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Legal provisions regarding Kidnapping for ransom, etc under section 364A of Indian Penal Code, 1860

Section 364-A was inserted by the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1993 and further amended by the Indian Penal Code (Amendment) Act 1995.

In Netra Pal v. State (National Capital Territory of Delhi) [(2001) Cr.LJ 1669 (Del.)], the raiding party recovered from the accused the kidnapped child and a letter demanding ransom. He had neither posted the letter nor personally contacted the family of the child for three days.

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It has been held that mere ‘intention to demand ransom’ does not come within the ambit of the words ‘to pay ransom’ used in the section, unless the demand is translated into action of the accused by communicating his demand to the person concerned.

Unless the price of retrieval or rescue is made, the question to pay ransom does not arise as the words ‘to pay’ warrant setting the demand for payment in motion. The court declined to convict the accused for kidnapping for ransom under Section 364-A as he, by keeping his letter of demand with him only, did not convey his demand for ransom to release the child. The court considered that conviction under Sections 363 and 365 was proper.

In Malleshi v. State of Karnataka [2004 Cr.LJ 4645 (SC)], the Supreme Court held, that the demand of ransom was clearly conveyed to victim though actually it was not made to his father who would ultimately have made payment. The person who pays ransom is not determinative.

The conviction under Sec. 364-A by the Trial Court was proper and only because demand was not conveyed to father of victim the case does not come out of purview of Section 364- A of Indian Penal Code.

The offence under Section 364-A is cognizable, non-bailable, non- compoundable and triable by the Court of Sessions.

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