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Explaining Dacoity Under Indian Penal Code

Updated: Jan 18


According to the Oxford dictionary, dacoity means an act of violent robbery which is committed by an armed gang. The only difference between dacoity and robbery is the number of offenders. A single person or more than one person also can commit a robbery. But when five or more than five persons commit a robbery it is termed as dacoity.

This article gives an overview of the concept of dacoity according to the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

What is dacoity under the Indian Penal Code?

According to sec 391 of IPC “When five or more persons conjointly commit or attempt to commit robbery other the whole number of persons conjointly committing or attempting to commit 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”.

Dacoity is nothing but a Robbery committed by five or more persons. The total number of persons involved at whatever level, either as the main wrongdoer or as an abettor, shall be five. They should be involved either in committing, attempting to commit or in aiding the commission of the robbery.

There are three major essential to commit dacoity ;

1. There should be a commission or attempt to commit robbery

2. Persons committing or attempting to commit robbery must not be less than five.

3. The persons should act ‘Conjointly’.

The word ‘conjointly’ refers to the united action of five or more persons participating in the act of

committing the dacoity. According to section 398 of the Indian Penal Code “If, at the time of attempting to commit robbery or dacoity, the offender is armed with any deadly weapon, the imprisonment with which such an offender shall be punished shall not be less than seven years.” Dacoity is cognizable, non-bailable, and non- compoundable. In IPC, dacoity is the only offence that is punishable under all four stages of crime i.e. assembling for dacoity, preparation of dacoity, attempt to commit dacoity, and commission of dacoity. Punishment of dacoity is defined under section 395 of IPC that “a person who commits dacoity shall be published by the imprisonment for life or with rigorous punishment for a term which can be extended up to 10 years and liable to pay a fine”. If an offender murders while committing dacoity, all the offenders will collectively be liable to a death sentence. 

Case Laws related to Dacoity

In the case of Gurajala Ramesh and Ors .v. State of Andhra Pradesh, there were six-person who boarded a lorry around 2:30 a.m. by paying 5 Rs each and by the time it reached Ulavapalla, on the National Highway, the accused demanded the Cleaner to stop the lorry, while one accused pointed out a knife at the Driver, and the second accused pointed out a knife at the Cleaner and threatened to kill them if they failed to part with their valuables, etc. Later, the accused people

took their valuables under the threat, and on the Driver and Cleaner raising alarm, the patrolling police, including the Inspector of Police, surrounded the lorry, arrested the accused, seized the knives, and, later, registered a crime against the accused. After due investigation, filed the charge-sheet against them under section 398 of IPC. After all trials, all the six accused were punished by imprisonment under section 398 of IPC.

In the case of Matin .v. State, Vijay Vats, along with Constable - Balbir, Constable - Satender, and Constable Mohan were present at Regal Cinema. While they were checking the buses at around 3:40 PM, they noticed one person was being dragged by some persons towards Parking. On seeing the police, those people started to run away from there but they were eventually caught. The person who was been dragged made a statement that he cane to the New Delhi Railway Station in connection with his work and boarded a bus to Nangloi, after completion of his work. At the Regal Cinema red light, some boys named Ashfaq, Mohabbat, Sabu, and Matin boarded the bus. While the accused Ashfaq and Mohabbat stood before him, accused Sabbu and Matin stood behind him and on fear of getting his money confiscated from his pocket, he got down from the bus. All the four accused started to follow him and attempted to snatch his belongings by dragging him towards the Palika parking. On raising alarm, accused Matin (appellant) took out a knife to threaten him and in the meantime, police officials came there and overpowered the accused ones. On this statement, HC Vinay Vats prepared a pukka and got the case registered. Accused persons got arrested and a button actuated knife was recovered from accused Matin while blades were recovered from remaining accused. After completing the investigation, a charge-sheet was submitted against all of them. Charge for an offence under section 393 IPC was framed against all the four accused. Additionally, accused Matin was charged under section 398 to get punished for 5 years imprisonment and a fine of Rs.2000 each.

In the case of  Ashfaq .v. State (Govt. Of Nct Of Delhi), the Supreme Court ruled that weapon that the offender carried was a deadly weapon within the meaning of this section if it is within the vision of the victim and is capable of creating an apprehension in the mind of the victim. It is also sufficient to satisfy the word ‘uses’ for section 397 IPC and as per section 398 of IP, he was liable to get punished for seven years.

The connection between Robbery and Dacoity-Conclusion

There is an interlink between Robbery and dacoity. Robbery will bring instant fear or apprehension where some threat will be present, whereas Dacoity plans on the murder and stealing ornaments. Five or more person is essential to commit dacoity but robbery can be done by any individual. The punishment system in India seems to be imperfect. It has to be altered or amended as early as possible to stop this kind of heinous crime in which sometimes murder may also happen.


Raj Singh is currently pursuing Law from Alliance University, Bangalore.

They can be contacted at raj.singh.031999@gmail.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/raj-singh-8a4a4b1a4

Edited By: Swathi. Ashok. Nair.


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