Difference between Robbery and Dacoity

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Robbery and Dacoity

These two might seem similar in common usage but, they are two distinct crimes under the Criminal Law. Now what is the actual definition of Robbery and Dacoity in terms of law? What are the criteria for a criminal act to become a robbery or a dacoity? What are the differences between robbery and dacoity? What are the punishments prescribed under the Indian Penal Code for these crimes? These questions may strike your mind when you read the title.  This blog is an attempt to cover these questions as accurately as possible.

History of Robbery and Dacoity

During ancient era Robbery and Dacoity are major crimes among the country’s. This crimes mainly occur on both land and water various people usually travel to works in different localities. The riverine area like West Bengal people use waterways travels accumulate Dacoity and robbery takes place easily and killed larger number of peoples. Riverine misdeeds in olden days are pirates would use swift boats in group of 20 to 30 paddles for Dacoity those lightweight craft can bear many people swiftly. The effort of government they eradicated the pirates and appointed the bands of organisers. At the present no trace of them can be found. Ancient period pirates commit Dacoity using the passengers boat travelling along with them like passengers. Some region a class of cruel and wicked pirates named ‘Bijanaa’ commit Dacoity on the Padma in this typical fashion even today. [2]

Pirates, the land dacoits are extremely powerful in this past region. Landlords were forced to pay annual taxes and pirates received honour like leaders from the kings. Commencement of British rule in India there power was extreme, even ancestor lands of some popular Zamindars are looted by Dacoity and given share to British. Dacoits committed Dacoity, they would rob the poor less people too and they have target conspiracy always to hunt the big landlords houses for their establishment. Their slogan was “hunt but the rhino, loot but the treasury”. Later the British rule during their course of time, dacoits were wiped out. Before committing Dacoity they will worship god Kali and sacrifice some human for victories.

During Muslim rule, Dacoity gangs have been established parallel government in many places. Muslim have established supremacy in towns and the capital of Hindustan had no powers in remote areas of the country. Zamindars and dacoits leaders ruled unchallenged, because at the rise of Marathas, jats and rajputs etc.,the Mughal empire easily collapsed. The passengers travelling in two-wheelers across highways robs by local dacoits.

Today dacoits stealing jewels and killing the people sometimes rape may occur during Dacoity. Modern dacoits at time perpetrate unspeakable indiscriminately on women and men. Dacoity good and evil have their own views, there is too much of weeping and wailing even some have looted from their working place like household works. The dacoits won‟t loose their patience during committing Dacoity. Besides some people commit Dacoity for enjoying their thrills.

Robbery

Robbery is a special and aggravated form of either theft or extortion and means felonious taking from the person of another or in his presence against his will, by violence or putting him in fear, and it becomes Dacoity when it is committed by five or more persons co-jointly.

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.

Illustrations [3]

(a) A holds Z down and fraudulently takes Z’s money and jewels from Z’s clothes without Z’s consent. Here A has committed theft, and in order to the committing of that theft, has voluntarily caused wrongful restraint to Z. A has therefore committed robbery.

(b) A meets Z on the high roads, shows a pistol, and demands Z’s purse. Z in consequence, surrenders his purse. Here A has extort­ed the purse from Z by putting him in fear of instant hurt, and being at the time of committing the extortion in his presence. A has therefore committed robbery.

(c) A meets Z and Z’s child on the high road. A takes the child and threatens to fling it down a precipice, unless Z delivers his purse. Z, in consequence delivers his purse. Here A has extorted the purse from Z, by causing Z to be in fear of instant hurt to the child who is there present. A has therefore committed robbery on Z

Dacoity

When five or more persons co-jointly commit or attempt to commit a robbery or where the whole number of persons co-jointly committed or attempting to commit a robbery and persons present and aiding such commission or attempt, amount to five or more, every person so committing, attempting or aiding is said to commit Dacoity.

In the instance case of  Poolan Devi vs state of Madhya Pradesh [4] ,Smt. Phoolan Devi was in custody since February 12, 1983 when she claims to have voluntarily surrendered in the State of Madhya Pradesh with a criminal past. On this basis it is claimed that the custody for eleven years under gone by the petitioner is sufficient to satisfy the requirement and all the prosecutions pending against her in the courts in Uttar Pradesh should be quashed. According to the petitioner there are about 55 criminal prosecutions against her in the courts in Uttar Pradesh alleging the commission of heinous offences like dacoity and murder by her.

Points of Difference between Robbery and Dacoity [6]

Robbery and Dacoity can be differentiated on the basis of various grounds;

Definition

Robbery has been defined in Section 390 of IPC and Dacoity has been defined in Section 391 of IPC.

Essential Ingredients

Essential ingredients of the offence of Robbery are as follows:

  • Committed theft as defined in Section 378
  • Offender caused or attempted to cause to some persons:
  • fear of death, or hurt or wrongful restraint,
  • fear of instant death, or of instant hurt or of instant wrongful restrain
  • Offender did such act either
  • in order to the committing of the theft
  • while committing the theft
  • In carrying away or attempting to carry away the property.

Essential ingredients of the offence of Dacoity are as follows:

  • The accused commit or attempt to commit robbery ;
  • Persons committing or attempting to commit robbery and persons present and aiding must not be less than five ;
  • All such persons should act conjointly.

Note: The word ‘conjointly’ refers to united or concerted action of five or more persons participating in the act of committing the offence. In other words, five or more persons should be concerned in the commission of the offence and they should commit or attempt to commit robbery. 

Number Of Persons

In Robbery the number of persons are less than five. It may be committed by a single person.

In Dacoity, the number of persons are five or more.

Seriousness

Robbery is less serious in nature.

Dacoity is more serious offence than robbery because of the terror caused by the presence number of offenders.

Position of Abettors

In Robbery, the abettors are liable independently.

In Dacoity abettors who are present and aiding when the crime is committed are counted in the number.

Jurisdiction of Court [6]

In case of robbery, the offence is cognizable, non-bailable, non-compoundable and triable by Magistrate of the first class.

In case of dacoity the offence is cognizable, non-bailable, non-compoundable and triable by Court of Session.

Punishment [7]

Whoever commits robbery shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three years, nor more than ten years and shall also be liable to fine

Whoever commits dacoity shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with rigorous impris­onment for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

In the case of Ashfaq vs State, the Supreme Court ruled that weapon with which the offender is armed is a deadly weapon within the meaning of this section, if it is within the vision of the victim and is capable of creating terror in the mind of victim. It is also sufficient to satisfy the word ‘uses’ for the purpose of section 397 IPC.

Position In Highway

If robbery is committed on the highway, the imprisonment may be extended to fourteen years.

The fact that the Dacoity is committed on the highway does not change the position or punishment. 

Conclusion    

To conclude, we can say, that the definition of robbery contemplates that an accused should from very beginning have the intention to deprive another person of the property and to achieve that end, either hurt is caused or a person is placed. Under wrongful restraint, or it must be actually found that victim was put in fear of instant death, hurt or wrongful confinement when the same offence is committed by five or more serious in nature.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Burglary, dacoity, robbery and theft are all different crimes under the IPC. How do we differentiate?

Theft, Extortion, Robbery and Dacoity are offences in criminal law affecting the property of a person, defined in Sections 378 to 402 of the Indian Penal Code. Burglary, dacoity, robbery and theft are almost similar words. But on a closer look it may be found there are some difference between them.

Burglary is the intention to break into a building without any consent with the intent of committing a crime inside. Burglary can be considered as specific intention of burglar who intentionally entering to building to commit a crime. Burglary is also called breaking or entering or housebreaking. This breaking can include actions such as forcing opening a door, or constructive, such as by fraud or threats etc. Entering means either physical entry by a person or any insertion of an instrument to remove property. It is an unlawful entry into a building or any other location with an intention of committing an offence. Mostly this offence is theft, but sometimes may jurisdictions include others within the ambit of burglary.

Section 379 in The Indian Penal Code Defines Theft as:

“Whoever, intending to take dishonestly any moveable property out of the possession of any person without the consent of that person, moves that property in order to such taking, is said to committing a theft.” Punishment for theft under criminal law is whoever commits theft will be punished with an imprisonment of either described for a term which may extend to 3 years, or with fine, or with both the punishments. Theft can be considered as generic term for all the crimes in which a person intentionally takes the personal assets without the permission of owner. Theft simply means taking something from someone else with an intention to permanently deprive them of it. Frauds, Embezzlement are examples of theft.

IPC Section 395 defines “Dacoity”.

It is another form of Robbery. Difference between Robbery and Dacoity lies in the number of participants in committing the offence. In Dacoity there should be 5 or more person. Every member the gang is punished in dacoity regardless they committed a crime or not. Even if only one member in the gang committed a crime punishments is for all the members. It is more serious offence than robbery. Punishment for dacoity is Imprisonment for life or with hard imprisonment for a term which can be extend to about 10 years, and also fine.

IPC Section 390 defines “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. Robbery involves either theft or extortion. [8]

2. Which sections of the IPC are violated if someone tries to take away another person’s property or land illegally?

Property related offences and punishments are given under sections 378 to 460 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.The offences which are mainly recognized in the said Code are ten in number.

  • Robbery and dacoity.
  • Criminal misappropriation of property.
  • Criminal breach of trust.
  • Receiving stolen property
  • Fraudulent deed and disposition of property.
  • Criminal trespass.

It depends on the facts and the circumstances of the case that which offence has been committed and which section is being violated.

3. When is a child guilty of murder?

Sections 14(1) and (2) together with Section 17(3) of the proposed JJ bill would allow juveniles between the ages of 16 and 18 accused of committing heinous crimes such as rape and murder, or who are repeat offenders for a broader range of crimes, including robbery and dacoity, to be tried in regular courts alongside adults, rather than through the juvenile justice system. In the case of such children, the Juvenile Justice Board is to decide, based on an inquiry whether the child is to be tried under the juvenile justice system or in a regular court pursuant to the Indian Penal Code. and according to IPC no child is guilty of any offence to the age of 7 and above 7–14 his maturity level would be checked.

4. What is the logic behind the number of people difference to differentiate between Dacoity and Robbery?

When someone uses criminal force, wrongfully restrains, causes fear of death (during theft) or causes fear of instant death (during extortion), to take a property of another person, he is said to do the act of robbery. When 5 or more persons are involved in it, it’s called dacoity. So dacoity is an aggrevated form of robbery. Every person is equally liable regardless of the intensity of their involvement in dacoity.

Edited by Madonna Jephi

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

References

[1] Law Mantra, Robbery v. Dacoity,  http://lawmantra.co.in/robbery-v-dacoity/  ,(last visited on Feb,3, 2017)

[2] Mayank Shekhar, Robbery and Dacoity – Meaning and important provisions, https://www.legalbites.in/law-notes-ipc-robbery-and-dacoity/ , (last visited on Feb 11, 2018)

[3] K.D. Gaur, Textbook on Indian Penal Code, Fifth Edition 2014

[4] Phoolan Devi, The Bandit queen of India, Globe Pequot press, 2006

[5]Mir Imran, Difference Between Robbery and dacoity, http://imranlaw.blogspot.com/2013/11/difference-between-robbery-and-dacoity.html , (last visited on Nov 16, 2013)

[6] SRD Law Notes, Distinction / Difference between Robbery and Dacoity, https://www.srdlawnotes.com/2017/03/distinction-difference-between-robbery.html

[7] Imran, supra note 5

[8] Parul Manchanda, Burglary, dacoity, robbery and theft are all different crimes under the IPC. How do we differentiate? , https://www.quora.com/Burglary-dacoity-robbery-and-theft-are-all-different-crimes-under-the-IPC-How-do-we-differentiate , (last visited on Sep 29, 2017)