Section 506 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 – Explained!

Whereas the normal punishment for the offence of criminal intimidation provided under the first part of the section seems neither lenient nor stern, the one under the latter part being an aggravated form of the offence wherein the circumstances in which that part would be applicable have been clearly stated, has been visited with a sterner penalty. Entering a house at midnight armed with a knife and threatening with death anyone who dared to come between the accused and the victim has been held to be punishable under this section.

The Madras High Court is of the view that the threat must be real in the sense that the offender is capable of doing what he says and that the person threatened must feel actually threatened. The Supreme Court has ruled that where the trial court has given probation benefit to an accused under the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958, normally this should not be interfered with.

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The Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that mere outburst of the accused at the time of assault on the complainant that he would kill him is not enough for his conviction under section 506 and punishment for grievous hurt already given.

In Amulya Kumar Behera v. Nabaghana Behera it was held that in section 503 the intention of the accused must be to cause alarm to the victim, and whether the victim is alarmed or not is of no consequence. But material has to be brought on record to show that intention was to cause alarm to that person. Mere expression of words without any intention to cause alarm would not be sufficient for section 506 of the Code to apply.

In Dr. Subramanian Swamy v. State of Tamilnadu the accused only gave threats to cause death or grievous hurt but did not act in pursuance thereof. The Madras High Court held that the offence of criminal intimidation was not made out.

In Saraswathi v. State of Tamilnadu, the Madras High Court held that asking a person not to work in a private garden and threatening that person to go away from the garden would not satisfy the requirement under section 506 of the Code.

The offence under this section is non-cognizable, bailable and compoundable, and is triable by any magistrate. If the threat be to cause death or grievous hurt etc. as stated under the second part of the section, the offence is non-compoundable and triable by magistrate of the first class.

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