Understanding of Kidnapping and Abduction

Generally we get confused between ‘kidnapping’ and ‘abduction’. We assume that if kidnapping means stealing of kids than abduction would be stealing of adult. But it’s not true. Though kidnapping literal meaning is child stealing but abduction is not an age specific offence. For detail understanding of these two offence, I have turned the pages of Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860. And in this article, I have tried to compile it in easy and simple words. Please have a look.

Kidnapping: In Indian Penal Code, 1860 two types of Kidnapping is mentioned, (a) Kidnapping from India and (b) Kidnapping from lawful guardianship.

  • Kidnapping from India, (section 360 of IPC): whoever takes a person beyond the limits of India without the consent of such person or any person legally authorized to give consent on his behalf then he shall be liable for the offence of kidnapping from India.

The point should be noticed here that, the victim’s age does not matter. Which means that not only a minor but a major person can also be kidnapped. But if the major and sane person gives his consent for such taking than the offence of Kidnapping will not be committed.

  • Kidnapping from lawful guardianship, (Section 361 of IPC): Whoever takes or entices any minor under sixteen years of age if a male, or under eighteen years of age if a female, or any person of unsound mind, out of the keeping of the lawful guardian of such minor or person of unsound mind, without the consent of such guardian, is said to kidnap such minor or person from lawful guardianship’. The unsoundness of mind must be permanent and not temporary insanity produced due to intoxication.

As mentioned in this section consent of the child is completely immaterial. The consent of the guardian alone should be taken into consideration. That too, the consent of guardian have to be free and must not have been obtained by fraud or misrepresentation.

Simplified terms:

  • Taking: the word ‘takes’ means to cause to go, to escort or to get into possession with or without the use of force.
  • Enticing: the word ‘entice’ means alluring or attracting. It means a person attempts to do a thing after some persuasion which he or she would not have done otherwise.
  • Keeping of Lawful guardian: here guardianship not only includes parents but also persons to whom the custody of the child has been lawfully entrusted. That could be teachers, relatives, servants or anyone. And the term ‘keeping of lawful guardian’ denotes the protection or care of the guardian. (A direct physical custody of the guardian is not needed but the whereabouts or movement should be known to the guardian.)

Abduction (section 362 of IPC): Whoever by force compels, or by any deceitful means induces, any person to go from any place, is said to abduct that person.

Abduction is an auxiliary act which becomes offence only when coupled with intention. The offence shall be complete if the accused takes away the person by tricking him or by deceitful means, or by using force and an actual use of force and not a mere threat to use force. As it is not an age-specific offence, which means any person of any age, can be abducted. In this offence the intention and consent is very important.

  1. If intention is that abducted person may be murdered, Section 364, applies;
  2. If intention is wrongfully confine person, Section 365 applies;
  3. If abducted person is a woman and intention is that she may be forced to marry against her will or have illicit sexual intercourse then Section 366 applies;
  4. If intention is to cause grievous hurt then Section 367 applies;If the abducted person is a child under age of ten years and intention is take dishonestly any movable’ property from its person then Section 369 applies.

Punishment for kidnapping (section 363 IPC): 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.

Abducting or Kidnapping to Murder: As per Section 364 of Indian Penal Code, if a person is kidnapped or abducted by a person with the intention or knowledge that the person is going to be murdered or is going to be put in danger of being murder, such person is punishable with imprisonment for life or rigorous imprisonment for a term up to 10 years and a fine.

Kidnapping for Ransom: Section 364A of IPC provides for punishment to the whoever threatens to hurt or cause death to that person who he has kidnapped or abducted or detained after kidnapping or abducting. The punishment is death or imprisonment for life, and fine.

Inputs: law journals, IPC, 1860

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