The Indian Penal Code, 1860, sets forth the rules that regulate criminal activity in India. It is a substantive piece of legislation that lists all criminal offences and imposes punishment on offenders who violate it. One of these offences covered by Chapter XII of the Indian Penal Code is criminal intimidation. Intimidation is defined as “to frighten someone in order to get them to do what we want,” according to the Oxford Dictionary. Criminal intimidation is defined as an offence in Section 503 of the Indian Penal code as when someone threatens someone with harm to their person, reputation, or property with the intention of coercing them into performing an act for which they are not legally required. An intimidator is someone who threatens another person.
In Section 503 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, defines the crime of criminal intimidation. According to the clause, criminal intimidation is committed by anyone who makes threats against another person on any of the following grounds.
- Threatens injury to a person;
- Threatens injury to reputation;
- Threatens injury to his property;
- Threatens injury to the person or reputation of anyone in whom the person is interested.
It should also be the aim to forewarn this individual, or to cause him to take any action he is not legally required to take, or to omit any action that he or she is legally permitted to do. As a result, they are forced to carry out one of these crimes in order to stop the commission of the other, which results in criminal intimidation.
Threatens injury to a person
It includes any admonition or threat to harm someone physically. For purposes of this clause, only physical injury must be taken into account; any psychological or physical damage endured by a person is not included. A clear communication to the other person is also required, and the threat must be unequivocal in form.
Threatens injury to reputation
As it will lower a person’s value in the eyes of society, the word “reputation” is employed in the sense of goodwill. In order words, any attempt or threat to harm goodwill also falls under the umbrella of criminal intimidation.
Threatens injury to his property
An individual places special significance on his property or riches because it is the product of his tireless labour. Consequently, it is likewise illegal to issue a threat or warning that could cause harm to his property. Real and intangible property are both included in the definition of property.
Threatens injury to the person or reputation of anyone in whom the person is interested.
By adding this clause, criminal intimidation has a wider definition now. If a threat or warning is made with the intent to damage someone with whom the speaker has a personal connection, it is an offence under this clause. It discusses any warnings that he may have given to his wife, son, or other members of his close family, to put it simply. Additionally, it is noted in the section 503 explanation that this rule also applies to threats made against the reputation of a deceased person.
PUNISHMENT FOR CRIMINIAL INTIMIDATION
The punishment for the offence of criminal intimidation is laid down under Section 506 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
The provision is divided into two parts:
- In simple cases of criminal intimidation, whoever commits criminal intimidation is liable to be punished with imprisonment for a period which may extend to two years, or a fine, or both.
- If the threat is to cause:
Death or grievous hurt;
Destruction of any property by fire;
To cause an offence to be committed which is punishable with imprisonment up to a term of seven years, life imprisonment or death;
To attribute unchastity to a woman.
The recommended punishment in the aforementioned situations is either a fine, a sentence of simple or solitary confinement up to seven years, or both. As opposed to the first portion of the regulation, the second section of it deals with the punishments for more serious types of criminal intimidation.
The requirements of society are far behind what this IPC chapter provides. The law must continuously change to keep up with a changing culture. More inclusive definitions are required, and the penalties must actually serve as a deterrent. There have been numerous amendment-related laws introduced in parliament, however they are all currently waiting. It’s past time for the judiciary and government to acknowledge the need for change and the necessity of constantly broadening the application of the law. Since change cannot be enacted overnight, rules like those prohibiting criminal intimidation, annoyance, and insult must be listed first because there have been numerous instances of these acts being implicated but not specifically mentioned in the law. It is necessary to broaden the application of such provisions.
Chassang, S., & Miquel, G. P. I. (2019). Crime, intimidation, and whistleblowing: A theory of inference from unverifiable reports. The Review of Economic Studies, 86(6), 2530-2553.
RAJYALAKSHMI, D., LAXMI, N. J., & NIRMALA, J. (2019). CYBER BULLYING AND RELATED LAWS: A REVIEW OF LITERATURE. Performance of Development Programmes in India-Issues and Challenges, 1, 177.
Goyal, N. (2020). Criminal Intimidation and Failed Prosecutions. National Journal of Criminal Law, 3(2), 35-40.
Duong, D., & Vogel, L. (2022). What do new intimidation laws mean for health workers and patients?.
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