The Ransom Note

346

By M.C. Linthoingambee

The unwanted part and the degrading notion of our society is ever increasing today. The dictionary also provides an ample number of vocabularies to ascertain the mass of grave wrong that is heard of each day from the likes of kidnapping, trespass, robbery, theft, ransom, to death. It is indeed a scary world out there, which is why we lock our doors at night and pray that tomorrow might be a good day. Just recently, it came to light that  Dr. Th Kishan, the then SDO of Kasom Khullen District of Manipur was killed for failing to pay ransom. What does law have to offer for such wrongs like kidnapping fr ransom? Kidnapping is the crime of unlawfully seizing and carrying away a person by force or fraud, or seizing and detaining a person against his or her will with intent to carry that person away at a later time. To what extent should there crime be taken dimwitted? Should the perpetrators of such acts then, be punished with capital punishment? Capital Punishment here means the act of awarding death sentence as punishments for the crimes committed by a certain person in the hope of causing grave injury to the general public at large.

As per the Indian Judiciary, the Supreme Court of India even took up steps causing precedents of awarding death sentence on charges of kidnapping (murder for ransom) on Oct 14, 2012 for the murder of 16 year-old Abhi Verma in 2005 after kidnapping him for ransom. Although three of the accused was held for the award in 2006, the rest of the two got a fresh lease of life on the after challenging the constitutional validity of Section 364A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that permits the courts to award capital punishment for kidnapping-cum-murder for ransom. They intended that it was meant to tackle kidnapping for ransom indulged in as a strategy by international terrorists to destabilize the country and not applicable to individual criminals. While many argue that awarding of death sentence for the simple act of demanding money for ransom prohibits the voluntary rights of Right to equality and Right to Life and Personal Liberty bestowed upon by the likes of the Constitution of India under Articles 14 and 21 respectively.

Apart from the harm of kidnapping rendered to the adults, children also fall victim to the crimes of kidnapping each day thereby snatching away their smiles of their face. There are a number of sections in the IPC that discuss kidnapping and abduction. Section 360 states that kidnapping from India is the defined as the conveyance of a person beyond the borders of India without their consent. Section 361 states that if a male minor of not yet sixteen and female minor of not yet eighteen is taken from their lawful guardians without their consent it is termed kidnapping from lawful guardianship. Section 362 defines abduction as compelling, forcing or deceitfully inducing a person from a place. Section 363-A states, it is a crime to kidnap or maim a minor for the purpose or employment of begging. If a person if found employing a minor for begging, and that person is not the legal guardian of the child, it is assumed that the child has been kidnapped for the purpose of employment in begging. Section 364 states that any person who kidnaps another for the purpose for murdering or disposing of in a way that will lead to murder is punishable by law. Section 364-A defines ransom kidnapping as any person who kidnaps another to threatens to harm or kill that person in an attempt to get the government, or any other foreign or state organization to do or not do any act. Section 365 discusses kidnapping to secretly or wrongfully confine someone. Section 366 states it is a crime to force or compel or abuse a woman to leave a place in order to force her to marry or seduce or illicit sexual intercourse from her by the kidnapper or another person. 366A specially outlines such a crime being committed against a minor girl who has not attained eighteen years of age. Section 367 states it is a crime to kidnap a person in order to cause them grievous hurt, place them in slavery, or subject them to the unnatural lust of a person. Section 369 is a specific crime of kidnapping a child under 10 years of age in order to steal from them.

Concluding to the fact of matters stated above, two types of kidnapping are recognized by Indian Penal Code. One is kidnapping from India and the other is kidnapping from lawful guardianship. Stealing of a child is also termed as kidnapping.

(M.C. Linthoingambee is an undergraduate pursuing B.Com. LL.B(H). An avid blogger, poet, a seasonal artist and a foodie, she is also a life member to the Indian Society of the Red Cross.)

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