent the respondent from being guilty of the offence.

The court concluded that the respondent was guilty of the offence of kidnapping from lawful guardianship. The court also noted that the consent of the minor who is taken or enticed is wholly immaterial; it is only the guardian’s consent that would take a case out of the purview of the section. It is not necessary that the taking or enticing must be shown to have been by means of force or fraud. Persuasion by the accused person which creates willingness on the part of the minor to be taken out of the keeping of the lawful guardian would be sufficient to attract the section.

The Supreme Court’s decision in this case underscores the importance of the protection of minor children and the rights and privileges of their lawful guardians. It also highlights the broad scope of the term “kidnapping from lawful guardianship” under the Indian Penal Code.