S Varadarajan vs State of Madras case involved the question of what constitutes a kidnapping under Section 361. What happens when someone voluntarily goes with someone and later his/her legal heirs alleges that he/she was kidnapped?
Section 363 of IPC talks about punishment for kidnapping. It says whoever kidnaps any person from India or from lawful guardianship, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.
- In 1960, S Natrajan and his family were living in Nungabakkam. Savitri aged 17.5 years, was his youngest daughter and was studying B.Sc.in Ethiraj College. Savitri became close with neighbor Varadarajan.
- On 30th September, Rama, oldest daughter, saw Savitri and Varadarajan talking to each other.
- Rama asked why she was talking to him, and Savitri said she wanted to marry Varadarajan. On the same day, Rama told their father, and he took Savitri to his relative’s place, which is far from Varadarajan’s home.
- On 1st October 1960, Savitri left her relative’s house to meet Varadarajan on some particular road. Varadarajan came in a car and Savitri got in his car.
- They both planned to marry at the registrar’s office, for which they picked a friend to make him witness. They got married and stayed for 10 to 12 days in Coimbatore and then moved to Tanjor.
- They both got to find out by police who were investigating them for S. Natrajan’s kidnapping case complaint.
- The case went to Madras High Court, and the court convicted Varadarajan guilty for kidnapping and awarded one year of rigorous punishment to him. Later, Varadarajan appealed against High Court judgment by special leave in Supreme Court.
- Whether a minor can abandon the Guardianship of his or her guardian?
- Whether taking out of lawful guardianship has been established and can S Varadarajan be convicted for the kidnapping of Savitri?
The Honorable Judge present to hear this case was Justice Mudholkar. He was of the opinion that,
- Savitri admitted that on 1st October 1960, she left her relatives’ house and telephoned Varadarajan to meet her at a particular place. From what was said by Savitri, we can see that Varadarajan did not suggest Savitri leave her relative’s house and nor did Savitri leave the house at the instance.
- Savitri had stated that she wanted to marry the appellant. Varadarajan had not forced Savitri to go to Registrar’s office and to marry him.
- The insistence of marriage came from Savitri and not from Varadarajan.
- The fact that Savitri accompanying the appellant all along is constant with Savitri’s own desire to be the wife of the appellant in which the desire of accompanying him wherever he went was implied.
The Honorable Court held the appellant was not guilty of taking away Savitri as she voluntarily accompanied Varadarajan. Savitri was on the verge of attaining majority and she was capable of knowing what is good and bad for her. Therefore, the appeal is allowed.
This judgment was very much necessary to render justice to the innocent. It is very important when an act is committed mutually, both are to be held responsible and not only by one. It sets an example in society to look at things from a broader perspective.
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