“Punishment is not for revenge, but to lessen crime and reform the criminal.”
- Elizabeth Fry
In our society there are various crimes, on prima facie basis they seem to be very much similar to each other, but on a closer look it may be found that there are slight differences which distinguish one from another.
Two such crimes are dacoity and extortion.
Section 391 of IPC defines dacoity. “When five or more persons conjointly commit or attempt to commit a robbery, or where the whole number of persons conjointly committing or attempting to commit a robbery, and persons present and aiding such commission or attempt, amount to five or more, every person so committing, attempting or aiding, is said to commit ‘dacoity’.”
The essential ingredients of Dacoity are:
(i) five or more persons must act in association;
(ii) such act must be robbery or attempt to commit robbery; and
(iii) the five persons must consist of those who themselves commit or attempt to commit robbery or those who are present and aid the principal actors in the commission or attempt of such robbery.
Section 383 of IPC defines what Extortion is. According to this Section “Whoever intentionally puts any person in fear of any injury to that person, or to any other, and thereby dishonestly induces the person so put in fear to deliver to any person any property or valuable security, or anything signed or sealed which may be converted into a valuable security, commits ‘extortion’.”
The essential ingredients of the offence of extortion are:
(1) intentionally putting a person in fear of injury
(2) the purpose of which is to dishonestly induce the person put in fear
(3) to deliver property or valuable security.
In R.S Nayak v. A.R Antulay, the Supreme Court went into great detail on what constitutes extortion. Before a person is said to be put in danger of harm, there must be something the accused is accused of doing or failing to do that he is legally obligated to do. That is, if a person agrees to do anything that he is not legally obliged to do and then refuses to do so unless money is paid to him, that is not extortion.
The State vs Sadhu Singh and Others, Four and one kurda Singh was involved in committing a dacoity in this case. They were all armed with lethal guns like rifles and handguns. They committed a robbery at Gharsiram's home. They inflicted injuries on Gharsiram, Jugalkishore, Sandal, and Jugalkisore. In this scenario, the dacoits attempted to steal a wristwatch and a shawl from one person, but since they were farmers, the dacoits were unable to take anything with them. When the dacoits began fleeing the villagers, they were pursued fiercely, and in response, the dacoits fired a fire. Dharma, one of the villagers, died as a result, but the villages rescued one of the dacoits. In this case, the dacoits were charged under Section 395 of the Indian Penal Code.
Dacoity is the only offence that has been divided by the legislature into 4 stages; it has made every stage punishable separately. When five or more persons assemble for the purpose of committing a dacoity, each of them is punishable under section 402 merely on the ground of joining the assembly. Another stage is that of preparation and accordingly, if anyone makes a preparation to commit dacoity, he is liable to be punished under section 399.The third stage is the attempting to commit and the fourth is the actual commission of the crime. Also, attempt to commit dacoity is also considered as dacoity. On the other hand, whoever commits extortion shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both. Section 384 deals with the punishment for extortion.
This article explains the concept of extortion and Dacoity according to the Indian Penal Code, 1860. All of this has been clarified using applicable examples and case law. These are important to understand because, although these words can seem to be identical, they vary in their legal application. They're often used interchangeably. This article provides an outline of all of these principles in light of and in accordance with the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
1. Paliwala, M. (2019, December 19). Elaboration on robbery AND Dacoity Under Indian Penal code, 1890. Retrieved April 01, 2021, from https://blog.ipleaders.in/robbery-and-dacoity/amp/
2. Distinction between theft, Extortion, robbery AND Dacoity. (2020, September 19). Retrieved April 01, 2021, from https://lexquest.in/distinction-between-theft-extortion-robbery-and-dacoity/#:~:text=In%20case%20of%20theft%2C%20movable,dacoity%20also%2C%20there%20is%20no
3. Indian penal Code, 1860. (1860, January 01). Retrieved April 01, 2021, from https://www.indiacode.nic.in/handle/123456789/2263?locale=en