Extortion

Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate

High Court Lucknow

Article

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In the Indian Penal Code (IPC), extortion is defined and criminalized under Section 383 to Section 389. Extortion is a form of theft or coercion wherein a person intentionally puts another person under fear of injury to their person, reputation, or property, with the intent to unlawfully obtain some valuable property or any advantage. Let’s break down the key aspects of extortion under the IPC:

  1. Definition: Extortion, as per the IPC, involves the following elements: a. The accused intentionally puts a person in fear. b. The fear is of injury to their person, reputation, or property. c. The intent of the accused is to dishonestly induce that person to deliver any property or valuable security, or to commit any act that may be detrimental to that person.
  2. Fear and Intimidation: Extortion revolves around the use of fear or intimidation to coerce someone into giving up their property or succumbing to the demands of the accused. The fear instilled can be related to physical harm, damage to reputation, or harm to personal property.
  3. Unlawful Gain: The primary objective of the accused in extortion is to obtain property or any advantage unlawfully. This can include money, valuable items, documents, favors, or any other benefit that the accused seeks to gain by exploiting the victim’s fear.
  4. Punishment: The IPC prescribes punishment for various forms of extortion. The severity of punishment depends on the circumstances and gravity of the offense. Section 384 deals with punishment for extortion, which includes imprisonment for a term that may extend to three years, along with a fine. In aggravated cases, where the accused uses the threat of grievous hurt or abduction, the punishment may extend to life imprisonment or rigorous imprisonment for a term that may extend to ten years, along with a fine.

The IPC provides the framework for addressing extortion as a criminal offense, aiming to protect individuals from unlawful coercion and ensure the security of their property and well-being.