DACOITY UNDER THE INDIAN PENAL CODE

INTRODUCTION

Dacoity is an aggravated form of robbery. Here aggravated form of robbery means it not only includes the offence of robbery but also an aggravated form of the offence of theft and extortion which causes serious injuries to the victim. When robbery is committed by five or more than five persons then that offence is known as dacoity. In dacoity generally, the robbers are armed with deadly weapons.

As mentioned in the dictionary of oxford that a dacoity is an act of violent robbery committed by an armed gang which consists of five or more than five persons. There is only one difference between dacoity and robbery is that the offence of robbery can be committed by only one person but when the offence of robbery is committed by five or more than five person who holds deadly weapons then that offence is known as dacoity.

MEANING AND DEFINITION OF DACOITY UNDER IPC

Section 391 of the Indian Penal Code states that when five or more than five persons joined together to commit or attempt to commit robbery, or where the whole number of persons associatively committing or attempting to commit an offence of robbery, and persons present and aiding such commission or attempt, amount to five or more than five, every person so committing, attempting or aiding, is said to commit the offence of “dacoity”.

ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS OF DACOITY

The essential ingredients of dacoity are as given below:

  1. The act must be done by five or more than five persons;
  2. The members who commit or attempt to commit the offence must act conjointly; and
  3. The members must have dishonest intentions.
  1. Five or more than five persons

The commission of a robbery in association by five or more than five persons is an essential ingredient of the offence of dacoity under this section.

In the case of Ram Shanker Singh v State of Uttar Pradesh[1], there were six persons who were charged with committing dacoity. Three out of the six persons were acquitted by the court. The charge and facts of the case did not indicate that along with the six persons there were other unknown persons with them in the commission of the offence of dacoity. The charge was that the six persons, who were placed on trial, were the persons who had committed the offence of dacoity. Since three persons were acquitted, there were only three other persons left as the persons involved with the crime of dacoity. Hence, it was held that the remaining three persons could be convicted only for the lesser offence of robbery under section 392 and not for dacoity under section 395.[2]

In the case of Om Prakash v State of Rajasthan[3], the honorable Supreme Court ruled that where the charge of dacoity is against five person and out of those five person two are acquitted by the court therefore, the remaining three cannot be convicted for dacoity[4].

  • Conjointly commit or attempt to commit dacoity

To constitute the offence of dacoity, the act must be done conjointly by five or more than five persons to commit or attempt to commit dacoity. The word “conjointly” means united, joined together, or in an association.[5] All five persons should act in a collective manner participating in the transaction.

  • Dishonest intention

Though this section of IPC does not use the term “intentionally” aid, the requirement of intention can be imported into the section, as an essential element of the offence of dacoity and robbery is an aggravated form of the offence of theft and extortion and dishonest intention is an essential element of both theft and extortion. Thus, there cannot be an offence of dacoity under this section, unless an element of “dishonest intention” on the part of the offender is present.

PUNISHMENT FOR DACOITY

In section 395 of the Indian Penal Code, it is mentioned that whoever commits dacoity shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to a fine and the offence of dacoity is cognizable, non – bailable, and non-compoundable in nature.

Section 395 comes into play only when the prosecution makes out an offence under section 390 and the number of assailants reaches to the statutory minimum.[6] Under this section, the maximum punishment is life imprisonment or rigorous imprisonment for a term that may extend to ten years and a fine can also be imposed. The courts have held that in cases of dacoity, the sentence of deterrence is called for because the offence of dacoity is considered a very grave and serious crime. Two things must be considered while awarding punishment for dacoity: (1) having regard to the gravity of the offence committed, the punishment that each individual deserves, and (2) the facts and circumstances of a particular case, whether an unusually heavy sentence is required to protect the interests of the public at large by acting as a deterrent to others.

OFFENCES CONNECTED WITH DACOITY

Section 399, 400, and 402 are all provisions that deal with offences connected with dacoity. Dacoity is probably the only offences in the IPC, which the legislature has made punishable at three stages. They are: (1) making preparations for the commission of dacoity { a person who makes preparation is punishable under section 399} ; (2) assembling for the purpose of commuting dacoity {each of the person who assembles is guilty under section 402}; and (3) belonging to a gang of dacoits {section 400}.

  1. Preparation to commit dacoity

Section 399 of the Indian Penal Code states that whoever makes any preparation for committing dacoity, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to a fine.

2. Assembling for the purpose of committing dacoity

Section 402 of the Indian Penal Code states that whoever, at any time after the passing of this Act, shall be one of five or more than five persons assembled for the purpose of committing dacoity, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.

3. Belonging to gangs of dacoits

Section 400 of the Indian Penal Code states that whoever, at any time after the passing of this Act, shall belong to a gang of persons associated for the purpose of habitually committing dacoity, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

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://blog.ipleaders.in/robbery-and-dacoity/
  4. https://knowlaw.in/index.php/2021/01/03/robbery-and-dacoity/
  5. https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1337698/
  6. https://bnblegal.com/article/dacoity/

[1] Ram Shanker Singh v State of Uttar Pradesh, AIR 1956 SC 441 : (1956) Cr LJ 822 (SC)

[2] Ram Lakhan v State of Uttar Pradesh, AIR 1983 Sc 352 : (1983( Cr LJ 691 (SC); Wilson Abraham v State of Maharashtra, (1995) Cr LJ 4042 (Bom) : 1996 (1) MhLJ 437.

[3] Om Prakash v State of Rajasthan, AIR 1998 SC 1220 : (1998) Cr LJ 1636 (SC).

[4] Mushu Pentu v State of Andhra Pradesh, (2005) Cr LJ 135 (AP).

[5] Krishna Gopal Singh v State of Uttar Pradesh, AIR 2000 SC 3616.

[6] Gopal Singh v State of Uttar Pradesh, (2000) SCC 93 (Cri); Bishwanath Jha v State of Bihar, (2001) 10 JT 333 : 2002 (1) ACR 341 (SC).

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