Kidnapping or maiming a minor for purposes of begging (Section 363A of IPC)
Section 363-A of the Indian Penal Code provides that:
(1) Whoever kidnaps any minor or, not being the lawful guardian of a minor, obtains the custody of the minor, in order that such minor may be employed or used for the purposes of begging, shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
(2) Whoever maims any minor in order that such minor may be employed or used for the purposes of begging, shall be punishable with imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.
(3) Where any person, not being the lawful guardian of a minor, employs or uses such minor for the purposes of begging, it shall be presumed, unless the contrary is proved, that he kidnapped or otherwise obtained the custody of that minor in order that the minor might be employed or used for the purposes of begging.
(4) In this section:-
a) “Begging” means-
i) Soliciting or receiving alms in a public place, whether under the pretence of singing, dancing, fortune-telling, performing tricks or selling articles or otherwise.
ii) Entering on any private premises for the purpose of soliciting or receiving alms ;
iii) Exposing or exhibiting, with the object of obtaining or extorting alms, any sore, wound, injury, deformity or disease, whether of himself or of any other person or of an animal;
iv) Using a minor as an exhibit for the purpose of soliciting or receiving alms:-
b) “Minor” means-
i) In the case of a male, a person under sixteen years of age; and
ii) In the case of a female, a person under eighteen years of age.”
Section 363-A of the Code was added by the Amendment Act No. 52 of 1959. Its main object is “to put down effectively the evil of kidnapping of children for exploiting them for begging”. Prior to this amendment there was no special provision for deterrent punishment for the greater evil of maiming of children so as to make them objects of pity. This section provides for deterrent punishment for the offence of kidnapping of a minor for purposes of begging.
The offence under Section 363-A is cognizable and warrant should ordinarily issue in the first instance. It is neither bailable nor compoundable. It is triable by the Magistrate of the first class and the Court of Session.