Criminal Intimidation

criminal intimidation

The Indian Penal Code deals with those acts that are meant to intimidate or threaten another person. Chapter XXII of the penal code deals with Criminal intimidation.

Definition of Criminal Intimidation

Section 503 defines the offence of criminal intimidation, the essentials of this sections are there should be threat of injury to a person, it could be to his person, reputation or property, or the same to anyone close to that person; the threat should be with intent to cause alarm to that person or to cause the person to do any act which he is not legally bound to do as a means of avoiding the execution of such threat, it could also be to cause that person to omit to do any act which the person is legally entitled to do as a means of avoiding the execution of such threat.

In simple words, this offence can be defined as if any person threatens another with injury to his person, property or reputation, and to avoid that, the other person is made to do an act he is not legally bound to do or omit to do.

In the case of the Communist Party of India, the petitioner claimed a right to call or enforce a “bandh” is a fundamental right. Rejecting the contention, the court rightly said that, “There cannot be any right to call or enforce a “bandh” which interferes with the exercise of the fundamental rights of other citizens, in addition to causing national loss in many ways. At the same time call of “bandh” would amount to criminal intimidation if it is coupled with the threat of injury to the person or property punishable under section 503 & 506 of the IPC”

Punishment for Criminal Intimidation

Section 506 & 507 prescribe the punishment for the offence of criminal intimidation defined in section 503. In a simple case of criminal intimidation a person can be given imprisonment up to 2 years or fine or both, If the threat causes death of the threatened person or grievous hurt or destruction of any property by fire the accused can be given up to 7 years or fine or both and if the threat is to impute chastity to a women the punishment can be up to 7 years or fine or both.

Criminal intimidation through anonymous communication and criminal inducement

Section 507 is corollary to section 506 of the IPC. If the criminal intimidation is done by an anonymous letter or by a letter signed with a false name, the offence will be subject to a harsher punishment under this section and may extend up to 2 years of imprisonment or fine or both. To convict a person under this section it must be shown that the accused committed criminal intimidation by causing threats of injury which if he had the chance would be executed. The main ingredients of this sections are the accused should have threatened some person with an injury to his person, reputation or property, the accused did so with the intent to cause alarm to that person and made him do an act which he was not legally bound to do or made him omit such an act; the offence committed was by anonymous communication of threat sent by the accused.

Section 508 contemplates the voluntarily causing of any person to do a thing which he not legally bound to do or omit to do something he has to do, by inducing that person to believe that he or any person in whom he of interested will become an object of Divine displeasure, if does not do the things in the manner dictated.  Let us understand this section through an illustration, A threatens Z that, unless Z performs a certain act, A will kill ones of A’s children, under such circumstances that the killing would be believed to render Z an object of divine displeasure. A has committed the offence defined in this section. It should be understood that a person who is excommunicated does not become an object of divine displeasure by the act of the priest who pronounces the sentence.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I file criminal intimidation?

  • File an FIR in the nearest police station for criminal intimidation under Section 506 IPC.
  • Annex the WhatsApp chat with your complaint.
  • Furthermore, if you have an apprehension that he may illegally dispossess you from the property then file a suit for permanent injunction against him in the competent civil court.

Is criminal intimidation a cognizable offence?

For the purpose, the government has identified offences under Sections 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) and 507 (criminal intimidation by an anonymous communication) of Indian Penal Code as cognizable offences that could be investigated without court permission.

What constitutes a legal threat?

A legal threat is a statement by a party that it intends to take legal action on another party, generally accompanied by a demand that the other party take an action demanded by the first party or refrain from taking or continuing actions objected to by the demanding party.

Is section 506 bailable?

If threat be to cause death or grievous hurt, etc. In general, Section 506 IPC is bailable and non-cognizable in India as a whole, except in States where the application of this Section has been amended.

“The views of the authors are personal


The Indian Penal Code, K.D. Gaur, fourth Edition, Universal Law Publishing Co. Criminal Law, PSA Pillai, 11th Edition, Lexis NexisCecil Turner.J. (2013), Kenny’s Outlines of Criminal Law, Cambridge: Cambridge University PressTextbook of Criminal Law, Glanville Williams, fourth Edition, Sweet & Maxwell South Asian Edition Communist Party of India v. Bharat Kumar IR 1998 SC 184

Srishti John
Srishti is a law student at CMR School of Legal Studies, Bangalore. In her time at law school, she has found herself lost in subjects like Jurisprudence and Criminology. She loves a good debate and people who challenge her to become better. She is a Political Science graduate from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. Her resolutions involve reading 30 books in 2020 and spreading a message of joy, kindness and love. She wants to pursue her LLM and aid the violated and vulnerable in their quest for equality & justice.