Extortion is an offence under Section 383 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860.
Extortion is threatening a person to cause bodily injury and inducing him to obtain any benefit or advantage from him.
This dishonest inducement to coerce another person to give up claim on any property or any valuable security or anything signed, sealed, may be converted into any valuable security.
Mere wrongful loss is not sufficient for establishing a case of extortion.
The objective of extortion is completed when a person gives in to the demand in fear of injury or harm.
Section 384 IPC, 1860 prescribes punishment for extortion
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Essential elements of extortion
Extortion has three essential elements of extortion. The offence is termed extortion when these elements are satisfied:
- Intentionally threatening a person of injury or harm: This is an essential element for establishing a case of extortion. It induces a fear of injury or harm in a person to obtain wrongful gain or cause wrongful loss to that person.
- Dishonest inducement of a certain action: Extortion induces a person to induce an act that the person may not ordinarily not partake in.
- To make the person deliver: The delivery of property must be completed. Any person induced to deliver:
- Any property, either movable or immovable property
- ‘Valuable security’ is defined under Section 30.
- Anything signed or sealed may be converted into a valuable security.
Section 384 IPC defines the punishment for extortion.
The punishment for extortion incorporates imprisonment of up to 3 years or a fine or both.
It is a cognizable, non-bailable, and non-compoundable offence.
Punishment for attempt of extortion
Section 385 of IPC designates the punishment for an attempt to commit extortion. It states the punishment for putting a person in fear of injury to commit extortion, which is an act in itself considered an attempt. However, Section 385 does not expressly prescribe the word ‘attempt’.
Putting a person in fear of injury by threatening him is an act of committing extortion.
Whoever commits an attempt of extortion is punished with imprisonment extending up to 2 years or with a fine or both.
It is a cognizable, non-compoundable, and bailable offence triable by a magistrate.
Other aggravated forms of extortion
Aggravated forms of extortion and their punishments are laid in Sections 386-389.
Under the sections, an offence of extortion is committed by putting someone in fear of grievous injury or threat to the life of self or any other person.
Even an attempt to extort is considered an offence, and punishments are laid for these too.
Section 386 Offences under this section are considered a severe form of extortion. The offence of extortion is committed by threatening the victim or any other person related to him with grievous hurt or death.
This offence is punishable with imprisonment extending up to ten years and a fine.
Section 387 The offence under the section is an attempt for the offence covered in the previous section mentioned above.
This section prescribes the attempt for extortion by threatening a victim with death or grievous hurt.
This threat is given to commit extortion. The act under this section is an attempt at extortion by creating fear of death or grievous hurt.
Section 388 covers the offence of extortion by threat of accusation of a crime punishable with death or imprisonment of life.
This section covers the offence of extortion in an aggravated form and a broad sense. This section states that, if a person does extortion for any other person by threatening that person of accusing him of any offence or attempt of commission of the offence, which is punishable with death, imprisonment for life, or imprisonment up to ten years or inducing that person to commit such crime, then, the person is liable to be punished with imprisonment of up to ten years with a fine, or if the offence is under Section 377 of IPC, the punishment is imprisonment for life.
Section 389: This section covers the attempt to commit extortion by putting or attempt to put a person in fear of accusation of an offence or attempt to commit a crime which is punishable with death, imprisonment for life or imprisonment up to ten years, or inducing that person to commit such offence then, the person is liable to be punished with imprisonment of up to ten years with a fine, or if the offence is under Section 377 of IPC, the punishment is imprisonment for life.
The onus proof in a case of extortion is on the prosecution.
Section 377 states that if a voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with life imprisonment, or with imprisonment for a term extending up to ten years will be liable to fine.
Penetration is sufficient to constitute the offence of carnal intercourse.
All the laws related to extortion are covered from sections 382-389 of the Indian Penal Code. Section 383 defines the Act of extortion and its punishment in 384 IPC incorporation the punishment for extortion. Other sections cover the forms of extortion and its attempt.
Extortion offences are on the rise these days and are committed by the person trying to unduly coerce the victim.
Most of the time, public servants are involved in these extortion cases by threatening the victim with false accusations or putting them in fear of injury or harm.
Extortion is a serious offence that is most of the time not reported by the victim to the authorities because of the fear of the offender repeating it next time or no appropriate action will be taken by the authorities as the offender is a person at a position of higher influence or, the victim is not aware of the provisions under this code against this offence.
Under which section of the IPC extortion is considered robbery?
Extortion is considered robbery under Section 390 of the IPC.
Which case observed that the ingredient of the offence of extortion is ‘the offender induces the afraid person and then and there to deliver the extorted thing’?
The relevant case is Gursharan Singh v. State of Punjab (1996) 10 SCC 190.
Which case by the Rajasthan High Court holds that ‘to constitute an offence of extortion inducement is necessary as a result convincing the victim to deliver the property failing to which the act will just be an attempt’?
The case Biram Lal v. State of Rajasthan RLW 2007 (1) Raj 713 resulted in the observation.