Section 390 IPC (Indian Penal Code): Indian Penal Code
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. Explanation.—The offender is said to be present if he is sufficiently near to put the other person in fear of instant death, of instant hurt, or of instant wrongful restraint. Illustrations
(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.
(d) A obtains property from Z by saying—“Your child is in the hands of my gang, and will be put to death unless you send us ten thousand rupees”. This is extortion, and punishable as such; but it is not robbery, unless Z is put in fear of the instant death of his child. COMMENTS In order that theft may constitute robbery, prosecution has to establish—
(a) if in order to the committing of theft; or
(b) in committing the theft; or
(c) in carrying away or attempting to carry away property obtained by theft;
(d) the offender for that end i.e. any of the ends contemplated by (a) to (c);
(e) 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 instant wrongful restraint. In other words, theft would only be robbery if for any of the ends mentioned in (a) to (c) the offender 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 instant wrongful restraint. If the ends does not fall within (a) to (c) but, the offender still causes or attempts to cause to any person death or hurt or wrongful restraint or fear of instant death or of instant hurt or instant wrongful restraint, the offence would not be robbery. That (a) or (b) or (c) have to be read conjunctively with (d) and (e). It is only when (a) or (b) or (c) co-exist with (d) and (e) or there is a nexus between any of them and (d), (e) would amount to robbery; State of Maharashtra v. Joseph Mingel Koli, (1997) 2 Crimes 228 (Bom).
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