STATE OF TELANGANA
Criminal Appeal No. 533 of 2021, Decided on 28th June, 2021
Judges: Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy JJ.
The facts in brief of the case are that the appeal before the Supreme Court was filed by the accused challenging the judgment of the High Court questioning his conviction and sentence under Section 364A IPC.
The case before the High Court came from the Sessions Judge who after considering the evidence led by witnesses held that accused kidnapped “P” and telephoned to “F” demanding Rs. 2 lakhs for release of “P”.
The learned Sessions Judge had held that prosecution clearly established the guilt of the accused for the offence under Section 364A IPC. After recording conviction, he was sentenced to undergo life imprisonment for offence under Section 364A IPC and also liable to pay fine of Rs. 5,000/-.
The appeal was dismissed by the High Court by the impugned judgment dated 06.08.2019. The High Court held that “P” was kidnapped by the accused and ransom of Rs. 2 lakhs was demanded from “F”. When the appellant-accused came to collect the ransom amount demanded, he was apprehended by the police thus, the High Court held that prosecution proved the guilt of the accused beyond all reasonable doubt for the offence punishable under Section 364A of IPC.
In the appeal before the Supreme Court observed that there is no such conduct of the accused discussed by the Courts below, which may give a reasonable apprehension that the accused had led to believe that the victim may be put to death or hurt nor there is anything in the evidence on the basis of which it can be held that second part of the condition attached to Section 364A IPC is fulfilled.
Thus, the Supreme Court, set aside the conviction of the appellant under Section 364A. However, the offence of kidnapping having been proved, the appellant was convicted under Section 363 IPC.
What are the essential ingredients of Section 346A to be proved beyond reasonable doubt by the prosecution for securing the conviction of an accused under Section 364A IPC?
Whether each and every ingredient as mentioned under Section 364A needs to be proved for securing conviction under Section 364A and non-establishment of any of the conditions may vitiate the conviction under Section 364A IPC?
Both the above noted issues were dealt by the Supreme Court together and the Court after noticing the statutory provision of Section 364A and the law laid down by the Court in cases, concluded that the essential ingredients to convict an accused under Section 364A which are required to be proved by prosecution are as follows:-
(i) Kidnapping or abduction of any person or keeping a person in detention after such kidnapping or abduction; and
(ii) threatens to cause death or hurt to such person, or by his conduct gives rise to a reasonable apprehension that such person may be put to death or hurt or;
(iii) causes hurt or death to such person in order to compel the Government or any foreign State or any Governmental organization or any other person to do or abstain from doing any act or to pay a ransom.
Thus, after establishing first condition, one more condition has to be fulfilled since after first condition, as the word used is “and”. Thus, in addition to first condition either condition (ii) or (iii) has to be proved, failing which conviction under Section 364A cannot be sustained.