DACOITY UNDER IPC
According to the Oxford Dictionary, Dacoity means – an act of violent robbery committed by an armed gang. There is no difference between robbery and dacoity except in the number of offenders. Robbery is dacoity, if the persons committing robbery are five or more in number. In Malaysia and Singapore dacoity is termed as ‘gang robbery‘. The offence of dacoity consists in the cooperation of five or more persons to commit or attempt to commit robbery. It is necessary that all the persons should share the common intention of committing robbery.1
On a plain reading of Section 391, IPC it would appear that in order that a dacoity can be said to have been committed, it is necessary that five or more persons conjointly commit a robbery or attempt to commit robbery. If a robbery was committed, the dacoits would have the booty with them, but if the matter rested only with an attempt to commit a robbery there would be no question of the dacoits having any booty with them.2
There are three ingredients in Dacoity:
- The accused commit or attempt to commit robbery;
- Persons committing or attempting to commit robbery and persons present and aiding must not be less than five;
- All such persons should act conjointly.
The word conjointly refers to united or concerted action of five or more persons participating in the act of committing the offence. In other words, five or more persons should be concerned in the commission of the offence and they should commit or attempt to commit robbery.
Indian Penal Code
Section 391. Dacoity.- When five or more persons conjointly commit or attempt to commit a robbery, or where the whole number of persons conjointly committing or attempting to commit a robbery, and persons present and aiding such commission or attempt, amount to five or more, every person so committing, attempting or aiding, is said to commit” dacoity”. Section 395. Punishment for dacoity. Whoever commits dacoity shall be punished with 1[imprisonment for life], or with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Section 396. Dacoity with murder.- If any one of five or more persons, who are conjointly committing dacoity, commits murder in so committing dacoity, every one of those persons shall be punished with death, or 1[ imprisonment for life], or rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Section 397. Robbery or dacoity, with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt.- If, at the time of committing robbery or dacoity, the offender uses any deadly weapon, or causes grievous hurt to any person, so attempts to cause death or grievous hurt to any person, the imprisonment with which such offender shall be punished shall not be less than seven years.
Section 398. Attempt to commit robbery or dacoity when armed with deadly weapon.- If, at the time of attempting to commit robbery or dacoity, the offender is armed with any deadly weapon, the imprisonment with which such offender shall be punished shall not be less than seven years.
Section 399. Making preparation to commit dacoity.- Whoever makes any preparation for committing dacoity, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Section 402. Assembling for purpose of committing dacoity.- Whoever, at any time after the passing of this Act, shall be one of five or more persons assembled for the purpose of committing dacoity, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.
1) Shyam Behari vs. State Of Uttar Pradesh3
FACTS: The appellant had been charged inter alia with having committed an offence under Section 396, Indian Penal Code, along with other persons committed dacoity in the house of Mendai and that in the commission of such dacoity, murder was committed by one of the members. The learned Sessions Judge found that the appellant, and others, had entered the house of Mendai with intent to commit a robbery but were foiled in the attempt owing to Mendai and Ganga having raised a hue and cry. The residents of Banni Purwa and the adjoining “Abadi” of village Banni arrived on the scene and the appellant and his companions, without collecting any booty, ran away from the house of Mendai. They were chased by Mendai and Ganga and when they were crossing the ditch of Pipra Farm, Mendai caught hold of one dacoit. Another dacoit who was identified by several witnesses as the appellant thereupon fired a pistol shot which hit Mendai and Mendai fell to the ground and was removed to the hospital where he died. The appellant shot and killed Mendai to secure the release of one of his companions and also to ensure their safe retreat.
The appeal of the appellants was dismissed by the High Court and the death sentence passed by the Learned Sessions Judge was confirmed upon them.
2) Satya Narain Choube vs. State Of Madhya Pradesh4
FACTS: It has been has found that these accused along with others (total 5 or more), committed dacoity in the house of Babulal. The dacoits exploded Bombs in the house beat the inmates of the house including ladies and looted them of their cash, ornaments and utensils. When the neighbours came to help the inmates of the house, on their hue and cry, the dacoits threw Bombs and one Bomb exploded at Chhedilal neighbour, who died as a result of this explosion and resultant injuries. The trial Court found that though the identity of other dacoits could not be established and they could not be arrested, yet they were more than 5 dacoits in all who participated in this dacoity.
3) The State vs Sadhu Singh and Ors.5
FACTS: The four accused as well as one Kurda Singh five in all, armed with deadly weapons such as a rifle and a pistol committed a dacoity at the house of Gharsiram in the course of which they caused injuries to Gharsiram Jugalkishore, Basantilal and Sandal. They also relieved Santlal of a wrist watch and a shawl which he was carrying on his person but since there was a hue and cry which had attracted the attention of the villagers who collected at the spot the dacoits were not able to take away any booty with them However, when the dacoits were retreating, they were given a hot chase by the villagers and in order to have a safe retreat, one of the dacoits is alleged to have fired a shot as a result of which Dharma died. But the brave villagers also succeeded in capturing one of the dacoits.
LAW: They were charged under Section 395 of the Indian Penal Code.
4) B. Shankar and Ors. vs. State Of A.P., Rep. By Its Public6
FACTS: It is the case of the prosecution that the accused went to Kalamadugu village in a jeep armed with knives and sticks and stopped the same in front of the house. They wanted to the owner to open the door by declaring that they are Police and came to verify whether PW.2 was providing any food to the Naxalites. The owner opened the door. Four of the accused dragged him towards the Jeep and threatened him to hand over the golden ornaments. When he did not comply with the same, they went into the house, searched his Kirana shop, threatened his wife and took away the golden ornaments weighing about 50 grams, a wrist watch and other items worth about Rs.17,5000/-. At each of the houses, they have committed similar dacoity by threatening the inmates of the houses. A night halt bus of APSRTC was parked near the Gram Panchayat Office. They threatened the Conductor who was sleeping therein and took away the cash of Rs.567/-. Complaint was submitted in the morning.
LAW: The accused were charged on Section 394 and punished under Section 395 of the Indian Penal Code.
5) Mohammad Israel vs. State Of Bihar7
FACTS: The informant Md. Enamul Haque was at his house and was teaching the children. In the meantime, some dacoits, who had covered their faces entered into his house. Tarannum Ara, who happens to be the informant’s daughter, was cooking food inside the house at that time. Seeing one of the dacoits, she railed halla that a mad man had entered into the house, whereupon, the man told her that he and his associates were dacoits. Simultaneously, 7-8 other dacoits entered into the house. 4-5 dacoits surrounded the informant and remaining dacoits started taking out the articles. The dacoits picked up a double barrel gun belonging to the informant and snatched ornaments from his wife and daughters. Thereafter, all the dacoits fled away. It is said that the informant’s daughter Tarannum Ara identified one of the dacoits, who had pistol in his hand and had covered his face. He was Mohammad Israel, son-in-law of her neighbour Yusuf Mian. The informant also claimed to have identified him while he was running away. The informant gave the description of other dacoits and claimed to identify them in the light of the lantern and debris. On halla, several persons of the locality reached at the house of the informant and saw the dacoits running away. It is said that the dacoits also exploded 4-5 bombs to terrorise the villagers due to which the villagers could not chase the dacoits and the dacoits succeeded in fleeing away with the looted gun as well as ornaments.
6) Abdul Kalam vs. State Of Rajasthan8
FACTS: In the night when Vishwas and his wife Renu Jain were sleeping in their house, five persons entered the house and tied their servant Chaturbhuj who was sleeping in the basement of the house. Thereafter, the accused also tied the mouth, hands and legs of Vishwas Jain and his wife Renu and then bolted them inside the bathroom and having threatened them at the point of pistol and knife; the accused looted the gold and silver ornaments, coins and cash. The miscreants stayed in their house for about an hour. Complainant Vishwas managed to come out of the bathroom through a window and then telephonically informed the police personnel of Police Station, Malviya Nagar, Jaipur. On receiving the information, the police party reached the house of complainant, where complainant submitted a written report, whereupon a case for offence under Section 395 IPC was registered.
7) Abul Mian & Ors. vs. State of Jharkhand9
FACTS: Hatim Ansari (deceased) was sleeping in his house along with his wife. He woke up by the sound of jumping of somebody in his house by scaling boundary wall. The person who trespassed opened the door from inside. The appellants and other entered into the house and demanded keys of the box that contained money. When the key was not given to them, they threw a bomb in front of the appellant which hit him right in the stomach above waist resulting in injuries. Therefore the wife handed over the keys. They assaulted the appellant and his wife with lathis and were asking about old money and ornaments. The informant died during treatment after 7 days of the incident.
LAW: Section 396 of the Indian Penal Code was applicable as it was a dacoity with murder.
8. Arjun Ganpat Sandbhor vs. State of Maharashtra10
FACTS: The driver of a truck was killed and the truck was taken away by the dacoits. This incident took place in the darkness. The Evidence of son of deceased, who was in the truck at time of the incident, is not free from doubt. He is categorically admitted that he used to have forgetting tendency at time of incident. Test identification parade was not held according to guidelines prescribed under Criminal Manual. In the view of totality of the evidence accused was entitled to acquittal.
LAW: Section 391 of the Indian Penal Code is applicable here.
9. Md Imamuddin & Anr. vs. State of Bihar11
FACTS: The plea was to reduce the punishment for dacoity. Some were accused to commit dacoity in a running train. They were sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 7 years and 2 years for respective offences. The accused have remained in custody for substantial amount of time, about 50 per cent of the punishment. Their punishment was reduced to half and which they have already passed the time in imprisonment.
LAW: Section 391 was applicable on them.
10. Raman Lakha vs. State Of Gujarat12
FACTS: the complainant Gagabhai Lakhabhai Chauhan resided at village Ghodasar, Near Mahi Canal, with his family. Near his house, three more houses of his brothers were also situated. His three brothers were convicted for riot cases. They were thus in Vadodara jail. Late at night at about 10 clock, he heard a scorching sound of a car outside his house. He woke up and went out to answer the nature‘s call at which time, about 10 people came out from the said car. They first asked for water. After 3 or 4 of them had water, they accused the complainant of being involved in dealing in charas and ganja and demanded to search his house. They took away cash and valuables, such as ornaments from his house as also his television set. They thereafter, went to the houses of the brothers of the complainant and similarly took away valuable articles. The accused were not immediately arrested. On 2.6.2009, five of them, that is, barring accused No.5 were found loitering in suspicious circumstances. They were detained for questioning. They were arrested on the suspicion of being involved in several offences, including the present one. Test identification parades were carried out. They were identified by several witnesses.
LAW: Section 391 of the Indian Penal Code was applicable on them.
1. Om Prakash vs. State, AIR 1956 All 163
2. Shyam Bihari vs. State of Uttar Pradesh, AIR 1957 SC320: 1957 Cr LJ 416
3. AIR 1957 sc 320
4. 1999 (1) MPLJ 478
5. 1972 WLN 677
6. 2003 Cri LJ 2242
7. 2008 Cri LJ
8. 14 March,2008 Appeal (Crl.) 489 of 2008
9. 2012 Cri LJ 883
10. 2012 Cri LJ 2974
11. 2013 Cri LJ 269
12. 10 October, 2013
The High Court of Gujarat at Ahmadabad.