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Difference between Kidnapping and Abduction

Many types of crimes are being committed all over the world. Kidnapping and Abduction have become very common crimes across the world. Kidnapping combines two words, 'kid' plus 'napping'. The term 'Kid' here refers to a 'child', and 'napping' means 'stealing'. So, kidnapping refers to the stealing of a child. On the other hand, abduction is forcing somebody to go somewhere with a kidnapper.

Although these two may seem quite similar, there are some notable differences. Let us discuss in detail:

Kidnapping: What does it mean?

Kidnapping is defined as a crime under Section 359. It is a criminal law where a person is taken away against his will using violence. Simply, we can say a minor or an unsound-minded person is carried away from legal guardianship. This offense is not continuous, so it doesn't take place in a go. The moment when a person is carried away from the guardian's law, it is said to be kidnapping.

Difference between Kidnapping and Abduction

There is a further division of kidnapping, one in section 360, i.e., kidnapping from India, and the other under section 361, kidnapping from a lawful guardian. The kidnapped people are generally either minors who are below 18 years old or unsound-minded people.

The consent of the lawful guardian is important to decide the crime in "kidnapping from the lawful guardian". On the other hand, "kidnapping from India" is done without the person's consent. The intention here is immaterial. This offense is considered substantive, as the thought of carrying away a person is itself a crime.

For this crime, there is a provision of punishment under section 363. The punishments include imprisonment, which may extend up to 7 years or more.

Reasons for Kidnapping

  1. Ransom: This is the first and foremost reason for kidnapping. The kidnapper kidnaps people for money or ransom, which he could obtain from people by wrongdoings-the illegal money that is procured by threatening them or their families.
  2. Political Power or Interest: Kidnapping is done to intimidate and cut the other person's interest in authority, and the power is taken or snatched from the political chair.

Types of Kidnapping

1. Kidnapping from the Lawful Guardian: In kidnapping from a lawful guardian, anyone who induces or entices a male, female, or minor under the age of 16 or a person of unsound mind without the consent of the lawful guardian is said to be a criminal conducting a crime.

The offense here is completed when the person of unsound mind or minor is carried away from its legal guardianship.

3. Kidnapping from India: In this, a person is taken away beyond the limits of India without consent, which is said to be an offense. The offense here is not completed until & unless the victim reaches the foreign territory. It is not just limited to minors but includes people of all ages.

4. Kidnapping for Begging (Section 363): Under section 363, punishment is provided for kidnapping for Begging. This section was instructed under the act of the Indian Panel Code (IPC) in 1959.

There is a provision for punishment for a person who commits the crime of kidnapping a minor. The punishment here can be extended up to 10 years imprisonment. If the need arises, lifetime imprisonment or a fine may also be imposed. Major elements of this offense are: the minor must be kidnapped, and they must have been used him/ her for begging. The kidnapper should not be the lawful guardian, and he shouldn't have custody of the minor.

5. Express Kidnapping: It is a kidnapping that takes place for demanding ransom. In this, a person is carried away from their loved ones. Express kidnapping is separated from classic abduction. Notably, the classic abduction involves planning, and then it asks for ransom from the victim's parents or others.

6. Stranger Kidnapping: It is a situation where the abductor doesn't know about his victims.


If someone commits a crime like kidnapping, various types of punishments are given for it. Section 364 imposes imprisonment for ten years plus a fine. Section 364A, kidnapping a child for ransom, again puts imprisonment for ten years, etc.

Abduction: What does it mean?

Abduction is compelling someone to go somewhere in deceitful ways. It comes under section 362. It is continuous. The crime is not complete until a person is transferred to another place. But for abduction, no classification of abduction or sections comes under it but only one that processes all functions. There is no age group for considering the offense as abduction. It is applied to all. Force and violence are highly used elements in abduction. Here, the person who gets abducted is taken into account and not the lawful guardian like in kidnapping. Consent is very important for the abducted person to condone the person who has committed the offense. It is important to know his intentions in deciding the guilt of the abductor. It can be done either for ransom or sometimes to murder a person.

Difference between Kidnapping and Abduction

Types of Abduction

1. Child Abduction: It occurs when a child is separated from his/ her place or is persuaded to move somewhere else. The strangers or parents might abduct them.

Ways to Prevent Child Abduction

  • Parents should teach their children about personal details, including phone numbers, name, etc. It will help the children to call their parents in case of emergency.
  • Children should be taught not to take any gifts from strangers from the beginning.
  • Parents should advise their children to lock the door if they are at home alone.
  • Children must be taught to say 'no' if somebody asks for help.
  • The local emergency number, such as 911 or any other (based on respective nation, or state), should be used.
  • Children should be advised to stay away from the online platform. They should not post any of their personal photos or any details that might help the abductor to know about them.

2. Marriage by Abduction: It is a situation when a bride is taken away from her parents without their permission.

Sections of Abduction

  1. Section 362: It is said to be abduction when a person is forced or compelled to go somewhere with deceitful tricks.
    • Abduction is only considered if done by force or some violent method. It typically includes misleading someone.
    • The person who is being abducted should move. They should move from the existing place to another. If this movement does not happen then it will not be considered as kidnapping.
    • The abduction offense should be continuous. Not only the abductor but everyone who is involved in the crime will be punished.
  2. Section 364: If the abduction is done to murder somebody, he is jailed for ten years. The fine is taken along with putting him in jail.
  3. Section 365: If it is done to confine the person using unfair means, it lays the punishment for seven years in jail and a fine.
  4. Section 366: It punishes for ten years imprisonment if a woman is compelled to marry.
  5. Section 368: If a child under 10 years of age is kidnapped for theft, the kidnapper faces seven years' imprisonment, along with a fine.


There are different punishments for different abductions. The type of punishment completely depends on the level of crime committed.

Key Differences Between Kidnapping and Abduction

Basis Kidnapping Abduction
Provision It comes under sections 359-361 of IPC. It comes under section 362 of IPC.
Age A minor of up to 18 years and an unsound mind are kidnapped. The age group doesn't matter. Anybody can be abducted.
Guardianship Lawful guardianship is important when a child is removed from parents. If there is no guardianship, then it wouldn't be considered kidnapping. It focuses on the person being abducted and not the guardianship.
Means The means to kidnap might be innocent. Here, threats and violence are used to abduct somebody.
Completion of Offence It is not a continuous process. This is accomplished only when a person is kidnapped. It is continuous and uncompleted until the person is taken to another place.
Intention Intention is not important in a kidnapping. A person is liable whether the kidnapping is done with good or bad intentions. The intention is important in abduction to decide the offense. A person will be punished if any intention lies behind the abduction.
Consent Consent is immaterial of a person being enticed. Consent is important; if there is free consent of the person being abducted, it will not be regarded as abduction.

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