Meaning of Extortion and when does it amounts to Robbery
The chief elements of extortion are the intentional putting of a person in fear of injury to himself or another and dishonestly inducing the person so put in fear to deliver to any person any property or valuable security.
DEFINITION OF EXTORTION
Whoever intentionally puts any person in fear or any injury to that person, or to any other, and thereby dishonesty induces the person so put in fear to deliver any person any property or valuable security or anything signed or sealed which may be converted into a valuable security, commits ‘Extortion’ under section 383 of IPC.
ESSENTIALS OF EXTORTION
According to section 383 of IPC the following are the essentials of extortion :-
1. There must be a show of force or threat.
2. Such force or threat should be in the form of fear of injury.
3. Such injury may be for the person who is put under the fear or for any other persons in which the former person has interest.
4. Such force should be shown with a view to take a thing or property or valuable security or sign or seal or a document.
5. There must be a dishonest intention.
Thus if the above elements are present then it is an offence of Extortion dishonest intention is also an essential element of extortion.
DISHONEST INTENTION IS MEASURED FROM THE CIRCUMSTANCES AND FACTS OF EACH CASE. Any thing taken from a person at the point of pistol is an example of extortion.
ILLUSTRATION :- ‘A’ threatens to publish a defamatory libel concerning Z unless Z gives him money. He thus induces Z to give him money. A committed Extortion.
In R S Nayak v. A R Antuley and anr. (1984 AIR 684), it was held that for extortion, fear or threat must be used. In this case, chief minister A R Antuley asked the sugar cooperatives, whose cases were pending before the govt. for consideration, to donate money and promised to look into their cases. It was held that there was no fear of injury or threat and so it was not extortion.
In Romesh Chandra Arora v. The State (AIR 1960 SC 154), the accused took a photograph of a naked boy and a girl by compelling them to take off their clothes and extorted money from them by threatening to publish the photograph. He was held guilty of extortion.
PUNISHMENT FOR EXTORTION U/S 384 IPC
Whoever commits the offence of extortion, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine or with both.
WHEN DOES EXTORTION AMOUNT TO ROBBERY ?
Robbery is a severe form of either theft or extortion. In certain circumstances, a theft or an extortion gravitates to robbery.Under section 390 of IPC 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, or 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.
In simple words robbery is-
1. Theft + violence causing or attempting to cause death, hurt or wrongful restraint or fear of instant violence.
2. An extortion becomes a robbery when the following three conditions are satisfied:-
- when a person commits extortion by putting another person in fear of instant death, hurt, or wrongful restraint, and
- such a person induces the person put in such fear to deliver the property then and there and
- the offender is in the presence of the person put in such fear at the time of extortion. By present, it means that the person should be sufficiently near to cause the fear.
ILLUSTRATION :- For example, A meets Z on high road, 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 present at the time of committing the extortion in his presence, A has committed robbery.
In Shikandar vs State 1984, the accused attacked his victim by knife many times and succeeded in acquiring the ear rings and key from her salwar. He was held guilty of robbery.
PUNISHMENT FOR ROBBERY.
Imprisonment upto ten years and also fine. But if robbery committed on the highway between sunset and sunrise then up to 14 years