Offence of Criminal Intimidation in Indian Law:
Under IPC, the offences under which any person threatens another with injury to his person, property or reputation and to avoid that, the other person is made to do an act he is not legally bound to do or to omit to do something he is bound to do or which caused alarm to that person, than that person is said to have committed criminal intimidation.
Therefore, section 503 defines the offence of criminal intimidation. Section 506 prescribes punishment for criminal intimidation, while section 507 and section 508 deal with the punishment for aggravated forms of criminal intimidation.
According to section 503 of Indian Penal Code, the offence of criminal intimidation is defined as under;
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 thot person is legally entitled to do, as the means of avoiding the execution of such threat, commits criminal intimidation.
A threat to injure the reputation of any deceased person in whom the person threatened is interested, is within this section.
A, for the purpose of inducing B to desist from prosecuting a civil suit, threatens to burn B’s house. A is guilty of criminal intimidation.
INGREDIENTS OF CRIMINAL INTIMIDATION:
As laid down in the case of Narendra Kumar & others Vs. State and others on 13 January, 2004 as under:
1. There should be a threat of injury to a person;
a. to his person, reputation or property; or,
b. to the person, or reputation of anyone un whom that person is interested.
2. The threat must be with the intent:
a. to cause alarm to that person; or,
b. to cause that person to do an act which he is not legally bound to do as the means of avoiding the execution of such threat; or,
c. to cause that person to omit to do any act which that person is legally entitled to do as means of avoiding the execution of such threat.
Distinguished concept as in relation to offence extortion under IPC:
Criminal intimidation is quite similar to the concept of extortion. In extortion, the immediate purpose is obtaining money or valuable security, whereas, in criminal intimidation, the immediate purpose is to induce the person threatened to do, or to abstain from doing, something which the person was not legally bound to do or to omit.
The scope of word ‘injury” contemplated under this section:
1. Intention must be to cause alarm to the section and whether he is alarmed or not is really of no consequence. Mere expression of any words without any intention to cause alarm would not be sufficient to bring application of section 506.
a. A enters the house of B at night. Armed with knife, A threatens B with death, A is liable under this section.
b. A gives simple hurt to B and makes mere statements that he will kill B, A is not liable under section 506.
In Ramesh Chandra Arora vs. State, AIR 1960 SC 154, the appellant was charged with criminal intimidation for threatening X and his daughter of injury to their reputation by making public a nude photograph of the daughter unless hush money was paid to him. The intent was to cause harm to them. Therefore, the Supreme Court convicted the accused under section 506 IPC.
2. Threat must be communicated or uttered with intention of it being communicated to the person threatened for purpose influencing his mind.
A threatened C with injury to his person, reputation or property, A is liable.
The Apex court in Communist Party of India vs. Bharat Kumar AIR 1998, SCC 184 held that the call of “bandh” and “hartal” would amount to criminal intimidation if it is coupled with a threat of any injury to the person or property and is punishable under section 503 & 507 of the Indian Penal Code.
3. The injury threatened to be caused must be illegal:
In Ragubar Dayal Vs. Emperor, AIR 1931, ALL 263, it was held that a notice requiring a shopkeeper to agree to not import for sale in his shop, foreign cloth and otherwise his shop would be picked, was held to amount to an offence of criminal intimidation.
Punishment for criminal intimidation is given under section 506 of the IPC.
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 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.
AGGRAVATED FORMS OF CRIMINAL INTIMIDATION
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.
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.
(a) A sits dharna at Z’s 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 wilt kill one of A’s 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.
Thus the offence is expressly laid out and tries to cover all facets of criminal intimidation.