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Extortion Under IPC

Extortion Under IPC

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Published by Smriti Prasad

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Smriti Prasad on Jan 12, 2011
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06/27/2013

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Extortion under IPC (1960)
The scope Extortion as given for the purpose of Indian Law is defined under Section 383 ± Section 389 of the Indian Penal Code (1860).Hence the definition is as follows ± Section 383 ± 
Whoever intentionally puts any person in fear of any injury to that person, or to any other, and thereby dishonestly induces the person so put in fear to deliver to any person any property or valuable security, or anything signed or sealed which may beconverted into valuable security commits ³extortion´.
F
rom the above description of 
extortion
as per section 383 on the
 Indian Penal Code
it can beinferred that the offence of 
extortion
must have following essential ingredients ± a.
 
 I 
ntentionally putting a person in fear of injury
- One of the necessary ingredients of the offence of extortion is that the victim must be induced to deliver to any person any property or valuable security etc. under of injury. The fear must be of such nature andextent as to unsettle the mind of the person on whom it operates, and takes away fromhis acts the element of free voluntary action which alone constitutes consent.Here the wide interpretation of injury must be kept in mind in respect to section 44 which isas follows ± Section 44 ± 
he word µinjury¶ denotes any harm whatever illegally caused to any person,in body, mind, reputation or property.
The above section therefore ascribes to the description and nature of injury being against property, injury whether physical or mental or against the goodwill of a person which maycause distress.Whether a person has in fact been put in any injury is a matter which courts must decide.Since the fear of injury is an essential ingredient to constitute the
offence of extortion
, it isnecessary to imply that the nature and extent of such injury under similar circumstances
 
keeping in consideration the facts of the case would be found in an ordinary reasonable prudent man.Therefore the Courts have remarked that, though fear is not necessarily confined to anapprehension of bodily injury, it must be in reason as, in reason and common experience, islikely to induce a person to part with his property against his will, and to put him as it wereunder a temporary suspension of the power of exercising it through influence of the terror impressed; in which case, fear implies as well in sound reason in legal construction, the placeof force, or an actual taking by violence or assault upon the person.
1
 
Illustration
± A threatens to publish defamatory libel concerning Z, unless Z gives himmoney. He thus induces Z to give him money. A has committed extortion.
 S 
tate v. Basavegowda
2
 
Here the husband, the accused took his wife to a forest and obtained her ornaments under threats to kill to kill her. The ornaments were subsequently recovered from him. Since theessential ingredient constituting the offence of extortion, putting a person in fear of injury i.e.the threat to kill was present in the above mentioned case therefore the accused was heldguilty under the offence of extortion under s.383 of the Indian Penal Code (1860).
Th
reat of Criminal Accusation
± It is also to be noted that the threat of a criminal charge,whether true or false would also amount to the fear of injury. Herein the guilt or theinnocence of the party threatened would be immaterial.Therefore threatening to expose a clergyman who had criminal intercourse with a woman in ahouse of ill-fame in his own church and village, to his own bishop, and arch-bishop and also publish his shame in the newspapers was held to be such a threat wherein an ordinary prudentman could not be expected to resist such threat. The injury in the case was an injury to thereputation thus falling under the scope and meaning of µinjury¶ as per s.44. This constitutedthe
offence of extortion
and the clergyman was held guilty.
3
Similarly it was decided in ananother key English case, where the prisoner was charged with robbery for having inducedthe prosecutor to part with money by a threat that the prisoner would take him before the
1
Re Donolley¶s Case.
2
1997 CrLJ 4386 (Kant).
3
Miard (1844) 1 Cox 22.
 
magistrate and accuse him of having attempted an unnatural offence
4
. The prisoner inducedfear and therefore was guilty of extortion.
 P 
urshrottam Jethanand v.
 S 
tate of Kutch
 
5
 
In this case the accused was a police jamadar working in the local in the local investigation branch of the State of Kutch. He had visited a particular 
taluk 
, and checked passports of anumber of persons who had returned from Africa. In the course of the check he collected the passport of one Ananda Ratna in a village and demanded a sum of Rs. 800 for its return.Accordingly the said amount was paid and the passport returned.The accused was convicted under s.384 IPC, it was contented before the Supreme Court, nofear of injury was held out by the accused to support the conviction under s.384 of IPC.However the Supreme Court held that from the evidence, it was found that the accused in thecourse of his check of the passports had suspicion that some of the passports were notgenuine. There was an implied threat for prosecution in respect of the same and withholdingof the passport on that threat. Even assuming that the passports were genuine, wrongfullywith holding the same was equally a fear of injury. Also in the mentioned case, it is eminentthat there was a fear of injury in the form of threat of criminal accusation. Hence the offencewas covered under s.384 of IPC. b.
 
 D
ishonestly induces a person to deliver any property
± Another chief element or ingredient of the extortion is that the inducement must be dishonest. Delivery by person put in fear is essential in order to constitute the
offence of extortion
. Theoffence of extortion is not complete until there is actual delivery of the possession of the property of the person put in the fear and there is wrongful loss. The delivery of  property is as distinct from taking away property is of essence of the matter inextortion. Where there is no delivery of property, but the person put in fear of injuryoffers no résistance to carrying of the property, the offence is of robbery instead of extortion. Then again immovable objects may also become the subject matter of extortion in as much as the offence of extortion consists in inducing a person put infear to deliver to deliver valuable security or anything signed or sealed which can beconverted into valuable security.
4
Re Donolly¶s 1 Leach 229.
5
 
(A
 IR 1954 SC 700,
1954) Cr LJ 1751
SC)
 

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