SC: Mere Abduction of Woman does not Establish Offence u/Sec 366 of IPC


April 26, 2018

Case name: Kavita Chandrakant Lakhani v. The State of Maharashtra & ors.

Date of Judgment: April 24, 2018

Brief Facts of the case: In the case a FIR had been registered by the Appellant against the Respondent no.2 whereby it was alleged that the Respondent No. 2 and the appellant were in a birthday party along with their friends. After finishing the party, Respondent No. 2, on the pretext of dropping the appellant to the venue for dinner, with whom she was in relationship earlier, drove her to his home and when the appellant refused to come out of the car, Respondent No. 2 forcibly lifted her up and took her to his house and put her on bed. Thereafter he started her using his waist belt and touching her inappropriately on her private parts in order to outrage her modesty.

The Sessions Court in the case had discharged the Respondent no. 2 of offence under Section 366 of Indian Penal Code. Later on in appeal before the High Court, even the High Court dismissed the appeal.

What is Section 366 of Indian Penal Code?

Section 366 of IPC provides for kidnapping, abduction or inducing women to compel her marriage. It states that whoever kidnaps or abducts any woman with intent that she may be compelled, or knowing it to be likely that she will be compelled, to marry any person against her will, or in order that she may be forced or seduced to illicit intercourse shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

In view of the aforesaid facts, the seminal issue that sprung before the Supreme Court in the facts of the case was whether the facts and circumstances of the case warranted prosecution of the respondent under Section 366 of Indian Penal Code?

Bench’s Verdict

While observing the facts and circumstances of the case, the Two-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court held that no offence of abduction was made out under Section 366 of Indian Penal Code. The other observations made by the Court in the case are enumerated below:

What constitutes offence of Abduction under Section 366 of IPC?

  • That in order to constitute the offence of ‘abduction’ a person must be carried off illegally by force or deception, that is, to compel a person by force or deceitful means to induce to go from one place to another.
  • That the intention of the accused is the basis and the gravamen of an offence under this Section. The volition, the intention and the conduct of the accused determine the offence; they can only bear upon the intent with which the accused kidnapped or abducted the woman, and the intent of the accused is the vital question for determination in each case. Once the necessary intent of the accused is established, the offence is complete, whether or not the accused succeeded in effecting his purpose, and whether or not the woman consented to the marriage or the illicit intercourse.
  • That to constitute an offence under Section 366 of IPC, it is necessary for the prosecution to prove that the accused induced the complainant woman or compelled by force to go from any place, that such inducement was by deceitful means, that such abduction took place with the intent that the complainant may be seduced to illicit intercourse and/or that the accused knew it to be likely that the complainant may be seduced to illicit intercourse as a result of her abduction. Mere abduction does not bring an accused under the ambit of this penal section.
  • That to establish an offence under Section 366 of IPC mere finding that a woman was abducted is not enough, it must further be proved that the accused abducted the woman with the intent that she may be compelled, or knowing it to be likely that she will be compelled to marry any person or in order that she may be forced or seduced to illicit intercourse or knowing it to be likely that she will be forced or seduced to illicit intercourse.
  • That unless the prosecution proves that the abduction is for the purposes mentioned in Section 366 of IPC, the Court cannot hold the accused guilty and punish him under Section 366 of IPC.

The entire case can be accessed here.

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Shilpi Sharan

- Shilpi Sharan is the Editor at Vakilno1.com - an Advocate with extensive knowledge in myriad fields of Law. She has a flair of writing and has legal publications in national and international law magazines to her credit. She focuses on legal research and aims at raising public awareness of laws in India.