Kidnapping Indian Penal Code – Offence Insulting Liberty and Freedom

‘Kidnapping’ is derived from two words: ‘kid’ and ‘napping’. ‘Kid’ is ‘a child’, and ‘napping’ means ‘to steal’. The literal term for kidnapping stands for stealing a kid.

Kidnapping is described as the taking of a person against their will using force, threat, or deception. Kidnappings in Indian Penal Code (IPC) are typically performed to obtain a ransom or for political or other reasons. Section 359 of the IPC classified kidnapping into two categories, specified under IPCs Section 360 and Section 361.

Kidnapping is divided into two components under section 359 of the Indian Penal Code.

  • Kidnapping from India – Section 360
  • Kidnapping from lawful guardianship – Section 361

Provision of Kidnapping under IPC

Section 359:

There are two forms of kidnapping: Kidnapping from India; Kidnapping from a legal guardian.

Section 360:

Kidnapping from India: Whoever conveys any person far from the limits of India without that individual’s consent or the permission of someone legally authorised to consent on that person’s behalf is said to kidnap that individual from India.

Section 361:

Kidnapping from legal guardian: Whoever takes or entices away:

  • Any male minor who is under 16 years, or a female who is under 18 years, or
  • Any person of unsound mind, without the approval of that lawful guardian,

is said to kidnap such minors or persons from legal guardianship.

Kidnapping from India

Section 360 of the IPC defines kidnapping from India, and Section 363 incorporates the punishment for the same. The following are the essentials of Section 360 of IPC:

  1. An individual must be kidnapped and taken to a location beyond India’s borders.
  2. A person must be taken away without his/her consent or a legally authorised person acting on his behalf.

Under the Indian Penal Code’s Section 360, ‘Convey’ refers to the act of transporting a person to another location. The phrase ‘beyond the limits of India’ denotes a person is taken outside of India’s geographical territory without his consent.

Any individual kidnapped and taken outside of India is subjected to the provisions of Section 360, whether the person is minor or major. The age limit for minors is 16 in the case of males and 18 in the case of women.

The conveying, as mentioned in Section 360, is done without the person’s consent. A person’s age determines the offence but, the consent is also significant in the case of a major person. No offence can be committed if a person has reached the age of maturity and has freely consented to be conveyed. In the case of minors, consent is irrelevant.

Kidnapping from lawful guardian

Section 361 of the IPC defines kidnapping from a lawful guardian. Essentials of Section 361 of IPC include the following:

  1. An individual must be taken or enticed.
  2. The person who is kidnapped must be minor or mentally ill.
  3. The male individual must be under 16 years, and the female individual must be under 18 years.
  4. The person must be taken out of the custody of the authorised guardian who has responsibility for that person.
  5. When taking or enticing the person, the lawful guardian must not give his/her permission.

Per the section:

Any person lawfully entrusted with the care or custody of such minor or other person is the ‘lawful guardian’.

Exception: Unless the act is undertaken for an immoral or unlawful intent, this section does not apply to any person who in good faith believes himself to be the father of an illegitimate child or considers himself to be entitled to lawful custody of such an individual.

Punishment for kidnapping under IPC

Kidnapping from India or a lawful guardian is punishable by up to 7 years in prison and a fine under Section 363 of the IPC.

Aggravated forms of kidnapping under IPC:

  1. Kidnapping for begging is a crime under Section 363A of the Indian Penal Code. The objective of the section is to punish people organising the begging industry and recruiting people to participate in it. This behaviour has now evolved into a social disease, and individuals who employ and use youngsters for begging should face severe penalties.

    The provision makes maiming a juvenile, kidnapping, or obtaining his custody for ill purposes – employing him to beg – a serious offence that carries a penalty of ten years in prison or a fine.

  2. The offender shall be sentenced to up to ten years of prison. A fine is levied as per Section 364 of the IPC if the kidnapping or abduction is for murder.
  3. Persons who kidnap or detain a person to cause death or grave harm to that person are penalised under Section 364A of the Indian Penal Code if the accused’s actions produce reasonable apprehension in the subject’s mind. The death sentence or life imprisonment with a fine is the maximum penalty under this clause.

    In the case Akram Khan v. State of West Bengal, the Supreme Court ruled that those who commit kidnapping for ransom must face harsh punishment, even if the abduction does not result in the death of anyone, to deter such crimes.

  4. Kidnapping and abduction of a person with the intent of secretly confining him and not allowing him to live freely is punished under Section 365 of the IPC. The court considers the wrongdoer’s purpose while deciding on punishment for such cases. If the person’s intention is proven to be guilty, he/she is held accountable under this clause.
  5. A person who kidnaps or abducts a woman with the intent of forcing or compelling her to marry him is penalised under Section 366 of the IPC. A woman’s consent or will should not be there for such an act to take place. This section also punishes individuals who kidnap a woman to have unlawful sexual relations with her.

    Suppose the same offence as specified under Section 366 of the IPC is committed against a minor girl. In such a case, the offender is subject to the requirements of Section 366A of the IPC, which specifically mentions the ‘procuration of a minor child’. This type of offence is cognizable, non-bailable, and can be tried in a session court. This clause carries a penalty of up to ten years in prison and a monetary fine.

  6. Persons who bring a female from a foreign nation to India intending to force her into unlawful intercourse are punished under Section 366B of the IPC. If the girl is under the age of 21, the punishment includes a 10-year prison sentence and a fine.
  7. Section 367 of the IPC punishes individuals who kidnap or abduct someone with the intent of causing him harm or enslaving him. The criminal is sentenced to 10 years in jail and a fine.
  8. The person who conceals or confines a person after kidnapping or abducting him gets punished under Section 368 of the Indian Penal Code.
  9. Section 369 of the Indian Penal Code punishes people who kidnap and abduct a child (who is under the age of 10) to demand money or steal the child’s property. Punishment under this provision includes a 7-year prison sentence as well as a monetary fine.


Kidnapping in IPC is a harmful activity that restricts a person’s freedom and liberty. Sections 359 to 369 go a long way in ensuring people’s liberty. They provide kidnapping protection for youngsters. Furthermore, they support guardian’s rights to control children who are easily influenced and persuaded by the words of scheming adults. The number of cases of kidnapping under the provisions of IPC is increasing. Preventing these heinous crimes and halting the rise of the kidnapping culture, particularly when it is carried out for forced marriages, forced sexual intercourses, and forced begging, among other activities are critical.


How does IPC define kidnapping?

Kidnapping is defined as the illegal abduction or conveyance of a person. It is the wrongful confinement of a person against his or her consent.

What are the two types of Kidnapping?

  • Kidnapping from India.
  • Kidnapping from a legal guardian.

Under which section is Lawful Guardian defined?

Section 361 defines lawful guardians.

Under which section is punishment for kidnapping defined?

Punishment for kidnapping is defined under Section 363.

What is the punishment for kidnapping?

Convictions for kidnapping can result in severe jail sentences, including life sentences in some cases.

What is the difference between kidnapping and abduction?

A person is taken away or persuaded from his or her lawful guardian in kidnapping, whereas there is no concept of legal guardianship in abduction.

Criminal Law