What is extortion? How it differs from theft? Describe with illustration. [MPCJ 2015]
Ans. The offence of extortion as provided under section 383 of IPC is carried out by overpowering the will of the complainant. In order to complete the offence of extortion, the essential ingredients happen in following three stages:-
- Firstly, the accused intentionally puts any person in fear of any injury to that person or any other person. The fear of injury need not be necessarily physical injury, it may be an injury of any kind as enumerated under section 44 of the IPC. But, the fear of injury must be of a real nature so as to unsettle the mind of man upon whom it is exercised in such a way that the act does not remain voluntary.
- Secondly, while the complainant remains in fear of injury, the accused dishonestly induces him to deliver any property or valuable security or anything which is singed or sealed and may be converted into a valuable security.
- Finally, the person extortioned must deliver abovementioned property either to the accused himself or at his instruction to anyone else. Delivery of property by the person put in fear is the essence of the offence under this section as held in Jadunandan Singh vs Emperor, AIR 1941Pat 129.
Difference:- Both extortion and theft are offence against the property, but they differ in following way-
- In theft, the property is taken away without the consent of the owner. Whereas, in extortion, the consent of the owner is obtained by putting him in fear of injury.
- The offence of theft can be committed only with respect to movable property. Whereas, in extortion the property may be either movable or immovable.
- In theft, there is moving of the property for taking dishonestly. Whereas, in extortion, there is delivery of the property.
- In theft, the subject matter of the offence has to be in possession of the complainant. Whereas, in extortion the property may not be in possession of the complainant at the time of offence.
- If ‘A’ goes to the house of his friend ‘B’ to meet him and takes away a book from his study table without his knowledge in order to retain with him then it’s a case of theft. However, in the same case if ‘A’ after meeting with ‘B’ puts him in fear of injury and makes him to deliver a book then it’s a case of extortion.
- If ‘A’ picks the pocket of ‘B’ and takes away the money then it’s a case of theft. However, if ‘A’ telephonically calls ‘B’ and puts him in fear of injury and thereafter asks him to deliver the money which he is carrying in his pocket to the extortionist himself or to anyone else then it’s a case of extortion.