New Delhi, Jan 13 | The Supreme Court said that the consent of a minor would be no defence to a charge of kidnapping as it upheld the conviction of a man for kidnapping a minor girl in 1998.
A bench headed by Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices S. Abdul Nazeer and Surya Kant said: “A minor girl’s infatuation with her alleged kidnapper cannot by itself be allowed as a defence, for the same would amount to surreptitiously undermining the protective essence of the offence of kidnapping.”
However, the top court, which upheld the accused’s conviction for kidnapping, abducting or inducing the woman to compel her marriage, reduced the quantum of sentence to the period of imprisonment already undergone.
The top court noted that the accused contention of consensual affair and that victim had joined his company voluntarily is not acceptable, as the girl was below 18 years of age.
It said that the lower courts were seemingly right in observing that the consent of the minor would be no defence to a charge of kidnapping. “No fault can thus be found with the conviction of the appellant under Section 366 of IPC,” said the top court.
The bench also noted that there is little to suggest that she was aware of the full purport of her actions or that she possessed the mental acuity and maturity to take care of herself.
The top court said the present crime was one of passion. “No other charges, antecedents, or crimes either before 1998 or since then, have been brought to our notice. The appellant has been rehabilitated and is now leading a normal life. The possibility of recidivism is therefore extremely low,” it said.
The victim had initially claimed that she was forcibly taken, raped and pressurised into marrying the man. Later, she admitted to be in love with the accused during cross-examination.