Difference Between Kidnapping and Abduction

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: August 06, 2022

       

Difference Between Kidnapping and Abduction Difference Between Kidnapping and Abduction

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Introduction

When you premeditate and commit a crime, it is only logical that you weigh out your options. Getting away with committing a crime is your goal, yes. But that is a one-in-a-million chance. There are a million, if not more, ways that your crime goes sideways. The simplest one is the battery on your watch runs out. Now you have no idea of the time scope of your criminal act. The cameras on the jewels you wish to covet have changed positions; the guards have changed their patrol while you tap the glass on your watch, wondering how long it has been since you bought it. Perhaps, jewel heists are not for you.

Consider this then, you see an adorable little Labrador retriever on the street. A happy puppy hopping like a little rabbit next to a stroller with a red-cheeked baby tucked in. The choice is yours. Stealing away either from their parent is a crime. And like any other crime, these have the consequences of punishment. The terms used in such a scenario, though, are confusing.

Kidnapping vs Abduction

Kidnapping and abduction generally mean the same i.e., an object or person is taken away from the owner or parent. However, there are differences between the two terms. Kidnapping is when a person is taken away against their will and imprisoned. An abduction, on the other hand, is when a person is compelled or induced to be taken away to another place. There is also a matter of age and guardianship that comes into consideration. Let us see the various ways these terms differ from each other.

Differences Between Kidnapping and Abduction in Tabular Form

Table: Kidnapping vs Abduction
Parameters Of Comparison
Kidnapping
Abduction
Definition
Kidnapping is a criminal offence in which a person has been taken away without their consent; by using force or other fraudulent means.
Abduction is the act of taking a person away against their will via acts of persuasion that may or may not include an act of violence. 
Provision Under the Indian Penal Code (IPC)
In the IPC, the act of kidnapping has been defined under sections 359-361.
In the IPC, the act of abduction has been defined under section 362.
Age
It is a kidnapping if the person kidnapped is a minor i.e., the boy is under the age of 16 years; the girl is under the age of 18 years or the person is of an unsound mind.
There is no age limit when it comes to abduction. A person of any age can be abducted.
Guardianship
In a kidnapping, the child is taken away from their legal guardianship. A child without guardianship cannot be kidnapped.
In the offence of abduction, guardianship is of no relevance.
Means used
In a kidnapping, the methods employed to kidnap a child could be innocent; without causing any harm.
In abduction, the means employed are deceit or force.
Consent
In a kidnapping, the consent of the child is irrelevant.
In an abduction, consent is of importance. If the victim gives their consent, it is not considered an abduction.
Offence type
Kidnapping is a substantive offence. It is a punishable offence under section 363 IPC. There are different categories of the offence and the kidnapper receives the punishment accordingly.
An abduction is an auxiliary act. It is not punishable by itself unless the intent specified under sections 364-366 IPC has been proven.
Completion of Offence
Kidnapping is not a continuing offence. The offence is complete once the child has been removed from his guardianship.
Abduction is a continuing offence that continues as the place of the abducted person keeps changing.
Purpose of Crime
The intention or purpose of the crime is immaterial to the offence. The kidnapper is liable whether or not their intentions were noble.
The intent or purpose of the crime is significant in the case of abduction. The abductor is liable only if they are found to have an ill intention for the crime.

What is Kidnapping?

Kidnapping is a criminal offence. It is the unlawful taking away of a person from their legal guardianship and keeping them imprisoned or confined. The means employed for kidnapping usually are innocent and do not cause harm, but the kidnappers can also be forceful or use fraud and malice. It is most often against the will of the person.

Earlier, kidnapping was carried out to force the person into involuntary servitude in another country. It also referred to coercing young men into military service (known as crimping). The chief motives, currently, for kidnapping are, again, to expose the person to some form of involuntary servitude or to obtain a ransom for their safe release. Off late, kidnapping for extortion has become an interest of radical terrorists and political revolutionaries to gain concessions from governments. In most countries, the offence of kidnapping also includes false imprisonment. When kidnapping is combined with bodily harm, sexual assault and ransom demand, the crime is elevated to a first-degree or aggravated kidnapping. Aggravated kidnapping is more heinous than a simple kidnapping. It includes the following four scenarios. Firstly, one that causes bodily harm or death to the victim. Secondly, one that demands a ransom for the safety of the victim. Thirdly, one that takes place alongside a carjacking. Lastly, one that is based on fraud, force or fear of a victim, who is most likely a child (below fourteen years).

According to the Indian Penal Code (IPC), kidnapping is defined under sections 359-361 IPC. Under section 359 IPC, kidnapping has been categorized as kidnapping from India and kidnapping from a lawful guardian.

  • Kidnapping from India: Section 360 IPC explains that if a kidnapper takes a person away from India against their will, it would be considered an offence of kidnapping from India.
  • Kidnapping from a lawful guardian: Section 361 IPC explains that if a kidnapper takes a minor – a boy below the age of 16 years of age, a girl below the age of 18 years of age or a person of an unsound mind – against the will of their lawful guardian, it is to be considered an offence of kidnapping from a lawful guardian.

Kidnapping in either case, according to Indian Law, is punishable. The kidnapper will face imprisonment for a term that could extend up to seven years and may also be liable to pay a fine. In most countries, kidnapping also includes false imprisonment. False imprisonment along with carrying the person away to another country, can invite a more severe penalty for the kidnapper.

What is Abduction?

Abduction is the removal of a person from a place against their will. It is also an offence. Although, it is an auxiliary act, which means that it is not punishable by itself. It has to be accompanied by an intent that has been specified under sections 364-366 IPC. Only when the purpose is proven can the accused be punished.

As per section 362 IPC, abduction is defined as an act where a person induces or compels a person to go from one place to another against their will. The means employed by the abductor are force, compulsion and deceit. Abduction can be carried out with a person of any age. It is not restricted to minors alone.

The matter of consent is of importance when it comes to abduction. If the person offers their consent, then the act is no longer considered an abduction.

For an abduction to be considered an offence, it requires the following two things:

  1. Using forceful inducement or compulsion via deceitful means.
  2. The objective of employing compulsion or inducement should be to force the person to go away from any place.

“Force” here means an actual brutal force and not merely a threat. Deceitful means include intentions to mislead the person. Abduction is a continuing offence, unlike kidnapping. In a kidnapping, the offence is complete once the child is taken away from their guardian. In an abduction, however, the offence continues as the person abducted keeps changing places.

Abduction is considered a form of kidnapping. Commonly, abduction is associated with carrying away females against their will for concubinage or prostitution. Even taking a girl under a certain age for marriage is considered a crime of abduction.

Main Differences Between Kidnapping and Abduction In Points

Following are the main differences between kidnapping and abduction:

  • Kidnapping is a criminal offence that occurs when a person is taken away from their guardian against their will, whereas abduction is an act where a person is taken away from a place against their will using persuasion.
  • Under the IPC, kidnapping has been defined under sections 359-361, whereas abduction has been defined under section 362 IPC.
  • In a kidnapping, the person kidnapped is a minor (a boy under the age of 16 years, a girl under 18 years or a person of unsound mind). This is not the case with abduction. A person of any age can be abducted.
  • The means used in kidnapping could be innocent without causing any harm to the person being kidnapped, while in abduction, the means employed could be harmful or deceitful.
  • In the case of a kidnapping, consent is of no relevance, while in an abduction, consent is of importance. If a person offers their consent, it is no longer considered an abduction.
  • In the case of kidnapping, the intention of committing the crime is of no relevance. The kidnapper is liable for punishment regardless of their intentions. In an abduction, however, the abductor is liable only if their ill intention is proven.
  • Kidnapping is considered a substantive offence and thus, is punishable under section 363 IPC. An abduction is punishable only if any of the intents specified under section 364-366 IPC have been proven.
  • Kidnapping is not a continuing offence. The act of kidnapping is completed once the person has been removed from their guardianship. In the case of an abduction, it is a continuing offence for as long as the person abducted keeps changing their place.

Conclusion

Kidnapping and abduction are often used interchangeably but are two separate terms with their legal definitions. Kidnapping is a criminal offence under sections 359-361 of the IPC. It is defined as an offence committed when a person is taken away from a place, from under their legal guardian without their consent. The means employed for this act are usually harmless i.e., without causing actual harm to the person being kidnapped. However, deceit, force and malice can also be used. The person kidnapped must be a minor (a boy under the age of 16 years, a girl under the age of 18 years or a person of unsound mind). The purpose of kidnapping could be extortion, ransom in exchange for safety or involuntary servitude. It is a substantive offence and is punishable. However, it is not a continuing offence i.e. the offence is complete once the person is taken away from their guardianship.

It is the opposite in the case of an abduction. Abduction is a continuing offence and continues as long as the person abducted keeps changing their place. It is also an auxiliary act, which means that abduction by itself is not punishable unless an intent specified under section 364-366 IPC has been proven. Abduction is defined under section 362 IPC and is the act of taking a person away from a place without their consent. The means employed are force, compulsion or inducement. Consent is important in the matter of abduction. If the person offers their consent to be moved, the act is no longer considered an abduction. It is also important to note that age is of no relevance in abductions. A person of any age can be abducted. Kidnapping and abductions are both risky acts and cause mental and emotional trauma to the person involved. Appropriate measures and security have to be implemented and are critical for the well-being of not only children but also society. Predators loom around for personal gain and recognizing them is not an easy task. They could be your neighbours next door; the friendly grandmother who always has candies; the postman with a bag filled with stuff more than letters. It is imperative to be vigilant and wary. And stop daydreaming about the puppy or the chubby baby. While the short-lived pleasure of spending some alone time with the puppy or the baby could be worth it (not really), it is more logical and safer to consider adoption.

References

  • https://www.britannica.com/topic/abduction-law
  • https://www.britannica.com/topic/kidnapping
  • https://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-7871-kidnapping-and-abduction-under-indian-penal-code.html
  • https://www.legalpedia.co.in/legalnotes/difference-between-kidnapping-and-abduction.html
  • https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/kidnapping

Category

Law


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