Define Criminal Intimidation? How Criminal Intimidation is different from extortion? [MPCJ 2018]

Ans. In layman’s perspective, the ‘criminal intimidation’ means giving threat with an intention to cause any injury to any person or his reputation or property. Section 503 of the IPC specifically defines criminal intimidation and the same is made punishable under section 506 of the act. Section 506 of the IPC has two parts, first part deals with threat aspect and the second part with the requisite intention aspect of the criminal intimidation and both have to simultaneously co-exist in order to constitute the offence. The definition of criminal intimidation has following necessary ingredients-

  • That the offender must threaten the victim himself with injury to his person, reputation or property or even to the reputation or person of anyone in whom victim is interested.
  • The intent of such threatening must be either of following in order to avoid the execution of such threat :
  • To cause alarm to that person, or
  • To do something which he is not legally bound to do, or
  • To omit something which he is legally bound to do.

As above, the gist of the offence is the effect which the threat is intended to have upon mind of person threatened. So, in order to have effect upon the mind of victim the threat must be either made to him by the person threatening or communicated to him in some way.

Difference:- In a very locus classicus judgment of Ramesh Chandra Arora vs. State, AIR 1960 SC 154, the Hon’ble Apex Court had held that it is often that a particular act in some of its aspects comes within the definition of a particular offence in the Indian Penal Code, while in other aspects, or taken as a whole, it comes within another definition of offence under the act and despite of that feature there are obvious differences between the offence of extortion as defined in section 383 and the offence of criminal offence intimidation as defined in Section 503 of the IPC. The main distinction is as under –

  • Section 383 of IPC provides for an offence against property. Whereas, criminal intimidation as provided under section 503 of IPC is an offence against body.
  • Section 383 of IPC, the accused intentionally puts in fear of injury to the victim himself or anyone whom he is interested. Whereas, section 503 of IPC the accuse threatens with any injury to the victim himself or anyone whom he is interested.
  • Under section 383 of IPC the purpose putting in fear is to dishonestly induce from the person so put in fear to deliver any property, valuable security etc. Whereas, under section 503 of IPC the intent of threatening is to cause alarm or make victim to do which is not legally bound to do or making him to omit which he is legally bound to do.
  • Under section 383 of IPC in order to constitute the offence, the delivery of the extorted property is mandatory. Whereas, under section 506 of IPC in order to constitute criminal intimidation it is only intention of accused to cause alarm etc which is relevant and it is irrelevant whether victim got alarmed or not as held by Hon’ble Orissa High Court   in Amulya Kumar Behera vs Nabaghana Behera , 1995 CriLJ 3559.

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