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…Criminal Law Project Report…

CRIMINAL INTIMIDATION
Section 503 – 510

Indian Penal Code, 1860


PREFACE AND BRIEF

The following project report aims to explain and expound upon the meaning of Criminal
Intimidation (Sections 503 – 510 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860) and its significant
interpretation in modern day times. Emphasis has been laid on sections of Criminal
Intimidation and Annoyance.

The text of the project report exquisitely consists of various comparisons, inferences and
interpretations of Chapter 52 of the IPC along with illustrations and details on the intricate
nuances of the subject matter in question. The genesis for certain important terms has also
been traced to the Inception of the Indian Penal Code and duly highlighted in the following
text…

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

It is with profound gratitude and deep reverence that I complete this project report today, as it
would have not been possible for me to do so without the indispensable guidance of my
Professor- Mrs. Anju, who not only encouraged me to go forward with this project report but
also propagated all my ideologies and interpretations about the same.
I would also like to extend my gratitude to Ms. Nitika Marya, without whose help I would not
have been able to complete my research for this project report.

Thank you!

(Nimanniyu Sharma)

INTRODUCTION

“Intimidation is (a tort and) a crime of applying legally unjustifiable threats or force to a


person to compel him to do some or to refrain him from doing anything
which he is legally bound to do.”1
-Walker

Intimidation in general language purview means, “A communication that makes you afraid to
try something”2. It is any act of an individual against another individual that is directed to
scare or discourage another individual from performing a certain act (omitting) or to
encourage and force him to do a certain act which is not in consonance with general law
(illegal), which he otherwise might have refrained from. Criminal Intimidation can be
explained in a similar sense. It is a classification of acts which are meant to intimidate or
threaten others, or to cause annoyance or insult to others in such a way that the act in turn
provokes others to break the law and cause a breach of peace. The IPC 3 deals with such acts
in Chapter 52, under Sections 503 – 510. It deals with three varieties of offences, namely,
Criminal Intimidation, Causing Insult and Annoyance, arranged between the aforesaid
sections. The Sections in turn can be analysed as:-4

1
Oxford Companion to Law, 1980, Pg. 646.
2
http://www.elook.org/dictionary/intimidation.html (Last visited on 14.09.2010)
3
Indian Penal Code, 1860.
4
Classification taken from “Vibhute, K.I.; PSA Pillai’s Criminal Law, Tenth Edition, Lexis Nexis Butterworths
Wadhwa Publications, Nagpur, 2009. Pg. 1257.
• Section 503: Definition of Criminal Intimidation.
• Section 506: Punishment for Criminal Intimidation.
• Section 507, 508: Criminal Intimidation through Anonymous Communication
and Criminal Inducement.
• Section 504: Definition of Intentional Insult to
provoke Breach of Peace.
• Section 505: Public Mischief.
• Section 509: Insult to the Modesty of a
Woman.
• Section 510: Misconduct in a public place by a
Drunken Person.

The above mentioned three clusters of offences, constituting in all, ‘Criminal Intimidation’
will be dealt with in depth in the later parts of this project report.
PART A
CRIMINAL INTIMIDATION
As per Section 503 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860:

“Whoever threatens another with any injury to his person, reputation or property, or to the
person or reputation of any one in whom that person is interested, with intent to cause alarm
to that person, or to cause that person to do any act which he is not legally bound to do, or to
omit to do any act which that person is legally entitled to do, as the means of avoiding the
execution of such threat, commits criminal intimidation.”

The explanation to the same section indicates that, “A threat to injure the reputation of any
deceased person in whom the person threatened is interested, is within this section.” 5
Exemplifications of the same can be:- “To desist A from prosecuting a civil suit, B threatens
to burn down A’s house, if he does so. Such an act amounts to Criminal Intimidation.” 6
Otherwise, threat of killing, beating, imprisonment, dismissal, picketing, vengeance, of
ruining a person by false cases, and that of committing Suicide (threat by Son to Father) are
all covered in this section.

5
Explanation to Section 503, Indian Penal Code, 1860. (Sourced from the Bare Act)
6
Illustration to Section 503, Indian Penal Code, 1860. (Sourced from the Bare Act)
A person is said to have committed Criminal Intimidation only when he threatens another
with an injury to his:
1. Person,
2. Reputation,
3. Property, or
4. Person or reputation of anyone in whom that person is interested.

Also, such injury is only considered as Criminal Intimidation when it is done with ‘intent’ to:
1. Cause alarm to that person,
2. Cause that person to do any act which he is not legally bound to do, or
3. Cause to omit to do any act which that person is legally entitled to do, as the means of
avoiding the execution of such threats.

Therefore the Ingredients7 of an act tantamounting to Criminal Intimidation would be


foremost threatening an individual and that too with one of the above intents. As held in
Chandi Charan v. Bhabataran,8 the threat referred was required to be a ‘threat
communicated’ (including communication mentioned in Section 5079 or ‘uttered’ with the
intention of being communicated to the person threatened for the purpose of influencing his
mind. The threat maybe direct or indirect and it must be made with the intention expressed in
the above section. An exemplification is a threat to a person’s pleader 10, which is still an
indirect threat. In the above section, the important terms to be noted are:-

1. Person:
The word person in this section has a limited meaning as compared to the meaning
given in Section 1111 of IPC. Here, it only means the ‘individuality of a human being’.

7
Gour, Dr. Hari Singh; The Indian Penal Code, Law Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 13th Edition, 2006, Pg. 734.
8
Criminal Law Journal 2 (1964) 85
9
Section 507. (Indian Penal Code, 1860) Criminal intimidation by an anonymous communication.- “Whoever
commits the offence of criminal intimidation by an anonymous communication, or having taken precaution to
conceal the name or abode of the person from whom the threat comes, shall be punished with
imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, in addition to the punishment
provided for the offence by the last preceding section.”
10
“One who draws up or forms pleas; the draughtsman of pleas or pleadings in the widest sense; as, a special
pleader.” (Sourced from: http://thinkexist.com/dictionary/meaning/pleader/) (Last visited on 14.09.2010)
11
Section 11, Indian Penal Code, 1860: “The word "person" includes any Company of Association of body of
persons, whether incorporated or not.”
2. Reputation:
It connotes honour, credit, standing, character or good name. It is the general
estimation in which a person is held with reference to moral character, ability and
other qualities as said above.12

3. Alarm:
In Amulya Kumar Behra v. Nabhagana Behra13, the Orissa High Court examined the
meaning of the term ‘alarm’ and came to the conclusion that the intent to cause alarm
must be present irrespective of the fact whether alarm is caused or not in consequence.
The court also noted the fact that ‘distress’ and ‘terror’ were the words proposed
initially to be where the term ‘alarm’ is found today.14

The scope of Section 503 was elaborated in Ramesh Chandra Arora v. State15 In this case, the
victim and his daughter were asked to pay some ‘hush money’ lest obscene pictures of the
daughter would have been made public. When evidence was disclosed, the Supreme Court
decided that the section in question was to be divided into two parts for the sake of sound
explanation:

1. The first part refers to the act of actual threatening of another person, reputation or
property or of the person, reputation or property of another in whon the person is
interested;
2. The second part refers to the intent with which the threatening is done.

Here, the threatening was quite evident as was the intent too. The intent was not only just to
cause alarm to the daughter and her father but also to induce the father to pay the ‘hush
money’ which would come under the purview of causing another to do an act which he is not
legally bound to do. To add to that, the nature of injury inflicted should anyway be ‘Illegal’ to
make a person liable for Criminal Intimidation under the said provisions.16

PUNISHMENT FOR CRIMINAL INTIMIDATION

12
Gour, Dr. Hari Singh; The Indian Penal Code, Law Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 13th Edition, 2006, Pg. 735.
13
(1995) Criminal Law Journal, 3559, Orissa High Court.
14
First Indian Law Commission, 1834 (Inception traced to Charter Act, 1833)
15
AIR 1960 SC 154, Criminal Law Journal 177 (SC)
16
Ragubar Dayal v. Emperor AIR 1931 Allahbad 263. Criminal Law Journal 465 (Allahbad)
The punishment for committing the offence of Criminal Intimidation has been enumerated in
Section 506 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. It states:
“Punishment for criminal intimidation.- Whoever commits the offence of criminal
intimidation shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may
extend to two years, or with fine, or with both;
If threat be to cause death or grievous hurt, etc.- And if the threat be to cause death or
grievous hurt, or to cause the destruction of any property by fire, or to cause an offence
punishable with death or [imprisonment for life], or with imprisonment for a term which may
extend to seven years, or to impute unchastity to a woman, shall be punished with
imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years,
or with fine, or with both.”17

A bare reading of Section 506 discloses that the punishment prescribed in this section falls in
the following two categories:
1. In simple cases of Criminal Intimidation, the punishment extends upto two years’
imprisonment, fine or both;
2. If the threat be to:
(a) Cause death of the threatened person, or grievous hurt, or destruction of
property by fire, or
(b) To cause an offence to be committed which is punishable with death or life
imprisonment or with imprisonment for a term of up to seven years, or
(c) To impute unchastity to a woman;
then the prescribed punishment is imprisonment for a term up to seven years, or fine, or both.

Here Part 2, as compared to Part 1, of the section deals with punishment for graver forms of
Criminal Intimidation.18

Now, comes the question whether the person accused under Sextion 506 is entitled for
Probation19 or not. To this, we have received two different types of treatments from the Apex
Court itself. It is rather interesting to note that both cases involved intimidation of Doctors.

17
Section 506, Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Sourced from the Bare Act)
18
Ramnaresh v. State of Madhya Pradesh. AIR 1974 SC 35, 1974 Criminal Law Journal 153 (SC)
19
Probation means, “A trial period during which your character and abilities are tested to see whether you are
suitable for work or for membership.” (http://www.dictometer.com/probation) (Last visited on 21.09.2010)
1. The first case is that of Ramnaresh Pandey v. State of Madhya Pradesh20 where the
accused was released on probation on account of good conduct for the sole reason that
the object of the act was laid to be to prevent the conversion of youthful offenders into
obdurate criminals as a result of their association with hardened criminals.
2. In the second exemplification in Siyasaran v. State of Madhya Pradesh21 it was held
that the accused should not receive any condonation of his act even on account of
good conduct as violence against a class or strata of people (here, Doctors and staff)
must not affect the morale of all Doctors. They should rather be unruffled and not
prone to such incidents.
In both the aforementioned case laws, the law works towards the benefit of the society. On
one hand, it considers ‘good conduct’ of the offenders, who might be reformed rather than
turning into rugged criminals in the company of the elder hardened ones while, on the other
hand it gives a higher pedestal to public welfare and that classes/strata of people must not live
in fear of such offenders.

CRIMINAL INTIMIDATION THROUGH ANONYMOUS COMMUNICATION AND CRIMINAL


INDUCEMENT
Sections 507 and 508 respectively deal with ‘Criminal Intimidation through Anonymous
Communication’ and ‘Criminal Inducement’.
Section 507 is a corollary to the previous section and is an aggravated form of Intimidation. It
states:
“Whoever commits the offence of criminal intimidation by an anonymous communication, or
having taken precaution to conceal the name or abode of the person from whom the threat
comes, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may
extend to two years, in addition to the punishment provided for the offence by the last
preceding section.”22

In contrast to actual intimidation, which is direct and by a known person, this section covers
cases when the intimidator commits the offence of intimidation through an anonymous letter,
signed with a false name or by concealing his address. In such a case, the person will be liable

20
AIR 1974 SC 35, (1974) Criminal Law Journal 153 (SC)
21
(1995) Criminal Law Journal 2126 (SC)
22
Section 507, Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Sourced from the Bare Act)
for additional punishment of two years term, apart from the punishment provided by Section
506 of the IPC.

Section 508 on the other hand, contemplates the voluntary causing of any person to do a thing
which he is legally not bound to do, or omitting to do a thing which he is legally entitled to
do, by inducing that person to believe that he or any person in whom he is interested will
become an object of Divine Displeasure, if he does not do the thing in the manner dictated.
The section reads as under:

“Act caused by inducing person to believe that he will be rendered an object of the Divine
displeasure.-- Whoever voluntarily causes or attempts to cause any person to do anything
which that person is not legally bound to do, or to omit to do anything which he is legally
entitled to do, by inducing or attempting to induce that person to believe that he or any
person in whom he is interested will become or will be rendered by some act of the offender
an object of Divine displeasure if he does not do the thing which it is the object of the
offender to cause him to do, or if he does the thing which it is the object of the offender to
cause him to omit, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which
may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.”23

Illustrations to the aforementioned section can be as follows:

a) A sits dhurna at Zs door with the intention of causing it to be believed that, by so


sitting, he renders Z an object of Divine displeasure. A has committed the offence
defined in this section.
b) A threatens Z that, unless Z performs a certain act, A will kill one of As own children,
under such circumstances that the killing would be believed to render Z an object of
Divine displeasure. A has committed the offence defined in this section.24

23
Section 508, Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Sourced from the Bare Act)
24
Illustrations taken from the Bare Act of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. (Section 508)
PART B
ANNOYANCE
Misconduct in public by a drunken person is covered under Section 510 of the Indian Penal
Code, 1860. It states:

“Misconduct in public by a drunken person.-- Whoever, in a state of intoxication, appears in


any public place, or in any place which it is a trespass in him to enter, and there conducts
himself in such a manner as to cause annoyance to any person, shall be punished with simple
imprisonment for a term which may extend to twenty-four hours, or with fine which may
extend to ten rupees, or with both.”25

This section covers the acts of an intoxicated person, which causes annoyance to others and
the general public. It should be noted that only an intoxicated person who causes annoyance
is covered under this section, and mere intoxication is not sought to be covered here.26 Also, it
is very important to note that there is no mens rea required for this offence.

25
Section 510, Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Sourced from the Bare Act)
26
Vibhute, K.I.; PSA Pillai’s Criminal Law, Tenth Edition, Lexis Nexis Butterworths Wadhwa Publications,
Nagpur, 2009. Pg. 1279
What is however significantly distinct, is the existence of Section 34 27 Clause Sixth of the
Police Act, 1861 which clearly states that:
“Any person who, on any road or in any [open place or] street or thoroughfare within the
limits of any town to which this section shall be specially extended by the State Government,
commits any of the following offences, to the obstruction, inconvenience, annoyance, risk,
danger of damage of the [ residents or passengers] shall, on conviction before a Magistrate,
be liable to a fine not exceeding fifty rupees, or to imprisonment [with or without hard
labour] not exceeding eight days; and it shall be lawful for any police officer to take into
custody; without a warrant, any person who, within his view, commits any of such offences…
... Sixth: Being found drunk or riotous.- Any person who is found drunk or riotous or who is
incapable of taking care of himself; …”

Taking both, Section 510 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Section 34 of The Police Act,
1861 into consideration, there arises a rift in the punishment sought to be given. While
Section 510 of the IPC lays down only Rs. 10 as the outer limit of the fine that can be charged
to the offender, Section 34 of the Police Act, 1861 lays it to be for a maximum value of Rs.
50. Similarly, the maximum term for imprisonment under the former is only 24 hours, while
under the latter; it can extend upto 8 days. This renders the point of actual application of such
sections highly debatable.

27
Section 34, The Police Act, 1861: Punishment for certain offences on roads, etc:- Powers of police officers.-
Any person who, on any road or in any [open place or] street or thoroughfare within the limits of any town to
which this section shall be specially extended by the State Government, commits any of the following offences,
to the obstruction, inconvenience, annoyance, risk, danger of damage of the [ residents or passengers] shall, on
conviction before a Magistrate, be liable to a fine not exceeding fifty rupees, or to imprisonment [with or
without hard labour] not exceeding eight days; and it shall be lawful for any police officer to take into custody;
without a warrant, any person who, within his view, commits any of such offences namely :-
First- Slaughtering cattle, Curious riding, etc:- Any person who slaughters any
cattle or cleans any carcass; any person who rides or drives any cattle recklessly or
furiously, or trains or breaks any horse or other cattle;
Second- Cruelty to animal:- Any person who wantonly or cruelly beats, abuses or tortures any animal;
Third- Obstructing passengers:- Any person who keeps any cattle or conveyance of any kind standing longer,
than is required, for loading or unloading or for taking up or setting down passengers, or who leaves any
conveyance in such a manner as to cause inconvenience or danger to the public;
Fourth- Exposing goods for sale:- Any person who exposes any goods for sale;
Fifth- Throwing dirt into street:- Any person who throws or lays down any dirt, filth, rubbish or any stones or
building materials, or who constructs any cowshed, stable or the like or who causes any offensive matter to run
from any house, factory, dung-heap or the like;
Sixth- Being found drunk or riotous.-Any person who is found drunk or riotous or who is incapable of taking
care of himself;
Seventh- Indecent exposure of person.-Any person who willfully and indecently exposes his person, or any
offensive deformity or disease, or commits nuisance by easing himself, or by bathing or washing in any tank or
reservoir, not being a place set apart for the purpose ;
Eighth-Neglect to protect dangerous places.- Any person who neglects to fence in or duly to protect any well,
tank or other dangerous place or structure.
CASE STUDY 1:28

The police on the 15th of February, 2010 arrested Iqbal Singh, owner of a local TV channel,
his father, brother and four friends in cases of trespassing, rioting, causing injuries and
criminal intimidation. The police also slapped a case of attempt to suicide on Iqbal for
allegedly banging his head against the police vehicle to deter policemen from discharging
their duties.
The police said Iqbal has been facing several cases of cheating and other crimes in Punjab,
Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh. The police arrested his father Labh Singh, brother
Gurpreet Singh along with four friends- Harjot Singh of Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh, Sahil
Thapar of Patiala, Amit Kumar of Sector 42, Chandigarh, and Chander Sharma of Jalandhar.
The police said Iqbal had been running the TV channel in partnership with Kailash Rattan
Dewan. Of late they had been suffering losses in the business and decided to end the
partnership. Dewan complained to the police that Iqbal broke the locks of the premises they
had taken on rent in a showroom in Sector 22 and had taken away the articles. He placed his
own furniture in the premises without his consent. Later, Dewan raised objection and today
they had a heated argument over the issue. Soon, Iqbal’s father, brother and friends also
joined the brawl. When the police intervened, Iqbal reportedly hurled a brick on the
policemen and manhandled with them. Later, the police took them to Sector 17 police station,
where Iqbal allegedly banged his head against the police vehicle shouting that he would kill
himself as the police was doing injustice to him.

28
Express News Service; Tuesday February 16, 2010, 05:09 hours Chandigarh
(Source: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/tv-channel-owner-targets-partner-held-for-c/580301/)
Gurmail Singh, the owner of the premises, also reported to the police that Iqbal had damaged
his property today. Acting SHO of Sector 17 police station Gurjit Kaur said the police was
verifying the antecedents of the accused and getting details about the cases registered against
them.

Analysis:

Here, the act of banging his own head against the police vehicle and also previously hurling a
brick at the policemen constitutes the ingredients for the offence of Criminal Intimidation
under Section 503 of the Indian Penal Code.

CASE STUDY 2:29

Former Haryana Inspector General of Police M S Ahlawat was on the 22nd of June, 2010
granted interim anticipatory bail by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in a case of alleged
molestation of a Yamunanagar-based woman lawyer eight years ago.
Ahlawat has been missing after his anticipatory bail plea was dismissed by a Yamunanagar
court on June 16. Vacation Judge Alok Singh ordered that in the event of Ahlawat's arrest, he
be released on bail and further directed that he should cooperate with the investigations. He
issued notice of motion to the State of Haryana for July 13.
Ahlawat, who was not himself present in the court, was recently booked by the Yamunanagar
police under sections 354 (Criminal force on woman with intent to outrage modesty), 323
(Assault with intent to voluntarily cause hurt) and 506 (Criminal Intimidation) of the IPC.
He pleaded that no custodial interrogation of Ahlawat was required as only voice samples and
specimen handwriting may be needed for which the petitioner was always ready.
"If we take the case of prosecution on face value then no case of 506 of the IPC is made out
as there is no allegation of criminal intimidation either in the FIR or in the complaint prior to
the lodging of the FIR," Jain argued. He also said that the complainant has "improved the
versions and changed stand at different times with regards to the offences punishable under
Section 354".

29
Tuesday, June 22, 2010, 12:41 hours Chandigarh
(Source: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/high-court-grants-interim-bail-to-ahlawat/637015/0)
After Ahlawat's bail plea was dismissed, Haryana Police had issued lookout notice and
alerted airports against him to prevent him from fleeing the country. The police had also been
searching for him in Haryana, UP and Delhi in his search, but had failed to trace him.
The woman lawyer had earlier this month lodged a complaint with the police, charging
Ahlawat with sexually harassing her when he was the Yamunanagar SP in 2002.
She claimed to have come into Ahlawat's contact when she had approached the Yamunanagar
police in May 2002 to lodge a case of dowry harassment against her husband.
The victim alleged that the officer had insisted on meeting her in his camp office and
allegedly tried to establish illicit relations with her.

Analysis:

The mention of Criminal Intimidation here, under Section 506 of the IPC has been because of
the outrage to the modesty of a woman leading onto the punishment prescribed under the said
section. It is to be noted that Part II of the said section (sub-clause (c.)) would be applicable.