The bench of Justice Ashok Bhushan and R Subhash Reddy ruled that, according to sec 364A of the IPC, simply proving of Kidnapping a person isn’t enough to convict the crime of “ransom kidnapping”. It has to prove that there is a risk of death or bodily harm. The kidnapped person or the kidnapper raised a reasonable fear that the person might be put to death.
This bench was hearing the criminal appeal which was filed in opposition to the conviction of a person beneath sec 364A IPC.
The applicant, an auto-rickshaw driver, was found guilty of kidnapping a schoolboy in auto-rickshaw and demanded a ransom of Rs 2 lakh from his father.
The court held that the word “and” was used between the first condition and the second condition, so it was not enough to prove the first condition of Sec 364 IPC. Therefore, after setting the first condition, another condition must be met, since the word “and” is used after the first condition. Therefore, in addition to the first condition, either condition second or third must be demonstrated, otherwise, the section 364A conviction can’t be upheld, Jude Ashok Bhushan said in the ruling.
The court further said that the second condition is likewise a precedent condition that must be met in sec 364A of IPC.
The court stated that using the conjunction “and” has its motive and objects. It cited that sec 364A makes use of the word “or” nine instances however the entire segment includes most effective one “and” that is among the 1st and 2nd condition.
In order to cover a criminal offense according to section 364A, the second condition must be fulfilled along with the first condition.
For this case, the court held that as per the facts of the cases the second condition of sec 364A was not fulfilled because in the cross-examination the father of the victim said that “his son was not assaulted physically or was not subjected to bad behavior”. The boy who was the victim said that he was “treated in a good manner”.
As a result, the sentence and life imprisonment were overturned under sec 364A, but since the fact of the kidnapping was proven, the court changed the judgment to sec 363 IPC, which provides for a maximum sentence of 7 years imprisonments.
Title: Shaik Ahmed v. State of Telangana
Bench: Justice Ashok Bhushan and R Subhash Reddy
Citation: LL 2021 SC 272