Death Sentence Prescribed Under Section 364A IPC For Kidnapping For Ranson Not Ultra-Vires The Constitution

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In the case of Himalayan Vikram Singh v. Union of India, decided on 21st August 2015 by the Supreme Court of India presided by the 3-judge bench of Justice T.S.Thakur, Justice R.K. Agrawal and Justice A.K. Goel. The question before the Court was that whether Section 364A inserted in the IPC by Act 42 of 1993 which deals with kidnapping for ranson was ultra-vires the Constitution to the extent the same prescribes death sentence for anyone found guilty. The bench held that given the background in which the law was enacted and the concern shown by the Parliament for the safety and security of the citizens and the unity, sovereignty and integrity of the country, the punishment prescribed for those committing any act contrary to Section 364A cannot be dubbed as so outrageously disproportionate to the nature of the offence as to call for the same being declared unconstitutional. The Court also stated that the gradual growth of the challenges posed by kidnapping and abductions for ransom, not only by ordinary criminals for monetary gain or as an organized activity for economic gains but by terrorist organizations is what necessitated the incorporation of Section 364A of the IPC and a stringent punishment for those indulging in such activities.

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