Pocket Notes

Robbery and Dacoity

Robbery
Source – Social Media

Crime is an action or omission that is punishable by law under the Indian Penal Code of 1860. Chapter XVII contains the offenses relating to property which includes broad concepts like Robbery and Dacoity. 

Robbery

Section 390 of the IPC defines Robbery and Section 392 lays down the Punishment for the offense of Robbery. 

Section 390 states, “All Robbery is theft or extortion”. Now theft is defined under Section 378 of the IPC as “whoever intends to take dishonestly any movable property out of the possession of any person without that person’s consent and moves it, he/she is said to have committed a theft.” And, extortion is defined under Section 383 as “any person who intentionally puts another person in fear of injury and dishonestly induces him or her to deliver any valuable property or anything signed which can be converted into valuable security is said to have committed extortion“.

Now, in both theft and extortion, there is no voluntary threat to life or fear of instant threat or hurt. But, when theft is robbery,  the offender, for that end, voluntarily causes or attempts to cause to any person death or hurt or wrongful restraint, or fear of instant death or of instant hurt, or of instant wrongful restraint. When extortion is robbery, the offender, at the time of committing the extortion, is in the presence of the person put in fear, and commits the extortion by putting that person in fear of instant death, of instant hurt, or of instant wrongful restraint to that person or to some other person, and, by so putting in fear, induces the person so put in fear then and there to deliver up the thing extorted.

Explanation.—The offender is said to be present if he is sufficiently near to put the other person in fear of instant death, of instant hurt, or of instant wrongful restraint. 

Illustrations

  • Abhijeet fraudulently takes Bulbul’s purse and keys without Bulbul’s consent. Here, Abhijeet has committed the offense of theft. 
  • Ananya takes Bhuvan’s child and tells him to give Rs 5 Crs or she will kill the Child. Here, Ananya has committed the offense of Extortion and not robbery. Now, if Ananya says give Rs 5 cr right now or I will shoot your son this very second, he commits the offense of Robbery. In the latter part of the illustration what is important is the threat of INSTANT HARM or INSTANT DEATH. 
  • Shyam holds Raju down and fraudulently takes Raju’s purse and keys without Raju’s consent. Here, Shyam has stopped Raju’s movement since he is holding him down. Therefore, he has committed the offense of robbery as he voluntarily caused wrongful restraint. 

Essentials of Robbery

  • The section clearly states that Robbery is “theft or extortion” therefore, the commission of 
    • Theft under Section 378 or 
    • Extortion under Section 383.  
  • Voluntarily caused or attempted to cause fear of instant death or of instant hurt, or of instant wrongful restraint.

Landmark Cases

Abdul Rashid vs. Nausar Ali

In this case, an armed person had entered the field of the plaintiff and was cutting the crops of the plaintiff. However, it was held that this did not amount to Robbery rather it amounted to theft, as the element of threat was missing.

State of Maharashtra vs. Joseph Mingel

In this case, it was held that in order to establish Robbery by Theft it was essential to prove all the 5 necessary ingredients laid down under Section 378 which is said to constitute theft. If anyone of the five ingredients of Section 378 is not fulfilled then, robbery under Section 390 cannot be said to have been committed

Dacoity

Dacoity has been defined under Section 391 of the IPC as “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 punishment for the offense of Dacoity is mentioned under Section 395 which declares it to be cognizable, non-bailable, non-compoundable, and triable by the Court of Sessions. 

Illustrations

  • Ali and his gang of 5 people broke into the house of Ram and locked his family in a room. They took the money and other valuable items. Here each and every member of Ali’s Gang has committed the offense of Dacoity. 
  • Abhimanyu and his 2 friends people broke into the house of Laddi and locked his family in a room. They took the money and other valuable items. Here each and every member of Abhimanyu’s Gang has committed the offense of Robbery. 
  • Asaduddin, Bakruddin, and Akbaruddin are gang leaders with 2 members each in their respective gang. All the Gangs work in isolation and have no knowledge of each other. One day, coincidentally, they break into the house of Surya and locked his family in a room. They took the money and other valuable items. Here, since the gangs were not conjointly committing or attempting to commit a robbery, they did not commit the offense of Dacoity. Each person is said to have committed Robbery. 

Essentials of Dacoity

  • There must be 5 or more people. 
  • The embers must be committing the act or must attempt to commit the act conjointly or Joined together; combined. 
  • Robbery must take place by 5 or more people with dishonest intentions. 

Landmark Cases

The State v. Sadhu Singh Ors.

Kurda Singh along with 4 other armed offenders committed the act of Dacoity at the house of Gharsiram. They caused injuries to the Plaintiff and his family and were only able to take a wristwatch and shawl. Out of the 5 people, one was not able to take anything. However, since the 5 were working conjointly, they were booked under Section 391 and punished under Section 395 of the IPC. 

BasisRobberyDacoity
DefinitionSection 390. All Robbery is theft or extortion and the offender Voluntarily causes or attempted to cause fear of instant death or of instant hurt, or of instant wrongful restraint. Section 391. When five or more persons conjointly commit or attempt to commit a robbery.
Punishment Section 392. rigorous imprisonment which may be extended up to ten years and shall also be liable to pay a fine. 
If Robbery is committed on the highway between sunset and sunrise, then the period of imprisonment may be extended up to 14 years.
Section 395. 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.
Number Less than 5, if working Conjointly. 5 or more working Conjointly.
Nature Generic offence, aggravated from theft or extortion. Specify Form, aggravated from Robbery.

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