Death sentence prescribed under S. 364A IPC for kidnapping for ranson not ultra vires the Constitution

Court: Deciding the matter where the question before
the 3-judge bench of T.S. Thakur, R.K. Agrawal and A.K. Goel, JJ 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.

Going into the legislative intent behind
the said provision, the Court said 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.

Stating that judicial discretion is
available to Courts to choose one of the two sentences prescribed for such an
offence, the Court made it clear that just because the sentence of death is a
possible punishment that may be awarded in appropriate cases cannot make it per
se inhuman or barbaric so as to infringe the right to life guaranteed under Article
21 of the Constitution. [Vikram Singh v.
Union of India, decided on 21.08.2015]
Source: Legal news India

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