LCI Learning
LCI Learning

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Share on LinkedIn

Share on Email

Share More

Robbery and Dacoity

Section 390 to 402 of IPC deals with robbery and dacoity.

These sections can be divided into broadly these categories:

(1) Robbery, (and) attempt to commit robbery, punishment for robbery (ss390, 392, 393 and 401);

(2) Aggravated forms of robbery (ss 392 and 394);

(3) Dacoity (ss 391 and 395);

(4) Aggravated form of dacoity (s 396);

(5) Offences connected with dacoity:


(a) preparation to commit dacoity (s 399);
(b) assembling for purposes of committing dacoity (s 402);
(c) belonging to a gang of dacoits (s 400).

(6) Minimum sentence in certain cases of robbery and dacoity (ss 397 and 398)

Section 390 - Robbery

This section says robbery is either theft or extortion. Thus, robbery is an aggravated form of either theft or extortion. Robbery has the same essential elements as theft and extortion which are:

  • Dishonest attention
  • Removal or inducement to deliver movable property from the possession of other
  • Causedto any person's death, hurt or wrongful restraint, or the fear of instant death or instant hurt or instant wrongfulrestraint.

Theft is robbery if -

Theft is "robbery" if, in order to the committing of the theft, or in committing thetheft, or in carrying away or attempting to carry away property obtained by the theft, the offender, for that end, voluntarily causes or attempts to cause to any person death or hurt or wrongful restraint, or fear of instant death or of instant hurt, or of instant wrongful restraint.

Extortion is robbery if -

The offender, at the time of committing the extortion, is in the presence of the person put in fear, puts that person or other person in fear of instant death, instant hurt, or instant restraint, and induces him to deliver the property.


(a) A holds Z down, and fraudulently takes Z's money and jewels from Z's clothes, without Z'sconsent. Here A has committed theft, and, in order to the committing of that theft, has voluntarily caused wrongful restraint to Z. A has, therefore, committed robbery.

(b) A meets Z on the high roads, shows a pistol, and demands Z's purse. Z, in consequence, surrenders his purse. Here A has extorted the purse from Z by putting him in fear of instant hurt,and being at the time of committing the extortion in his presence. A has, therefore, committedrobbery.

(c) A meets Z and Z's child on the high road. A takes the child and threatens to fling it down aprecipice unless Z delivers his purse. Z, in consequence, delivers his purse. Here A has extorted the purse from Z by causing Z to be in fear of instant hurt to the child who is there present. A has, therefore, committed robbery on Z.

(d) A obtains property from Z by saying--'Your child is in the hands of my gang and will be put todeath unless you send us ten thousand rupees'. This is extortion, and punishable as such, butit is not robbery unless Z is put in fear of the instant death of his child.

In a large number of robberies, it is difficult to decide whether it is theft or extortion. For example, A seizes Z, threatens to murderhim, unless he delivers all his property, and begins to pull off Z's ornaments. Z in terrorbegs that A takes all he has, and spares his life, assists in taking off his ornaments,and delivers them to A. Here, such ornaments as A took without Z's consent are takenby theft.Those which Z delivered up from fear of death are acquired by extortion. Though it is not necessary for the ends of justice.

It is important to note the expression "for that end" in the above definition of theft. This section will apply to only those theft cases where death, hurt, wrongful restraint is used with the object of facilitating thecommitting of theft or must be caused while the offender is committing theft or iscarrying away or is attempting to carry away property obtained by theft. It is very crucial for distinguishing a case of theft with assault (s 379 and 323) from that of robbery. For example, when the accused abandoned the property obtained by theftand threw stones at his pursuer to deter him from continuing the pursuit, it was heldthat the accused was guilty of theft and not of robbery.

In the case of State of Maharashtra vs. Joseph Mingel 1997(1) BOM CRLJ 362, the court held that in order to prove robbery by theft all the essentials are necessary and even if one condition is missing, robbery cannot be imposed on the accused.

In the case of State of Maharashtra v Vinayak Tukaram, 1997 Cr LJ 3988 (Bom), the accused snatchedthree gold buttons from the shirt of the victim at a railway platform. He gave a knife blow onbeing caught. Convicted for robbery. The Court said that it could not be contended that he gavethe knife blow only to extricate himself from the clutches of the person holding him and toensure the taking away of the stolen gold buttons.

Section 391 - Dacoity

Dacoity is an aggravated form of robbery which is committed by five or more than five persons. These persons should be involved in either committing. Attempting to commit, or in aiding the commission of a robbery.

The essential ingredients of dacoity are:

  • There should be Five or more than five persons;
  • These persons should conjointly commit or attempt to commit robbery;
  • They should have dishonest intentions.

In the case of Raj Kumar @ Raju v State of Uttaranchal AIR 2008 SCC 709, the Supreme Court has reiterated that for the commission of the offence of dacoity a minimum of five persons is an essential ingredient of dacoity and s 396 does not come intoplay if persons convicted for committing dacoity happened to be less than five.

In the case of Ram Baran vs. Emperor 1983 15 ALL 299, a large number of people under the influence of religious sentiments attacked and deprived a group of Muslim people of their cattle. The court held that it was dacoity as it was committed by 5 and more people.

Section 392 - Punishment for robbery

  • Rigorous Imprisonment up to 10 years and also fine
  • If robbery committed at night (between sunset and sunrise) on the highway-RigorousImprisonment may extend to 14years. and also fine.

Section 393 - Attempt to commit robbery

· This section punishes any person who attempts to commit robbery with rigorous imprisonment whose term can be extended to 7 years and he or she will also be liable to pay the fine.

Section 394 - Voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery

  • If a person causes hurt during committing robbery or attempt to commit robbery
  • The person causing hurt and other persons involved in committing robbery shall be punishable withimprisonment for life, or with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Section 394 is a special provision, which is applicable to cases where the offender has actually caused hurt to the victim for the purpose of committing robbery or in an attempt to commit robbery. Thepunishment provided for under s 394 is more severe than that provided under the first part of s 392.

Section 395 - Punishment for dacoity

· Life imprisonment or rigorous imprisonment which may extend to 10yrs and alsofine.

Dacoity is considered a very grave and serious crime andhence, courts have held that in cases of dacoity, a deterrent sentence is called for. In awarding punishment foran offence under this section, two things are to be considered: (i) having regard to the gravity of the offencecommitted, the punishment that each individual deserves; and (ii) on the facts and circumstances of a particular case, whether an unusually heavy sentence is required to protect the interests of the public at large byacting as a deterrent to others.

Section 396 - Dacoity with murder

· If a murder is committed during dacoity, all the persons involved shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life or rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

It is not necessary thatmurder should be committed in the presence of all.It is not evennecessary that murder should have been within the previous contemplation of theperpetrators of the crime.The essence of an offence under this section ismurder committed in the commission of dacoity. However, if the dacoits were forced to retreat withoutcollecting any booty, the offence of dacoity would be completed as soon as they leftthe house of occurrence and took to their heels. And if one of the dacoits kill someone of the persons chasing them, then only the actual murderer will be liable under s 302 of IPC and others will be liable under s395 of IPC.Shyam Behari v State of Uttar Pradesh AIR 1957 SC 320

In Laliya v State of Rajasthan AIR 1967 Raj 134, for conviction under this section court must pay attention to these rules:

  • · whether the dacoits retreatedwithout plunder and the murder was committed while retreating
  • · the interval between the attempt of dacoity and the commission of the murder
  • · the distance between the places where the attempt at dacoitywas committed and the murder was committed
  • · whether the dacoits abandoned all the booty and thelapse of an interval between the abandonment of the booty and the commission of the murder

Section 397 - Robbery or dacoity, with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt

· If during the commission of robbery or dacoity, the offender uses anydeadly weapon, causes or attempts to cause death or grievous hurt

· Shall be punished for not less than 7 years.

Theexpression 'the offender' occurring in this section pertains to the actual offender. It doesnot include all persons who participate in robbery or dacoity.The liability to enhanced punishment is limited to the offender who actually uses the weapon himself and causes grievous hurt and not to others.

The words "uses any deadly weapon” in this section includes those cases where the weapon carried by theoffender was within the vision of the victim so as to be capable of creating terror in hismind. It is notnecessary to show further any hurt caused by the use of the weapon. For example, where theaccused carried a revolver open to the view of the victims, it is sufficient to use of a deadlyweapon to terrorize them within the meaning of this section and no other overt act as firing is necessary to apply this section

Ashfaq v State Govt. of NCT of Delhi, (2004) SCC 116

Chandra Nath Bagchi v Nabadip Chandra Dutt (1931) Luck 543

Section - 398 Attempt to commit robbery or dacoity when armed with deadly weapon

· Punishment for attempt to commit robbery or dacoity with a deadly weapon is

· Imprisonment of not less than seven years

Section - 399 Making preparation to commit dacoity

· Punishment for any preparation to commit dacoity is

· rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years, andalso fine

Ordinary, preparation to commit an offence is not punishable but dacoity is one of the few exceptions where preparation is punishable.Preparation is devising or arranging means necessary for the commission of an offence.

The preparation consists in devising or arranging themeans or measures necessary for the commission of the offence. It differs widely froman attempt which is the direct movement towards the commission after preparations aremade.The dividingline between merepreparation and an attempt is sometimes thin and has to be decided on the facts ofeach case. There is a greater degree of determination in an attempt as compared withpreparation.

Section - 400 Punishment for belonging to gang of dacoits

  • Whoever belongs to a gang of persons for the purpose of committing dacoity shall be punished with
  • Imprisonment for life or with rigorous imprisonment for a term which mayextend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

The expression 'belong' implies something more than casual association with the object of committing dacoity by a person who was ordinarily living byhonest means.Its object is to break up gangs of dacoitsby punishing persons associated for the purpose of committing dacoity.

The mere factthat aperson lives with men who are dacoits is notsufficient to prove that he belonged to a gang of persons who commit dacoity within the meaning of this section unless it is provedthat he himself associated with them for committing dacoity.

Bhima Shaw, (1956) Cut 195

Sharaf Shah Khan, AIR 1963 AP 314

Section - 401 Punishment for belonging to gang of thieves

  • Punishment for belonging to a gang of thieves or robbers is
  • Rigorousi mprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years, and also fine.

Section - 402 Assembling for purpose of committing dacoity

  • Punishment for assembling to commit dacoity is
  • Imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable tofine.

It is not necessary to take any step for dacoity mere unlawful assembly with a common object of dacoity is sufficient for punishment under this section.

In Chaturi Yadav v State of Bihar AIR 1979 SC 1412, the accused had assembled at a lonely spot in the school premises when they were detected by the patrol squad. One of the accused was found to be in possession of a gun and a live cartridge, and others had merely one live cartridge in their pockets. There was absolutely no evidence to establish that the accused had assembled there for the purpose of committing dacoity. In the absence of such evidence, it was held that since one of the ingredients of the offence had not been established by the prosecution, no offence under this section was made out.o:p>

"Loved reading this piece by Rajinder Goyal?
Join LAWyersClubIndia's network for daily News Updates, Judgment Summaries, Articles, Forum Threads, Online Law Courses, and MUCH MORE!!"

Tags :

Category Students, Other Articles by - Rajinder Goyal