-Manisha Singh

Under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860, Dacoity is a wider concept as compare to Robbery. In order to understand the concept of Robbery and Dacoity completely, it is necessary to understand the meaning of two important keywords:

  • Theft – According to Section 378 read with section 11,22,23 and 24 of IPC, whoever, intending to take dishonestly any movable property out of the possession of any person without that person’s consent, moves that person’s consent, moves that property in order to take such taking, is said to commit theft. For example- ‘X’ finds a ring of ‘Y’ on a table in the house which Y occupies. Here the ring is in the possession of Y and if X dishonestly removes it, X commits theft.
  • Extortion– According to Section 383 read with section 11,24 and 44, Any person who intentionally put any person in fear of any injury to that person or to any other person, and thereby dishonestly induces the person so put in fear to any person any property or valuable security, or anything signed or sealed which may be converted into a valuable security, commits “extortion”. For example- ‘A’ threatens ‘C’, that he will keep ‘B’ ( C’s child) in wrongful confinement unless C will give him money. Here A induces C to give him money. A has committed extortion.

We will discuss these two concepts under two heads:

  • Robbery
  • Dacoity


MEANING – Under Article 390 of the IPC, all robberies are either theft or extortion.

  • A theft is Robbery
    • When someone Voluntarily causes or attempt to cause to any person
      • Death or hurt or wrongful restraint, or,
      • Fear of instant death or instant hurt, or of instant wrongful, restraint.
    • The above acts must be done for any of the following ends:-
      • In order to the committing of the theft
      • In committing theft, or,
      • In carrying away, or attempting to Carry away property obtained by theft.
    • An Extortion is Robbery, if,
  • When a person commits Extortion by putting another person in fear of instant death, or instant hurt, or of instant wrongful restraint to that person or to some other person, and
  • Such a person by so putting another in fear induces the person so put in fear then and there to deliver up the extorted thing; and
  • The offender, at the time of committing the extortion, is in the presence of the person put in fear.

For example – A meet B on the highway shows pistol and demands B’s purse. B, in consequence, surrenders his purse.  Here A has extorted the purse from B by putting him in fear of instant hurt. A has therefore committed a robbery.



Section 392 of IPC contains the punishment for robbery. According to this, whoever commits Robbery shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend up to 10 years and will also be liable for fine, and if the Robbery is committed on the highway between sunset and sunrise, imprisonment may extend to 14 years. If a person attempts to commit Robbery he will be punished with rigorous imprisonment of up to 7 years with fine under Section 393. Further, if any person voluntarily causes hurt to any other person in. Committing robbery shall be punished with life imprisonment or rigorous imprisonment for up to 10 years and with fine under Section 394.


Even though a robbery would always be either theft or extortion as shown by definition, in practice it may sometimes be quite different to identify as to which part is robbery by theft and which one is robbery by Extortion. For instance- A enters into the house of B and pointing a revolver at him asks him to surrender all the valuables while B starts surrendering the valuables A himself starts picking up some of the other valuables. In this case, the accused committed a highway robbery. They looted the passengers on the bus. The trial court imposed punishment of life imprisonment. On appeal High Court upheld it. In another case, it was held that in order to establish Robbery by theft it was necessary to prove all the essential ingredients laid down under section 378 which is said to constitute theft.  In another case, some armed persons had entered the field of the plaintiff. However, it was held that this didn’t amount to Robbery rather it amounted to theft, as the element of threat was missing.



MEANING- Dacoity means when a robbery is either committed attempting to commit it is made by five or more persons, then all such persons who are present or aiding in its commission or in an attempt to commit it, would commit the offense of Dacoity. Section 391 reads with section 11 and 392 Contain the Definition of Dacoity.


  • There must be five or more than five members in order to Constitute Dacoity.
  • Members must be present or aiding in the Commission of it.


  • Every case of Dacoity is primarily a case of Robbery but not vice versa is right.
  • In Dacoity the number of participants must be five or more; in Robbery, there must be less than five members because if a Robbery is done by five or more than five persons, it will Constitute a Dacoity.


The punishment for the offense of Dacoity is enshrined in Section 395 of IPC. According to this, whoever commits Dacoity shall be punished with life imprisonment or rigorous imprisonment which may extend up to 10 years, and fine also will be imposed. Where the Presence of informant and other witnesses at the time and place of Incident was established and their positive Evidence regarding the way in which the Dacoity was committed found reliable having no previous enmity with accused, no case if false implication established before. Therefore, the conviction of the accused under Section 395 was just and proper. If anyone of five or more persons, who are committing Dacoity conjointly, commits murder in committing Dacoity, every one of those persons shall be punished with death or life imprisonment or rigorous imprisonment which may extend up to 10 years and with fine also under Section 396 of IPC.

To Constitute offence of “Dacoity with murder” any one of the five or more persons should commit murder while committing the Dacoity, then every one of such committing, attempting to committing or aiding, by a fiction of law, would be deemed to have committed offence of murder. Under Article 400 whoever belongs to a gang of dacoits shall be punished with life imprisonment or with rigorous imprisonment of up to 10 years and shall also be liable to fine. If a person makes preparation for committing Dacoity, he shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine under Section 399.

According to Section 398, whoever Attempts to commit Robbery or Dacoity when armed with a deadly weapon will be punished with imprisonment not less than 7 years. Under Article 397, if at the time of committing Robbery or Dacoity, the offender uses any deadly weapon, or causes grievous hurt to any person he shall be punished with imprisonment not less than 7 years. There can be no quarrel that a knife is a deadly weapon within the meaning of section 397. When identification of articles alleged to have been recovered, from accused is not properly proved nor victim so as to capable of creating a terror in the mind of Victim and not that it should be further shown to have been actually used for cutting, stabbing, shooting, as the case may be.


Hence in a concluded way, we can say that Dacoity is a wider form of Robbery. In order to Prove the Offence of Dacoity, it’s necessary first to prove the Offence of Robbery by the Prosecution. Both the Offences are punishable under Chapter XVII of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.


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