Kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage, etc (Section 366 of IPC)

Legal provisions regarding Kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage, etc under section 366 of Indian Penal Code, 1860.

Kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage, etc:

Section 366 of the Indian Penal Code provides 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, or knowing it to be likely that she will be forced or seduced to illicit intercourse, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine; and whoever, by means of criminal intimidation as defined in this Code or of abuse of authority or any other method of compulsion induces any woman to go from any place with intent that she may be, or knowing that it is likely that she will be, forced or seduced to illicit intercourse with another person shall also be punishable as aforesaid.”

The offence under Section 366 is cognizable, non-bailable, non- compoundable and is exclusively triable by the Court of Session.

Mere abduction does not warrant Section 366. It comes into operation only when the kidnapper or abductor abducts a woman for the purpose of compelling her to marry any person against her will or in order that she may be forced or seduced to illicit intercourse. Even subsequent intent or act of intercourse with the kidnapped or abducted girl cannot bring the case within the purview of Section 366, if such an intent was absent at the time when the accused enticed the girl.

Seduction in this section means not merely inducement to submit to sexual intercourse for the first time, but includes subsequent illicit sexual intercourse as well. However, in the case of a woman who habitually carried on the profession of a prostitute, the essential element of seduction is ruled out and hence the offence under Section 366 cannot be committed in connection with such a woman.

Where the prosecutrix was herself responsible for taking the accused to other city on the pretext of getting married, there it is not a case of taking away or enticing away the minor out of the keeping of the lawful guardian.

The word ‘marry’ in this section implies going through a form of marriage whether the same is in fact valid or not.

Use of force is not an essential ingredient of Section 366 IPC. Abduction or kidnapping can be achieved even by deceitful means.

The expression ‘against her will’ means that the act was done not only without consent of the woman, but in spite of her opposition to the doing of it.

There is a conflict of opinion among some High Courts regarding the validity of minor girl’s consent to marriage with the person who kidnaps her.