This article has been written by Samta Sharma, Jemtec School of Law, Greater Noida and curated by Rasveen Kaur Kapoor, Indore Institute of Law.
‘Abduction’, a word that creates fear in the minds of people and is nearly snatching the headlines of every newspapers recently. According to –Oxford Dictionary, ‘The abduction is the action of taking someone away by force, threat, or deceit against their will’, and is typically done to earn benefits from the family or victim who is abducted in order to set them free. It is a serious global issue. Abduction not only creates fear in the mind of a victim but can also harm a person physically, mentally and psychologically in entirety. There are many strict laws established in countries around the world to curb acts of abduction. The impacts of abduction may lead to depression and cause degeneration of brain cells to the victim.
Section 362, of Indian Penal Code defines Abduction as, ‘Whoever by force compels, or by any deceitful means induces, any person to go from any place, is said to abduct that person.’ Though the definition of abduction is in provided in its literal sense, but the reasons and types are many. Abduction not only means to bring a person forcefully without his will but it can also be done by successfully persuading the victim and take him with his consent. In the case of Bahadur Ali vs King Emperor, the abductor misrepresented himself as a police constable and abducted a girl by ‘persuading’ her to stay in his house and demanded for a ransom of Rs.600. It was held that his act amounts to abduction.
According to penal provisions of the Indian Penal Code,1860;
Section 364, states the punishment for abduction in order to murder, i.e. 10+ years of imprisonment and fine.
Section 365, states the punishment for abduction with intent to wrongfully confine a person, i.e.7 years and fine.
Section 366, states the punishment for abduction for compelling a women to marry, i.e. 10 years and fine.
A. Child Abduction and Abduction in pursuance of marriage:
Child abduction is the most committed crime globally as it is an easy task for any abductor to convince a child who is not so mature to make right decisions. According to the law, an abducted person can be anyone, of any age. It can be a child or an adult or an elderly person too. The grounds of abduction encapsulates from child abduction to abduction in pursuance of marriage. Statistically, ‘Child Abduction’ is the most committed abduction in the world. It is the action of removing a child from the safe custody of his/her parents usually by compelling, and sometimes by means of violence. It is usually done for the ransom or satisfy any form of enmity. Child abduction can either be done by a stranger or by their own parents. Though it is reckoned that abduction by strangers sustain more attention but it shall also be taken a note that, child abductions by family members itself including the child’s own parents or non-custodial parents is also prevalent. Child Abduction is however common in custodial battles amongst divorced parents and families therewith.
Child abductions are more complex to deal with when they are done by a stranger. It is indeed a crime that can spoil the future of anyone and may even affect the moral, mental, physical and psychological well-being of a person. In addition; psychologists have found two distinguishing kinds of behavior in the child subjected to abduction. These are frozen fright and infantilism. Initially, a hostage suffering from frozen fright condition may have paralysis of common emotions. Later, the victim develops regressed behavior, such as too much dependence on the abductor.
On the other hand, abduction in pursuance of marriage, refers to the act where a bride is abducted by the groom or anyone connected therewith to halt her due process of marriage that is being conducted presently or is subjected to be so conducted in the near future; against her will. The other kind of abduction includes ‘express abduction’, where to a ransom is being demanded expressly from the near and dear ones of the person so targeted of abduction.
II. Difference between Abduction and Kidnaping:
Although the terms, ‘Abduction’ and ‘Kidnapping’ are used equivalently but there rests a precise difference in both of them. Kidnapping is basically snatching someone away from their family’s custody forcefully. However, a crime of abduction is when a person has been taken along from his/her original location by persuading him. Kidnapping is committed against a minor (who is below the age of 16). On the other hand, in abduction there is no given age as such, anybody can be abducted.
Abduction comes in all forms of different shapes and have its own crying degrees of cruelty. It is truly said that a person’s safety lies in his own hands. Cases like abduction can only be reduced when the root cause of it will be cleared. Though there are already different laws executed by the legislature for safety and prevention of such crimes but apart from the state’s prevention, the citizens should also make sure that no one is trying to convince them in a wrongful way. As reckoned generally; “Prevention is better than cure”. Specially in the matters concerning children, parents should be careful with their child’s safety & security. They should make sure that nobody is trying to attract their child through any smart, greedy techniques.