This article on ‘Laws Against Kidnapping In India: All You Should Know’ was written by Ashok Kumar Chaudhary, an intern at Legal Upanishad.
Kidnapping is a heinous crime that strikes at the very core of an individual’s liberty and security. In India, where the well-being of its citizens is of utmost importance, laws against kidnapping have been established to protect individuals from such traumatic experiences and ensure justice for the victims. These laws serve as a strong legal framework to combat kidnapping, punish offenders, and create a safer society for all. This article delves into the laws against kidnapping in India, exploring the provisions, penalties, and significance of these laws in safeguarding innocents and upholding the principles of justice.
KIDNAPPING: MEANING AND CONCEPT
Kidnapping, an act involving the forcible abduction of an individual against their will, remains a grave concern worldwide. It is characterized by the use of force, threats, or deceit, with motivations ranging from seeking a ransom to pursuing political or other sinister agendas. In India, kidnapping is a serious criminal offence, classified and defined under Sections 359, 360, and 361 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
These legal provisions play a crucial role in addressing and combating the crime of kidnapping, ensuring the protection of individuals, and maintaining order in society. Section 359 of the IPC categorizes kidnapping into two distinct types: kidnapping from India and kidnapping from lawful guardianship. Each type holds its legal implications and consequences, as outlined in Sections 360 and 361 of the IPC, respectively.
TWO TYPES OF KIDNAPPING UNDER THE INDIAN PENAL CODE
Kidnapping from India
- Within the framework of Indian law, Section 360 delves into the intricate dynamics of kidnapping from India. It serves as a crucial provision to combat the act of forcibly transporting individuals beyond the geographical boundaries of the country, without their consent or against the consent of someone who holds the legal authority to provide consent on their behalf. This legal violation is classified as the offense of kidnapping from India.
- To better understand the implications of this offence, for ex: Imagine a scenario where ‘A,’ a woman residing in New Delhi, is abruptly taken to Bangladesh by ‘B’ without her consent. In this situation, ‘B’ has unequivocally committed the offence of kidnapping ‘A’ from India, as per the purview of Section 360.
- The case illustrated above underscores the significance of consent as a pivotal factor in distinguishing lawful actions from criminal activities. When an individual is forcibly transported across international borders without their consent, their fundamental rights and personal liberty are violated. Such acts undermine the principles of personal freedom and territorial integrity, necessitating strong legal provisions to address and penalize such crimes.
- The inclusion of kidnapping from India as a distinct offence within the Indian Penal Code reflects the nation’s commitment to safeguarding its citizens and ensuring justice for victims. By recognizing the gravity of this offence and explicitly addressing it in the legal framework, Indian law aims to deter potential offenders and protect individuals from the trauma and consequences associated with forced abduction across international boundaries.
- It is worth noting that the offence of kidnapping from India extends beyond the physical act of transporting individuals across borders. The essential element lies in the absence of consent, either from the person being taken or from a legally authorized individual responsible for providing consent on their behalf. This provision recognizes the importance of consent as a fundamental aspect of personal liberty and aims to prevent instances where individuals are coerced or deceived into leaving the country against their will.
Kidnapping from Lawful Guardianship
- Section 361 of the Indian Penal Code sheds light on the offence of kidnapping from lawful guardianship. This provision addresses situations where an individual unlawfully takes or entices a minor (a boy under the age of 16 years or a girl under the age of 18 years) or a person of unsound mind away from their lawful guardian without the guardian’s consent. Such an act constitutes the offence of kidnapping from lawful guardianship.
- To gain a deeper understanding of this offence, let us consider an illustrative scenario: Imagine ‘A,’ a 13-year-old boy, living under the lawful guardianship of his mother, ‘Z.’ ‘B’ convinces ‘A’ to accompany him to his house, disregarding the consent of ‘Z.’ In this case, ‘B’ has unmistakably committed the offence of kidnapping from lawful guardianship, as outlined in Section 361.
- The illustration above highlights the significance of consent in the context of lawful guardianship. It emphasizes the legal protection afforded to minors and individuals of unsound minds who are dependent on their guardians for care and protection. By prohibiting the unauthorized removal or enticement of such individuals without the consent of their lawful guardian, the law seeks to safeguard their well-being and prevent potential harm or exploitation.
- The offence of kidnapping from lawful guardianship encompasses three essential elements: the presence of a minor or a person of unsound mind, their removal or enticement from their lawful guardian, and the absence of the guardian’s consent.
- However, Section 361 also includes an exception to this offence. It states that the crime of kidnapping from lawful guardianship does not apply in cases where the person acting in good faith believes that they are entitled to the lawful custody of the child or when they believe they are the father of an illegitimate child. In such circumstances, the individual’s genuine belief, supported by valid reasons, serves as a defence against the charge of kidnapping from lawful guardianship.
PUNISHMENT FOR KIDNAPPING UNDER IPC
The punishment for kidnapping in India varies depending on the specific provisions under which the offence is charged and the circumstances surrounding the case. The Indian Penal Code (IPC) contains several sections that deal with different aspects of kidnapping, each prescribing a different penalty.
Kidnapping or abduction (Section 363, IPC):
- If a person kidnaps or abducts any person to take them out of the country, the punishment is imprisonment of up to seven years and a fine.
- If the intention is not to take the person out of the country, the punishment is imprisonment of up to seven years and a fine.
Kidnapping with the intent to confine a person (Section 365, IPC) secretly and wrongfully:
The punishment for kidnapping with the intent to confine a person secretly and wrongfully is imprisonment of up to seven years and a fine.
Kidnapping or abducting a woman to compel her marriage, etc. (Section 366, IPC):
If a person kidnaps or abducts a woman to force her into marriage or any other illicit activity, the punishment is imprisonment of up to ten years and a fine.
Kidnapping or inducing a minor to beg (Section 363A, IPC):
If a person kidnaps or induces a minor to beg, the punishment is imprisonment of up to ten years and a fine.
Kidnapping or abducting to subject a person to grievous hurt, slavery, or illicit intercourse (Section 366A, IPC):
The punishment for kidnapping or abducting a person to subject them to grievous hurt, slavery, or illicit intercourse is imprisonment of up to ten years and a fine.
It’s important to note that the punishment prescribed under these sections may vary based on the specific circumstances of the case, such as the age of the victim, the nature of the offence, and the presence of aggravating factors. If the kidnapping results in the death of the victim or any other serious consequences, the provisions of murder or other relevant offences may also apply, which carry higher penalties, including life imprisonment or even the death penalty in extreme cases.
The laws against kidnapping in India are crucial for protecting individuals and maintaining order in society. These laws, encompassed within the Indian Penal Code, establish penalties for different forms of kidnapping, such as kidnapping from India and kidnapping from lawful guardianship. They aim to ensure justice for victims and act as a deterrent for potential offenders. The punishments for kidnapping vary based on the specific circumstances, with imprisonment and fines being the common penalties.
However, the effectiveness of these laws relies on their proper implementation and enforcement by law enforcement agencies and the judicial system to combat kidnapping effectively, it is important to raise awareness, educate the public about personal safety, and encourage reporting of suspicious activities. Ongoing efforts to evaluate and strengthen these laws, along with proactive measures for prevention, are necessary to create a safe and secure society the laws against kidnapping in India are vital for addressing this serious crime, protecting individuals, and upholding the principles of justice.
List of References:
- “Kidnapping and Abduction – Section 359-369 IPC”, Aligarh Muslim University, available at: https://old.amu.ac.in/emp/studym/100000881.pdf (last visited on 15 June 2023)
- Srishti Kaushal, “Kidnapping and abduction: Sections 359 to 374 under IPC, 1860”, iPleaders Blog, 18 January 2020, available at: https://blog.ipleaders.in/kidnapping-and-abduction-sections-359-to-374-under-ipc-1860/ (last visited on 15 June 2023)
- “Kidnapping & Abduction”, Legal Pedia, available at: https://www.legalpedia.co.in/legalnote/Kidnapping%20,(Sub%20Heading-%20Indian%20Penal%20Code,1860%20or%20IPC,1860),%20(Heading-Law%20Notes).pdf (last visited on 15 June 2023)