The Supreme Court held that just proving someone’s kidnapping isn’t enough for conviction for the offence of ‘kidnapping for ransom’ under Section 364A of the Indian Penal Code. To attract the above section, a threat to cause death or grievous hurt to the kidnaped person should exist or the kidnapper’s conduct should give rise to a reasonable apprehension that a person can be put to death or hurt.
Justice Ashok Bhuhsan and Justice R Subhash Reddy were hearing a criminal appeal against the conviction of a person under Section 364A IPC (Shaik Ahmed v State of Telangana).
The appellant, an auto-rickshaw driver, was booked for kidnapping a school boy who had taken ride in the auto.
The appellant made a demand of Rs 2 lakh but the victim’s father said in cross-examination that his son was not physically assaulted or was subjected to bad behaviour. The victim boy said that he was ‘treated in good manner.’ Thus, there was no evidence to prove the ingredients of section 364A IPC.
The Supreme Court focused on the following points:
• How the essential ingredients of Section346A has to be proved beyond reasonable doubt by the prosecution for securing the conviction of an accused?
• Whether all the ingredients as mentioned under Section 364A needs to be proved for securing conviction under Section364A?
• Whether there was any evidence or findings by the Courts below that the accused had threatened to cause death or hurt to the victim?
• Whether the learned Sessions Judge as well as the High Court recorded any finding that all ingredients of Section 364A were proved by the Prosecution?
The conviction and life sentence under Section 364A IPC was set aside. However, since the truth of kidnapping was proved, the Court altered the conviction to Section 363 IPC, which includes a maximum punishment of 7 years imprisonment.The appellant was sentenced to seven year imprisonment and was asked to pay a fine of Rs 50,000/-
By Khushi Kundu(Amity Law School,Kolkata)