Extortion and robbery
Please explain the difference between extortion and robbery?
In extortion the type of harm that can be caused is wide i.e. reputation, money, property, body etc whereas robbery is more serious in nature and deals specifically with either death/hurt/wrongful restraint as type of harm. Moreover in robbery the presence of the one giving threat is essential.
Section 383 in The Indian Penal Code
383. Extortion.—Whoever intentionally puts any person in fear of any injury to that person, or to any other, and thereby dishonestly induces the person so put in fear to deliver to any person any property or valuable security, or anything signed or sealed which may be converted into a valuable security, commits “extortion”.
Section 390 in The Indian Penal Code
390. Robbery.—In all robbery there is either theft or extortion. When theft is robbery.—Theft is “robbery” if, in order to the committing of the theft, or in committing the theft, 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. When extortion is robbery.—Extortion is “robbery” if the offender, at the time of committing the extortion, is in the presence of the person put in fear, and commits the extortion by putting that person in fear of instant death, of instant hurt, or of instant wrongful restraint to that person or to some other person, and, by so putting in fear, induces the person so put in fear then and there to deliver up the thing extorted. Explanation.—The offender is said to be present if he is sufficiently near to put the other person in fear of instant death, of instant hurt, or of instant wrongful restraint.
Extortion is defined in S. 383 of Indian Penal Code as appropriation of property by coercion. The essential ingredients of the offence of extortion are:
Fear is a subjective matter, there in Ramjee Singh vs. State of Bihar, the word ‘fear’ was said that it should be of such a nature that it unsettles the mind of the person on whom it operates, and takes from his acts the element of free voluntary action which alone constitutes consent.
Also in the case of Labhshanker Keshavji & Anr. Vs. State it was held that the offence of extortion as defined under Section 383 is not complete as long as there is actual possession of the property by the person put in fear by them.
But a an extortion (s. 390 of Indian Penal Code) becomes a robbery when the following three additional conditions are satisfied:-
Extortion when caused with violence causing death of fear of death, hurt or wrongful restraint constitutes the offence of robbery. Therefore, applying common rationality, if there is no extortion, there is no robbery. Attempt to commit violence is enough, it is not necessary that violence should be committed
Therefore in robbery the property or valuables are taken away from the victim without his consent; in extortion the property or valuable are taken away from the victim with his consent, though it is unwilling.
In robbery the victim experiences immediate physical threat; in extortion the victim experiences immediate as well as future threat of different varieties like loss of money, reputation, life of a loved one etc
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