State of Haryana v. Raja Ram

This case analysis is written by Nikhat Fatima Chaudhary currently pursuing Law from Rizvi Law College.

Case Number

Cr. A. No. 21.4 of 1969.

Equivalent Citations

1973 AIR 819, 1973 SCR (2) 728

Bench

DUA, I.D.

Decided On

27/10/1972

Relevant Act/Section

Section 361

Section 366

Brief Facts and Procedural History

Jai Narain, the co-accused in the case, had tried to become intimate with the prosecutrix, Santosh Rani girl of fourteen, and to seduce her to go and live with him. When her father forbade to visit his house, Jai Narain started sending messages to the prosecutrix through the respondent. On the day of the occurrence, the respondent Raja Ram, went to see the prosecutrix and asked her to visit his house, and later, on the same day, sent his daughter to fetch the prosecutrix. When she came, Raja Ram  informed her that she should come to his house at about midnight when she would be taken to Jai Narain. That night, when Santosh Rani came to his house, the respondent took her with him and handed her over to Jai Narain.On the question, whether Raja Ram was guilty under S.361, I.P.C., of the offence of kidnaping from lawful guardianship, the trial Court convicted him, but the High Court set aside the conviction. The High Court was of the opinion that, The girl left the house of her father at midnight of her free will. Raja Ram, appellant, did not go to her house to persuade her and to bring her from there.Once the act of going on the part of the girl is voluntary and conformable to her own wishes and the conduct of the :girl leaves no doubt that it is so, Raja Ram appellant could not be held to have either taken or seduced the girl”.

Issues Raised before the Court

  • Whether Raja Ram is guilty under Section 361 IPC?

Ratio of the Case

The Supreme Court held that the object of section 361 seems as much to protect the minor children from being seduced for improper purposes as to protect the rights and privileges of guardians having the lawful charge or custody of their minor wards. The words “takes or entices any minor out of the keeping of the lawful, guardian of such minor” in s. 361, are significant. The use of the word “keeping” in the context connotes the idea of charge, protection, maintenance and control, further the guardian’s charge and control-appears to be compatible with the independence of action and movement in the minor, the guardian’s protection and control of the minor being available, whenever necessity arises On plain reading of this section the consent of the minor who is taken or enticed is wholly immaterial : it is only the guardian’s consent which takes the case out of its purview. Nor is it 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. Raja Ram’s action was the proximate cause of the prosecutrix going out of the keeping of her father and indeed but for Raja Ram’s persuasive offer to take her to Jai Narain the prosecutrix would not have gone out of the keeping of her father who was her lawful guardian, as she actually did. Raja Ram actively participated in the formation of the intention of the prosecutrix to leave her father’s house. The fact that the prosecutrix was easily persuaded to go with Raja Ram would not prevent him from being guilty of the offence of kidnapping her. Her consent or willingness to accompany Raja Ram would be immaterial and it would be equally so even if the proposal to go with Raja Ram had emanated from her. There is no doubt a distinction between taking and allowing a minor to accompany a person. In the present case the, acquittal by the High Court is clearly erroneous both on facts and in law and keeping in view the nature of the offence committed we consider that there is clearly failure of justice justifying interference by this Court under Art. 136 of the Constitution. 

Decision of the Court

Appeal is allowed setting aside the order of the High Court acquitting Raja Ram, respondent, and the order of the Second Addi tional Sessions Judge was restored.

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