Kidnapping vs. Abduction

kidnapping vs. Abduction

Abduction and Kidnapping are particular types of offences under the Indian Penal Code. A person is taken away in secret or with use of force without his or her consent or without the consent of his guardian.

Kidnapping means stealing away of a man, woman, or child from their own country, and sending them into another.[1] The literal meaning of kidnapping is “child stealing” and it has been given a wider connotation than its literal meaning. The major ingredient of kidnapping is that it involves taking away of a person without his/her consent or the consent of the lawful guardian.

Kidnapping, according toWalker, is the common name for the common law offence of carrying away, or secreting, of any person against his will, or against the will of his lawful guardians.

In common language the meaning of abduction is forcibly or fraudulently carrying away of a person. Abduction has been defined as the illegal act of taking away a person by force, fraud or violence.

  • In Bahadur Ali v. King Emperor[2] , the court held that where the accused represented himself as a police constable and kept the girl in his possession in his own house for a ransom of Rs. 600, such an act is the offence of abduction.
  • In Gurucharan Singh v. State of Haryana[3] , the prosecutrix was threatened with a pistol by the accused and forced to go with him, such taking away was held to be abduction.
Basis Kidnapping Abduction
Provision Kidnapping is classified in Section 359 into two categories and is defined in Section 360 and 361 which relates to Kidnapping from India and Kidnapping from Lawful Guardianship. Definition to the offence of Abduction is given under Section 362 of the Indian Penal Code.
Age The offence of kidnapping relates to taking away of minors and people of unsound mind. The offence of Abduction is in respect of all persons.
Means Employed Kidnapping is an offence which involves taking away or enticing of a person. Abduction involves taking away of a person by fraud or by force.
Intention Intention of the person is of no significance. Once it is established that that taking away either outside India or outside the lawful guardianship is present, it amounts to kidnapping. Intention plays a major role in the offence of abduction. A person is punishable only if abduction is done with an ill intent or criminal intent.
Nature of Offence Kidnapping is a substantial offence and is punishable under Section 363 of the Indian Penal Code. Abduction is merely an auxiliary act and is not punishable unless it is done with a criminal intent.
Consent Consent of the person who is taken outside the custody of lawful guardian is immaterial. Consent given by the person who is taken, takes the act out of the purview of abduction.
Completion of the Offence Once a person is taken out of the country or outside the custody of lawful guardian, the offence of kidnapping is complete. The offence of abduction involves forcibly or fraudulently taking of a person from one place to another, hence it is a continuing offence.


Position in United Kingdom

Abduction is taking away of a child or person by deception or force from their home and family. Kidnapping is defined by law as taking someone unwillingly and keeping them illegally imprisoned without their valid consent. Kidnapping is done with motive such as ransom or financial gain. Both minors and adults come under the purview of kidnapping in United Kingdom.

Position in United States of America

Abduction is the unlawful taking of a child from its parent, where the consent of the person abducted is immaterial. Kidnapping is the taking or detaining of a person without his or her consent or without lawful authority.

Edited by Chiranjeeb Prateek Mohanty
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje


[1] Black’s Law Dictionary 2nd Edition

[2] AIR 1923 Lah 158

[3] 1972 AIR 2661

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