Robbery and Dacoity – Meaning and important provisions

By | February 11, 2018
Law Notes

Robbery in common language means to deprive a person of his or her property. The chief distinguishing element in robbery, theft and extortion is the presence of imminent fear of violence.

In all robbery, there is either theft or extortion. The essence of the offence of robbery is that the offender for committing theft or for carrying away or attempting to carry away the looted property, voluntarily causes or attempts to cause death or hurt or wrongful restraint.

Section 390 in The Indian Penal Code – Robbery

In all robbery, there is either theft or extortion.

When theft is robbery.—Theft is “robbery” if, in order to the committing of the theft, or in committing the theft, or in carrying away or attempting to carry away property obtained by the theft, 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.—Extortion is “robbery” if 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

(a) A holds Z down and fraudulently takes Z’s money and jewels from Z’s clothes without Z’s consent. Here A has committed theft, and in order to the committing of that theft, has voluntarily caused wrongful restraint to Z. A has therefore committed rob­bery.

(b) A meets Z on the high roads, shows a pistol, and demands Z’s purse. Z in consequence, surrenders his purse. Here A has extort­ed the purse from Z by putting him in fear of instant hurt, and being at the time of committing the extortion in his presence. A has therefore committed robbery.

Section 392 in The Indian Penal Code – Punishment for robbery.

Whoever commits robbery shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine; and, if the robbery be committed on the highway between sunset and sunrise, the imprisonment may be extended to fourteen years.

Section 393 in The Indian Penal Code – Attempt to commit robbery.

Whoever attempts to commit robbery shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Section 394 in The Indian Penal Code – Voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery.

If any person, in committing or in attempting to commit robbery, volun­tarily causes hurt, such person, and any other person jointly concerned in committing or attempting to commit such robbery, shall be punished with 1[imprisonment for life], or with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Dacoity

Section 391 of Indian Penal Code defines Dacoity. There is no difference between robbery and dacoity accept in the number of offenders. Dacoity is perhaps the only offence which the legislature has made punishable at four stages that is when 5 or more persons assemble for the purpose of committing a dacoity, each of them is punishable under section 402 merely on the grounds of joining the assembly. Another stage is preparation to commit a dacoity, the person is punishable under section 399. The third stage is the stage of attempting to commit and lastly the stage of the actual commission of a robbery. Thus attempt to commit dacoity is also dacoity.

Section 391  in The Indian Penal Code – 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”.

Essentials Ingredients of Dacoity

  1. The accused commit or attempt to commit robbery;
  2. Persons committing or attempting to commit robbery and person present and aiding must not be less than 5;
  3. All such person should act conjointly. (Om Prakash v. State, AIR 1956 All 163)

The word conjointly refers to the united or concerted action of 5 or more persons participating in the act of committing the offence. In other words, 5 or more person should be concerned in the commission of the offence and they should commit or attempt to commit robbery.

Section 395 in The Indian Penal Code – Punishment for dacoity

Whoever commits dacoity shall be punished with 1[imprisonment for life], or with rigorous impris­onment for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Section 396 in The Indian Penal Code – Dacoity with murder.

If anyone of five or more persons, who are conjointly committing dacoity, commits murder in so committing dacoity, every one of those persons shall be punished with death, or 1[imprisonment for life], or rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

In Om Prakash v. State, [AIR 1956 All 163] the offence of robbery and murder took place at the dead of Night there was official moonlight and Lantern light in a blink eyewitness to identify all the accused. Held, the offence under section 396 IPC was proper.

Section 397 in The Indian Penal Code – Robbery, or dacoity, with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt.

If, at the time of committing robbery or dacoity, the offender uses any deadly weapon, or causes grievous hurt to any person, or attempts to cause death or grievous hurt to any per­son, the imprisonment with which such offender shall be punished shall not be less than seven years.

Section 398 in The Indian Penal Code – Attempt to commit robbery or dacoity when armed with deadly weapon.

If at the time of attempting to commit robbery or dacoity, the offender is armed with any deadly weapon, the im­prisonment with which such offender shall be punished shall not be less than seven years.

Section 399 in The Indian Penal Code – Making preparation to commit dacoity.

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 fine.

Section 400 in The Indian Penal Code – Punishment for belonging to gang of dacoits.

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.

Section 401 in The Indian Penal Code – Punishment for belonging to gang of thieves.

Whoever, at any time after the passing of this Act, shall belong to any wandering or other gang of persons associated for the purpose of habitually committing theft or robbery, and not being a gang of thugs or dacoits, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Section 402 in The Indian Penal Code – Assembling for purpose of committing dacoity.

Whoever, at any time after the passing of this Act, shall be one of five or more 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.

Author – Mayank Shekhar


References

  1. K.D. Gaur, Textbook on Indian Penal Code, Fifth Edition 2014
  2. Ratanlal and Dhirajlal, Indian Penal Code, Thirty-Fifth Edition
  3. SCC Online

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