In Indian law, the extortion is considered to be similar to blackmailing of English law which is established by the unreasonable stipulation under bluster. An act containing the bad intentions in which any person desires to accomplish any such act makes any other person to follow his directions by making him afraid of any harm and compelled to do so, in order to complete such act. This act is called extortion which is about to discussed here along with its kinds and punishment given under penal laws. It is a criminal offence under section 383 of the Indian Penal Code,1860, it is included in Chapter 17 under the head of offences against property.
MEANING OF EXTORTION
In simple words, any person committing an offence by keeping other people under the pressure or fear of any injury until unless such other person acts according to him. For example, Sometimes, people for seeking money from others takes away the pictures of any boy and girl such as MMS, scandals, etc and then they used to coax or induce them for supplying money with respect of their demand by threatening them of emanating or disclosing their private pictures.
In the legal sense, the extortion is denied under section 383 the Indian Penal code,1860. Section 383 provides that any person with the intention of threatening of injury castle the other person or property holder and demanding something to do and threatens of harming them or making fear of injury to the other than such person. Here, the purpose of threatening such person is to receive the property, any valuable security, or anything which we signed or sealed and can be converted into valuable securities, by any person from that person who was kept in fear of injury.
In the case of Lahh Shankar,1955, it was laid down by the court that the act contained in this case considered to be the offence of extortion. Similarly, in the case of Ram Narain Sahu, 1933, the court said that the person committed an offence, in this case, held guilty under section 383 of IPC.
INJURY DURING EXTORTION
The offence of extortion is defined under section 383 in which one word is used that is ‘injury ‘ which does not only means the physical injury but also it indicates mental injury. Here, Injury means the injury which is defined under section 44 of IPC, which covers causation illegally to any person in body, mind, reputation or property.
EXAMPLE- ‘ A’ threatens ‘Z’ that if he will not give him said the amount of money to him, ‘A’ will public the defamatory matters in the newspaper. This act done by ‘A’ is extortion.
‘Z’ creates fear of injury in the mind of ‘B’ by intimidating him that if he will not sign the promissory note in the name of xyz then ‘Z’ will keep ‘B’s child in the wrongful confinement.
‘M’ extorted a multinational businessman, by inducing him to transfer his all the property in the name of ‘M’ and threatened him by putting him on the gun shot.
INJURY CAUSED BY DIVINE IS NOT EXTORTION
The extortion does not include any kind of injury by a divine display to any other person. Any person using divine displays over another person which means that such person threats may other people by stating ie. Transfers all the property and money to him unless he would present in the other world and takes away all that he demanded.
In the case of Tanumal vs State of Karnataka,1934, the court held that it would not amount to extortion in which injure or any harm is caused by the divine display is practised. In this case, a letter wrote by one person to another person demanding him to provide money unless he would come in another world to take away his demands.
EXTORTION AN ACT BETWEEN THEFT AND ROBBERY
Extortion is an offence between theft and robbery It is because when any accused receives the property or object from the possession of the property holder in the absence of his consent it is considered as a crime of theft and when accused receives or take away the property from the possession of property holder with his consent, it is considered as a crime of robbery. But, whereas any accused uses to threatening the property holder for causing injury, induces him by demanding to provide him property, then it is considered as a crime of extortion.
ESSENTIALS OF EXTORTION
The Extortion is a criminal offence which requires some ingredients to be present within the act or there are various features which are very important in the conduct of extortion. In other words, one requires to prove all the following essentials for proving the criminal extortion.
- Threat or fear- The act must include threat or fear, it is the main essential of the offence of extortion. There should be a threat caused by the accused to the victim for doing something or providing anything. The act must consists of threat or fear may include to make afraid of or frighten of something like causing injury to him or causing harm to any people related to him.
In the case of Queen vs Nathalirc Mirad 1844, the court considered the act as an offence of extortion wherein the act consists that the accused had threatened bishop by the bluster, disclosing his illegitimate relation with a woman.
- Injury or Harm- It is very important that an act to include injury or harm within it, so injury must be caused to any person an accused. Injury is defined under section 44 which consists of physical or mental injury. Any kind of injury or harm needs to be present in the act so as to consider it extortion.
In the landmark case of the offence Extortion, R.S Nayak vs A.R Antulay, 1986, the court laid down that the injury may be directly or indirectly and it is necessary to be caused prior to delivery, also the court held some examples regarding the threat of injury such as threat to beat, wrongful confinement, public defamation by publishing articles, etc.
- Dishonest intention to deliver- It is essential that the act involves the dishonest intention of the accused of delivering anything by any person who is the holder of such thing. Dishonest intention is very important element of the extortion.
In the case of Romesh Chandra Arora vs The State AIR 1960, the court laid down that the act committed in this case is the crime extortion. The fact contained is that an accused had induced a boy and girl to remove their clothes and after that, he captured their nude pictures, then he used such pictures in forcing and demanding them to give money.
- Delivery of anything which can be converted into the valuable securities- Delivery of anything is a very important element to be present in the crime of extortion. There must be any delivery of anything by the holder of such thing and also such thing must be demanded by the accused.
In the case of Shankar Bhagwat, 1866, the court held that it is not required that the person who threatened and the person who received the property by extortion, are the same. There may be various persons in the execution of the crime and they all would be guilty of the offence of extortion.
KINDS OF EXTORTION ALONG WITH ITS PUNISHMENT
“The section 384 of Indian Penal code,1860 provides the punishment for extortion, the section says that any person who commits the offence of extortion as per section 383 then he shall be punished under this section. Under this section, any person commits the crime extortion shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine or with both.” Moreover, there are some kinds of extortion mentioned in the Indian Penal code,1860. The section of IPC provides different types of extortion as well as its punishments, which are discussed here with its related case laws. The following are the kinds of extortion and some provisions in regards to it as according to IPC:
- Extortion by putting a person in fear of deaths grievous hurt- Any person who with the intention commits the crime of extortion in which he keeps any person in the threat or making him afraid of causing death or grievous hurt. Section 386 of IPC provides this kind of extortion and lays down its punishment that is imprisonment of either description for a term which mar extends to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
- Extortion by threat of accusations of an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life, etc- This is another kind of extortion which is expressed under section 388 of IPC. According to the section, this kind requires three essentials such as, first any person must have committed extortion in which he kept any person in the threat or fear of an accusation. And the second important essential is that such accusations must contain the offence having committed or attempted by such person whom he extorted. The third main essential is that such offence included in the accusation must be the offence which shall be punishable with the death penalty or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years.
Now, these were the two kinds of extortion provided under Indian Penal code,1860, the code also provides some other provisions regarding extortion that are as follows here:
- Putting person in fear of injury in order to commit such offence- Any person keeping any other person in threat or making such person afraid of causing harm or injury to that person or attempts to keep such person in threat of causing injury. This is not a kind of extortion given under section 385, this section also includes the punishment for such offence that is imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine or with both. In this kind of extortion, it is not required that extortion takes place in the act because this section consists of the words ‘ in order to’.
- Putting person in fear of death or of grievous hurt, in order to commit extortion- This is under section 387 of IPC, it also includes the punishment of seven years of imprisonment with the liability of fine. It is not necessary that extortion committed in the act but its compulsory that there must be the act of keeping any person in fear of causing death or grievous hurt.
- Putting person in fear of accusations of offence, in order to commit extortion- This is given under section 389 of IPC, which contains the punishment of ten years imprisonment along with fine. Similar to the above two provisions, it also consists that there is no compulsion of committing extortion but there must be fear of accusations of offence positioned by the accused to any person.
After studying the concept of extortion, I came to the conclusion that the extortion is a criminal offence under chapter 17 of Indian Penal code,1860 having the meaning explained in section 383 the code. It is a crime regarding an offence against property in which accused puts any person in threat or fear of injury and induces such person to perform according to him. In respect of IPC, there are two kinds of extortion given under section 386 and 388 as well as there are some ingredients which are the essentials of extortion such as fear or threat, injury, dishonest intention, delivery of anything which can be converted into valuable securities.