Speech on Criminal Intimidation, Insult and Annoyance

It also includes any words or acts, intended and calculated to put any person in fear of any injury or danger to himself or to any member of his family or to any person in his employment, or in fear of any injury to or loss of property, business, employment, or means of living.

Wadhwa’s Law Lexicon:

“Intimidation as used in a declaration that a person by means of intimidation drove the customers of another from him and succeeded in breaking up his business, means the act of making one timid or fearful, by a declaration of an intention or determination to injure another by the commission of some unlawful act. If the act intended to be done is not unlawful, the effect thereof is not ‘intimidation’ in a legal sense”.

Definition:

Sec. 503 defines Criminal Intimidation.

Sec. 503. Criminal intimidation:

Whoever threatens another with any injury to his person, reputation or property, or to the person or reputation of any one in whom that person is interested, with intent to cause alarm to that person, or to cause that person to do any act which he is not legally bound to do, or to omit to do any act which that person is legally entitled to do, as the means of avoiding the execution such threat, commits criminal intimidation.

Explanation:

A threat to injure the reputation of any deceased person in whom the person threatened is interested, is within this Section.

Illustration:

A, for the purpose of inducing B to desist from prosecuting a civil suit, threatens to burn B’s house. A is guilty of criminal intimidation.

Important Points:

A. There are two parts in Sec. 503. First Part refers to the act of threatening another person with injury to his person, reputation or property or to the person, reputation or property of anyone in whom that person is interested. Second Part refers to the intent with which the threatening is done.

Intent is of two kinds: One kind of intent alarms the person threatened. Second kind of intent causes that person to do any act which he is not legally bound to do or to omit to do anything which that person is legally entitled to do, as the means of avoiding the execution of that threat.

B. Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace:

Sec. 504 prescribes punishment

that whoever intentionally insults, and thereby gives provocation to any person, intending or knowing it to be likely that such provocation will cause him to break the public peace, or to commit any other offence, shal1 be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both. Nature of offence: The offence under this Section is non- cognizable, bailable, compoundable, and triable by any Magistrate.

C. Statements conducing to public mischief:

Sec. 505 says about “Statements conducing to public mischief”. Nature of offence: The offence under first part of this Section is non-cognizable, non-bailable, non-compoundable, and triable by any Magistrate. The offence under second and third part is cognizable, non-bailable, non-compoundable, and triable by any Magistrate.

Sec. 505. Statements conducing to public mischief:

(1) Whoever makes, publishes or circulates any statement, rumour or report,—

(a) With intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, any officer, soldier, sailor or airman in the Army, Navy or Air Force of India to mutiny or otherwise disregard or fail in his duty as such; or

(b) With intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public, or to any section of the public whereby any person may be induced to commit an offence against the State or against the public tranquility; or

(c) With intent to incite, or which is likely to incite, any class or community of persons to commit any offence against any other class or community; shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

(2) Statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes:

Whoever makes, publishes, or circulates any statement, or report containing rumour or alarming news with intent to create or promote, or which is likely to create or promote, on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste, or community or any other ground whatsoever, feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

(3) Offence under sub-section (2) committed in place of worship, etc:

Whoever commits an offence specified in sub-section (2) in any place of worship or in any assembly engaged in the performance of religious worship or religious ceremonies shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to five years and shall also be liable to fine.

Exception:

It does not amount to an offence, within the meaning of this Section, when the person making, publishing or circulating any such statement, rumour or report, has reasonable grounds for believing that such statement, rumour or report is true and makes, publishes or circulates it in good faith without any such intent as aforesaid.

D. Punishment for Criminal Intimidation:

Sec. 506 says that whoever commits the offence of criminal intimidation shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

If threat be to cause death or grievous hurt, etc.:

And if the threat be to cause death or grievous hurt, or to cause the destruction of any property by fire, or to cause an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years, or to impute unchastely to a woman, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, or with fine, or with both.

Nature of offence:

The offence under this Section for criminal intimidation is non-cognizable, bailable, compoundable, and triable by any Magistrate. If threat be to cause death or grievous hurt, etc., it is triable by Magistrate of the first class.

E. Criminal intimidation by an anonymous communication:

Sec. 507 says that whoever commits the offence of criminal intimidation by an anonymous communication, or having taken precaution to conceal the name or abode of the person from whom the threat comes, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, in addition to the punishment provided for the offence by the last preceding section.

Nature of offence:

The offence under this Section is non-cognizable, bailable, non-compoundable, and triable by Magistrate of the first class.

F. Act caused by inducing to believe that he will be rendered an object of Divine displeasure:

Sec. 508 says that whoever voluntarily causes or attempts to cause any person to do anything which that person is not legally bound to do, or to omit to do anything which he is legally entitled to do, by inducing or attempting to induce that person to believe that he or any person in whom he is interested will become or will be rendered by some act of the offender an object of Divine displeasure if he does not do the thing which it is the object of the offender to cause him to omit, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.

Nature of offence:

The offence under this Section is non-cognizable, bailable, compoundable and triable by any Magistrate.

Illustrations:

(a) A sits dharna at Z’s door with the intention of causing it to be believed that, by so sitting, he renders Z an object of Divine displeasure. A has committed the offence defined in this Section.

(b) A threatens Z that, unless Z performs a certain act, A will kill one of A’s own 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.

G. Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman:

Sec. 509 says that whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any woman, utters any word, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen, by such woman, or intrudes upon the privacy of such woman, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.

Nature of offence:

The offence under this Section is cognizable, bailable, compoundable with permission of the Court before which any prosecution of such offence is pending and triable by any Magistrate.

H. Misconduct in public by a drunken person:

Sec. 510 says that whoever, in a state of intoxication, appears in any public place, or in any place which it is a trespass in him to enter, and there conducts himself in such a manner as to cause annoyance to any person, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to twenty-four hours, or with fine which may extend to ten rupees, or with both.

Nature of offence:

The offence under this Section is non-cognizable, bailable, non-compoundable, and triable by any Magistrate.

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