Indian Penal code 1860 in its chapter 17 deals with offences against property in which it also provides for the offences of robbery and dacoity. The term robbery can be said as an advanced form of the offence of theft and extortion which are also provided by Indian penal code in the same chapter under sections 378 and 383.

Basically, robbery is meant to deprive a person of his property which is an offence provided under section 390 of IPC and the term dacoity is an extended form of robbery provided as an offence under section 391 of IPC in this offence if robbery has been done by person five and more in number it is considered as dacoity. So, the major difference between both offences is of the number of persons involved.

In this article, we will try to understand both the offences with their nature.


Robbery is defined under Section 390 of IPC which has been divided into two parts-

  • When theft is robbery

A Theft is considered as a “robbery” when the offender in order to commit the theft or in committing the theft or to carry away or while attempting to carry away property obtained by the theft, voluntarily causes or attempts to cause death or hurt or wrongful restraint or fear of instant death or instant hurt, or of instant wrongful restraint to any person.


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.

  • When extortion is robbery

An Extortion is considered as a “robbery” when the offender at the time of the commission of extortion puts any person or any other person in fear of instant death, of instant hurt, or of instant wrongful restraint and induces the person to whom he has put in fear to deliver the thing extorted.


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 the robbery.

Explanation of Section:

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. 

Punishment for Robbery

Punishment for Robbery is provided under Section 392 of IPC. According to it if any person commits the offence of robbery shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term of ten years and shall also be liable to fine.

And if the robbery is committed on the highway between the period of sunset and sunrise, the offender shall be punished with the imprisonment which may be extended to fourteen years.

Case laws

State of Maharashtra v. Joseph Mingel [1]

To establish the offence of Robbery by Theft It is essential to prove all the ingredients provided under section 378 which said to constitute theft. If any of the ingredients of Section 378 is not fulfilled then, it would not constitute the commission of the offence of robbery under section 390 of IPC.

Harinder Singh v. State of Punjab [2]

In this case, the accused was a gunman in pepsu Roadways transport corporation at Kapurthala and on the same company he robbed and an assistant cashier with giving some injury to their body and also after robbed they wrongfully confined that cashier and abscond the place afterwards the police reach the accused and he was arrested and convicted for offences Under section 390 and 397 IPC.

Harish Chandra v. State of Uttar Pradesh [3]

In this case, the accused and co-accused goes to a train with intention to commit theft and at the time, the train was stopping by taking the advantage of Crowd they mashed up with the victim and take their wristwatch and co-accused was also slapped the victim. The court was held that the accused was committed the offence of theft with hurt and this can make that the accused is committed the offence under section 390 of IPC.


Dacoity is defined under section 391 of IPC. According to it when a robbery is conjointly committed or attempt to commit by the five persons or more in the number of persons present and aiding such attempt or commission is five in number or more. Then all such persons whether committing, attempting or aiding the offence of robbery, is said to commit the offence of “dacoity” under this section.

Illustration: In a house five-person trying to trespassing in order to commit robbery and they all help each other by the different way like someone open the lock another one sees that no one is coming from outside at this point of time they all committed the offence defining under this section, No matter they robbed the house or not attempt to commit robbery co-jointly or aiding the robbers with five or more person also the offence of dacoity.

Punishment for Dacoity

The punishment of dacoity is covered under section 395 of IPC under which Whoever commits the offence of dacoity shall be punished with life imprisonment, or with rigorous impris­onment for a term up to ten years and shall also be liable to fine.

Case laws

Ram Shanker Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh [4]

In this case, six-person charged with dacoity out of this three was acquitted due to the reason that it does not prove in court that it can be part of other three then, the court held that there is no proper evidence to proof other three be a part of dacoity so they were only convicted of the offence of robbery only under section 392, not for dacoity.

Raju v. State of Uttaranchal [5]

Supreme court held that a minimum of five-person is an essential ingredient of the offence of dacoity. And, a person cannot convict under section 395 and 396 if they do not fulfil that requirement of the number of person minimum is five in this offence.

Shyam Behari v. State of UP [6]

In this case, the accused with co-accused enter the house with the intention of dacoity but their attempt fails due to some circumstances and at that time their information is going to the owner of the house and neighbours or villagers come at the scene and the dacoits were running without taking anything one of the dacoits was cached but another was shotgunned to a villager and he died S.C, held the transaction of dacoity is complete when dacoits were running back without taking anything and this was not a case of dacoity with murder but the only case of murder under section 302 IPC.

[1] 1997(1) BOM CRLJ 362.

[2] 1993 SC 91.

[3] 1976 CrLJ 1168 (SC).

[4] 1956 SC 441.

[5] 2008 SC 3248.

[6] 1957 SC 320.

Ideal Institute of Management and Technology affiliated to GGSIPU/ 2nd Year/ Law Student

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