EXTORTION UNDER THE INDIAN PENAL CODE

INTRODUCTION

Extortion is an offence against property. Extortion is the act of obtaining something from any person using force and threat of injury. The offence of extortion takes a middle place between the offence of theft and the offence of robbery, which are also the offences against property.

MEANING AND DEFINITION OF EXTORTION UNDER IPC

Chapter 17 of the Indian Penal Code covers the offences against property. Section 383 of the IPC defines extortion as whoever intentionally puts any person in fear of any injury to that person, or to any other, and thereby dishonestly induces that person and 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.

ILLUSTRATIONS

  1. A threatens to publish a defamatory libel against B unless B gives him money. Therefore he induces B to give him money. A has committed Extortion.
  2. A threatens B that he will keep B’s child in wrongful confinement unless B will deliver to A valuable jewelry binding B to give them to A. B delivers the jewelry. A has committed extortion.
  3. A threatens to send club-men to plow up B’s field unless B will sign and deliver to A a bond binding B under a penalty to deliver certain produce to A, and thereby induces B to sign and deliver the bond. A has committed extortion.
  4. A, by putting B in fear of grievous hurt, dishonestly induces B to sign his seal to a blank paper and deliver it to A. B signs and deliver the paper to A. Here, the paper so signed may be converted into valuable security or property. A has committed extortion.

ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS OF EXTORTION

  1. Intentionally putting any person in fear of injury;
  2. Dishonestly inducing any person so put in fear to deliver to any person any property or valuable security.

These essentials have been restated by the Supreme Court :

  1. The accused must put a person in fear of injury to him or to any other person;
  2. So putting of a person in such fear must be intentional;
  3. The accused must thereby induce the person so put in fear of injury to deliver to any person any property or anything signed or sealed which may be converted into a valuable security;
  4. Such inducement must be done dishonestly.[1]

1. Puts any person in fear of any injury:

The ‘fear’ must be of such a nature and extent as to unsettle the mind of the person on whom it operates, and takes away from his acts that elements of free voluntary action which alone constitute the consent.[2]

2. Dishonestly induces the person to deliver to any person any property.

Delivery by the person who has been put in fear is essential in order to constitute the offence of extortion. Where a person through fear offers no resistance to the carrying off of his property but does not deliver any of his property to those who carry it off, the offence committed will be the robbery and not the extortion.[3] The offence of extortion is not complete before the actual delivery of the possession of the property by the person who has been put in fear.[4]

PUNISHMENT FOR THE OFFENCE OF EXTORTION

Section 384 of IPC: This section of IPC states that a person who commits extortion shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with a fine, or with both.

Section 385 of IPC: This section of IPC states that a person in order to the committing of extortion, puts any person in fear, or attempts to put any person in fear, of any injury, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or both.

Section 386 of IPC: This section of IPC states that a person commits extortion by putting any person in fear of death or of grievous hurt to that person or to any other, he shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Section 387 of IPC: This section of IPC states that a person in order to the committing of extortion, puts or attempts to put any person in fear of death or of grievous hurt to that person or to any other, he shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Section 388 of IPC: This section of IPC states that a person commits extortion by putting any person in fear of an accusation against that person or any other, of having committed or attempted to commit any offence punishable with death, or with[5] [imprisonment of life], or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years, or of having attempted to induce any other person to commit such offence, he shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and he shall also be liable to fine; and, if the offence is one punishable under section 377 of IPC, may be punished with[6] [imprisonment of life].

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEFT AND EXTORTION

Section 384.2 of this Code distinguished extortion from theft:

  1. Extortion is committed by obtaining consent wrongfully. In theft, the offender takes the property without the consent of the owner.
  2. The property obtained by extortion can be movable or immovable. But in theft, the property must be movable.
  3.  In extortion, the property is obtained by putting the person in the state of fear of injury to that person or to any other, and thereby dishonestly inducing him to part with his property. In theft, there is no role of force required.
  4. In theft delivery of the property to the offender is not required. But in extortion delivery of the property by the prosecutor is a must.

REFERENCES

  1. Sood, Jyoti Dogra. “PSA PILLAI’S CRIMINAL LAW.” (2018): 357-360.
  2. Ratanlal Ranchhoddas. Ratanlal & Dhirajlal’s the Indian Penal Code (Act XLV of 1860). New Delhi :Wadhwa & Co., 2007.
  3. https://www.ourlegalworld.com/theft-robbery-extortion-dacoity-under/
  4. https://www.writinglaw.com/section-389-ipc/
  5. https://blog.ipleaders.in/theft-extortion-indian-penal-code/
  6. https://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-2473-offences-against-property-under-indian-penal-code-1860-section-378-460-.html

[1] Dhananjay v State of Bihar, (2007) 14 SCC 768:2007 Cr LJ 1440; J Senthil Kumar v State of Jhar 2006 Cr LJ 4524(Jha).

[2] Walton v Walton, (1863) 9 Cox 268. Bare threats are not enough. Ramjee Singh v State of Bihar, 1987 Cr LJ 137 (Pat)

[3] Duleelooddeen Sheik, (1866) 5 WR (Cr) 19.

[4] Labhshanker, AIR 1955 Sau 42.

[5] Subs. By Act 26 of 1955, section 117 and Sch, for “transportation for life” (w.e.f. 1 january 1956).

[6] Subs. By Act 26 of 1955, section 117 and Sch, for “transportation for life” (w.e.f. 1 january 1956).

Aishwarya Says:

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