The research is based on Criminal intimidation, insult and annoyance in India.
It will include the essentials for the mentioned crime, legal provisions,
punishment, development through case laws and their non- exhaustiveness with in
current social and economical scenario in India. In the first section of
research, the author will be broadly dealing with legal provisions related to
mentioned crime and discuss their relevance and exhaustiveness in India.
Further, the author suggests amendments that can be done by parliament to make
the discussed provisions more oriented and with a purpose to serve people of
India rather than being an act based on colonial attitude of British to rule
India. Also, growing technology, growing society and with that growing crimes
have outgrown provisions related to these crimes.
Relevant Legal Provisions In IPC For Criminal Intimidation, Insult And Annoyance
The substantive law governing criminal activities in India is Indian Penal code
The provisions related to Criminal intimidation, Insult and Annoyance (herein
referred as CIIA) has been dealt in chapter XXII of Code consisting of section
503-510. The chapter broadly describes five types of offenses.
To make one penalize for criminal intimidation the following two essentials must
- Criminal intimidation [Ss. 503, 506, 507]
The offense of Criminal Intimidation is defined in section 503 of IPC. The
Provisions states that any person who threaten another person on bellow
mentioned grounds is liable for criminal intimidation:
- Threatens injury to his person
- Threatens injury to his reputation
- Threatens injury to his property
- Threatens injury to the person or reputation of anyone in whom the
person has vested interest
in order to make such person do any illegal act or omit any act he is legally
authorized to do in order to escape such fear of threat.
- There must be a fear of threat to a person's body, reputation and
possession or to whom he is most concerned.
- The nature of fear of threat should be caused with the intention to
abstain or to perform certain activities to avoid such threats.
However the supreme court in the case of Vikram Johar vs. State of Uttar Pradesh
has observed that the mere act of abusing a person in a filthy language
does not satisfy the essential ingredients of the offence of criminal
intimidation. And in the case of Amitabh Adhar vs. NCT of Delhi (2000)
, it was
held that a mere threat does not amount to criminal intimidation. There must be
an intention to cause alarm to the person threatened.
Punishment Of Criminal Intimidation
Section 506 contains the punishment for criminal intimidation. It has divided
the punishment on broad two classifications.
- Simple cases of criminal intimidation
Punishment- imprisonment for a period which may extend to two years, or a fine,
Classification of offense- non-cognizable, bailable and compoundable offence.
Triable by – any magistrate
- If the threat is to cause:
death or grievous hurt; destruction of any property by fire; to cause an
offence to be committed which is punishable with imprisonment up to a term
of seven years, life imprisonment or death; to attribute unchastity to a woman.
Punishment- the prescribed punishment is simple or rigorous imprisonment for a
term extending to seven years; or a fine; or both.
Classification of offense- non-cognizable, bailable and non-compoundable
Triable by- Magistrate of the First Class
Anonymous Chatter [ Section 507]
Section 507 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 is an aggravated form of
intimidation. This section covers instances wherein the intimidator commits the
offence anonymously. This section states that whoever indulges into the act of
criminal intimidation by anonymous communication or takes precautions to conceal
his identity or abode, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend up
to two years. This punishment is in addition to the punishment provided for the
offence under Section 506 of the IPC, 1860.
Classification of offense - Bailable, non-cognizable and non-compoundable.
Triable by- Magistrate of the First Class
2. Intentional Insult [Ss. 504 And 509]
Such offense has been classified in two types
- Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace
The provision states that any person who intentionally insults and as a
consequence provokes any person, intending or knowing, that it is likely that
such provocation will induce the person to break the public peace or indulge
into the commission of some other offence, then such person shall be punished
with imprisonment which may extend up to two years; or with fine; or both.
Classification of the offence: Non-cognizable, bailable and compoundable by the
Triable by: Any Magistrate
Also, in case of Ramesh Kumar vs. Smt. Sushila Srivastava (1996), the Rajasthan
High Court held that the manner in which the accused addressed the complainant
was prima facie such that it depicts that the person was insulted and provoked.
The term 'insult' means to either treat with offensive disrespect or to offer an
indignity to the person. The inference has to be drawn not solely from words but
also from the tone and the manner in which they were spoken.
- Intentional insult to modesty of women [section 509]
Section 509 lays down that any phrases with the intention to insult the humility
of women, expressed in the forms of words or sounds or gestures or objects used
by any person on other women, such expressed modes of insults are heard or
witnessed or that disturbs the privacy of women that person shall be held liable
under said section.
Punishment- simple imprisonment for a period that may not extend beyond three
years and also with a fine.
Classification of offense -bailable, cognizable and compoundable by women
insulted or whose privacy was intruded, with the permission of the Court.
Triable by any magistrate
In the case of State of Punjab vs. Major Singh (1966), the offender indulged
into an act of unnatural lust. He ruptured the hymen and caused a ¾ tear inside
the vagina of a seven and a half months old female child. The Supreme Court, in
this case, held that the act of outraging the modesty of a woman was not
restricted by the age of the victim. It was also not dependent on the fact that
whether the victim knew or was conscious about the acts being performed on her.
They held that the accused had committed the offence of outraging the modesty of
a woman. Justice Bachawat held that the essence of a woman's modesty is her sex,
which a female of tender age also possesses. The crux of the issue is the
culpable intention of the offender. Justice Mudholkar stated that the reaction
of the woman is not the sole criteria to see whether an act amounts to outraging
the modesty of a woman.
- Statement which conduce public mischief [section 505]
First clause of section states that any person who makes, publishes or
circulates any statement or rumour or report with the intention
- To cause, or which is likely to cause, any officer, soldier, sailor or
airman in the Army, Navy or the Air Force of India to mutiny or otherwise
disregard or fail in his duty;
- To cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the general
public, or to any particular section of the public whereby any person may be
convinced to commit an offence against the State or against public tranquillity;
- To incite, or which is likely to incite, any class or community of
persons to commit any kind of offence against any other class or a
Punishment- imprisonment which may extend up to the duration of three years; or
with fine; or both.
Classification of the offence: Non-cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable
Triable by: Any Magistrate
- Inducing beliefs of becoming an object of divine displeasure [section
Any person deliberately attempts to cause or causes another person from
abstaining to do a legal act and threatens to do an illegal act and makes the
person trusted to induce or attempts to induce him for which if he does not
commit the task required by the wrong-doer or that person nor anyone he is
interested will be benefited on the objective of divine displeasure some acts
are done by the offender such person can be held liable under Section 508 of the
Indian Penal Code.
Dharna and Traga are prevented by this section. Such acts are performed to cause
a trust or belief in the persons to be compelled, that he's not doing a certain
work, or doing a certain work will make him an object of divine displeasure.
- Misconduct by a dunken person [section 510]
Any drunken person who is believed to be in an intoxicated state moves to a
public place or any other place where he is not allowed to enter i.e. restricted
zone or trespassed place. In such a place he causes any annoyance or disturbance
to another person located there shall be held liable under Section 510 of IPC.
Punishment- imprisonment for a period which may not be extended beyond
twenty-four hours; or with fine Rs. 10/-; or maybe with both.
Classification of offense- non-cognizable, bailable, non-compoundable
Triable by- any magistrate
Non-Exhaustiveness Of Such Provisions
The particular law was made with aim to punish such offenses, but on detailed
study of such provisions, it can be duly noted that there is urgent need of the
provisions to be more inclusive and the punishments that hold a value in
society. For example in criminal intimidation, there no provision explicitly
mentioned for intimidate to suicide
as a fear of threat. Manu such cases have
been seen in young generation lately. Another example can be the punishment for
misconduct of a drunken person,, 10 rupees practically hold no value in 21st
century India as deterrent of any crime.
With technology develops, the destruction it can cause. The social media
platforms are friendly enemies. This days the wrong-doer holds advantage over
innocent by holding personal information Strict laws are governing cybercrime
but the process is very lengthy and as time delays the mental pressure given by
wrong-doers can lead to the death of the innocent. However, intimidation,
annoyance, insult not only denotes mental hurts and also physical hurts on the
The author strongly believes that provisions related to such offense where, minor
is the victim lacks are somewhere restricted. Minors don't have enough
knowledge of law or basic reasonability to react in an appropriate way to such
crimes. They might do things under such pressure that will anyway lead to their
rest of life being subject to criminal proceedings or other social exclusion.
The definitions in consideration of minors must be expanded and specifically
oriented to cyber intimidation, insult and annoyance. Moreover, the punishment
in case of minor should be strict to aptly act as a deterrent to such easy
This chapter of IPC lacks way behind the needs of society. With evolving society
the law needs to be constantly evolving. The definitions needs to be more
inclusive and the punishment should be a deterrent in real sense. Many bills
related to amendments have been brought up in parliament but they are still
pending. It's high time the government and judiciary realizes that the scope of
law must be ever- expanding and it's time for change. Since, change can't be
brought up with a single sunrise, provisions like criminal intimidation,
annoyance and insult needs to be in the list first as many cases related to
these offenses but not explicitly included have been seen. The scope of such
provisions needs to be expanded.