Kidnapping and Abduction

In movies and TV shows, we often come across scenes where a bad guy snatches someone with the intention of getting a ransom from their family or loved ones, and we usually call it “kidnapping.” However, there’s another term we might not be as familiar with: “abduction.” Abduction is kind of like kidnapping, but it involves specific motives or purposes that the perpetrator wants to achieve after taking someone away to make it a criminal act. With kidnapping, the crime is committed just by the act of taking someone away.

Difference between Kidnapping and Abduction

Grounds of DifferentiationKidnappingAbduction
SectionSection 359 defines the offense of kidnapping.Section 362 defines the offense of abduction.
MeaningKidnapping involves taking away a minor or person of unsound mind from legal guardianship or taking away any person beyond the limits of India.Abduction refers to compelling or inducing any person through force or deceitful means to move from one place to another.
Nature of OffenseKidnapping is not a continuing offense; it is completed at the moment a person is separated from lawful guardianship.Abduction is a continuing offense that persists until the person is removed from one place to another.
TypesKidnapping has two types: 1) Kidnapping from India (Section 360) and 2) Kidnapping from lawful guardianship (Section 361).Abduction is defined by Section 362 and encompasses cases involving persons of any age.
Parties ReferredKidnapping involves minors (girls up to 18 years or boys up to 16 years) or persons of unsound mind and a lawful guardian.Abduction can involve a person of any age.
Means UsedIn kidnapping, the means used are immaterial.Abduction requires the use of force, compulsion, or deceitful means.
Nature of ConsentIn “kidnapping from lawful guardianship,” the consent of a lawful guardian is relevant. In “kidnapping from India,” it must be shown that it was done without the person’s consent or the person legally authorized to give consent.Abduction involves inducing consent through force, compulsion, or deceitful means.
IntentionIn kidnapping, the intention of the person is immaterial.Abduction requires the intention to commit an offense.
Type of OffenseKidnapping is a substantive offense; the act of taking away constitutes the offense.Abduction is not a substantive offense; it becomes an offense when done with the intention to commit other offenses.
PunishmentKidnapping under Section 363 carries imprisonment up to 7 years and a fine.Mere abduction is not punishable unless done with the intent to commit other offenses (Sections 364 to 369).
IllustrationA commits kidnapping by taking away B, a 16-year-old girl, without the consent of guardians.A commits abduction by forcibly inducing B to move to another place with the intent of compelling her for marriage.


The term ‘kidnapping’ is derived from the combination of ‘kid,’ referring to a child, and ‘napping,’ meaning to steal. Essentially, it translates to stealing a child. In the context of the Indian Penal Code, Section 359 categorizes kidnapping into two types: kidnapping from India and kidnapping from lawful guardianship. Unlike a narrow definition confined to the abduction of children, the Indian legal framework broadens the scope to encompass carrying away any individual without their consent or, in the case of males under 16 years or females under 18 years, without the consent of legal guardians.

A notable case, Thakorlal D. Vadgama v. State of Gujarat (1973), saw Thakori Lal held responsible for kidnapping under Section 363. He persuaded a minor girl, Mohini, to leave her father’s custody by assuring her shelter. The Supreme Court emphasized that the mere delay in her departure from her parental home did not absolve the accused of the kidnapping offense.

Types of Kidnapping

Kidnapping from India

Section 360 deals with the act of kidnapping from India, and it essentially means taking someone beyond the borders of India without their consent or the consent of someone legally authorized to make decisions for them. To break it down, for this offense to occur, two key elements must be present: firstly, the person must be taken outside India, and secondly, this should happen without the person’s consent or the approval of someone authorized to make decisions on their behalf.

It’s important to note that this offense isn’t limited to specific groups like minors or individuals with mental health issues, unlike Section 361. Instead, it can happen to anyone, regardless of age, gender, nationality, and it’s not considered complete until the person reaches not just a foreign territory but their actual destination.

Kidnapping from Lawful Guardianship  

Section 361 deals with the serious matter of kidnapping from lawful guardianship. In simpler terms, it states that if someone takes or lures away a minor under sixteen if male, or under eighteen if female, or any person of unsound mind, from the care of their lawful guardian without the guardian’s consent, it’s considered kidnapping. The key elements of this offense include taking or enticing the minor, the minor being below a certain age, removing them from the lawful guardian’s care, and doing so without the guardian’s consent.

The offense is committed the moment the minor is taken away, and surprisingly, the minor’s consent doesn’t matter in this context. There’s an exception though – if someone genuinely believes they’re the father of an illegitimate child or entitled to the child’s custody, and they take the child away without any bad intentions, they won’t be held liable under this section.


Abduction is like snatching someone away using sneaky tricks to do something bad. So, to really make it an abduction, you need a few things to happen:

  1. Either you use force or some tricky, deceitful moves.
  2. You get the person to move from one place to another.
  3. And here’s the kicker – you gotta have plans to do something bad.

Now, when we talk about force, it’s got to be there for it to be a real crime. If a girl goes out with someone on her own free will, no force involved, then that person isn’t in hot water for abduction.

Oh, and when we say ‘deceitful means,’ we’re not just talking about lying or tricking someone. It also includes taking someone away by making up some excuse. So, even pretending can get you into trouble.

Now, in a case called Kavita Chandrakant Lakhani v. State of Maharashtra in 2018, they made it clear that just taking a woman doesn’t cut it for the crime. You gotta prove that the person taking her had plans to force her into marriage or get her involved in some shady stuff with someone else. It’s not just about the snatch; it’s about what comes after.


  • Kidnapping is a substantive offence. Section 363 of the IPC provides for a punishment for kidnapping for a descriptive term which may extend to seven years and he/she shall also be liable for fine.
  • Some specific punishments as provided for kidnapping under the Indian Penal Code are:
Types of KidnappingPunishmentSection of IPC
Kidnapping for purpose of begging10 years + Fine363A
Kidnapping in order to murder10 years + Fine364
Kidnapping for ransom10 years + Fine364A
Kidnapping with intent to wrongfully confine a person7 years + Fine365
Kidnapping so as to compel a woman to marry10 years + Fine366
Kidnapping so as to subject a person to grievous hurt10 years + Fine367
Kidnapping a child under 10 years of age in order to steal from a person7 years + Fine369
  • Abduction is only an auxiliary act and is not punishable in itself. Therefore, there is no general punishment for abduction in the Indian Penal Code.
  • But some specific types of abduction attract the following punishments:
Types of AbductionPunishmentSection of IPC
Abduction in order to murder10 years + Fine364
Abduction with intent to wrongfully confine a person7 years + Fine365
Abduction so as to compel a woman to marry10 years + Fine366
Abduction so as to subject a person to grievous hurt10 years + Fine367
Abducting a child under 10 years of age in order to steal from a person7 years + Fine369

Read Also: Acceptance in Law of Contracts

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