The Supreme Court has ruled that if a person kidnaps a child for ransom but looks after the minor well and does not threaten to kill or harm the hostage to extract release money from parents, then the kidnapper could not be sentenced to life imprisonment under Section 364A of Indian Penal Code.

A bench of justices Ashok Bhusan and R Subhash Reddy made the observation while setting aside the conviction of an auto driver in Telangana who had kidnapped a minor and demanded a ransom of Rs 2 lakh from his father.

The Justices said essential ingredients are kidnapping or abduction of any person or keeping him in detention, threatening to cause death or hurt to such person, or the kidnapper’s conduct gives rise to a reasonable apprehension that victim may be put to death or hurt in order to compel the Government, foreign State or any Governmental organization or any other person to pay a ransom.

The top court was hearing an appeal filed by Telangana resident Shaik Ahmed challenging a high court order. The high court had dismissed his plea against conviction and sentence of life imprisonment under section 364 A of the IPC.

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