Introduction to Section 506 IPC
Section 506 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) deals with the punishment when the accused has committed the offense of criminal intimidation. Criminal intimidation has been defined under Section 503 IPC. The offense of criminal intimidation constitutes the threat of injury to a person’s person, reputation or property or to another person’s person, reputation or property in which that person is interested with the intention to cause alarm or cause him to do an act which he is not legally bound to do.
Section 506 – Punishment for Criminal Intimidation – Whoever commits, the offense 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 offense punishable with death or imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years, or to impute unchastity 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.
At first reading of Section 506, it can be seen that the punishment prescribed in this section falls in two categories:
- In simple cases of criminal intimidation, the punishment is imprisonment for a term up to two years or fine or both.
- If the threat be to cause death of the threatened person, or grievous hurt, or destruction of property by fire, or to cause an offense to be committed which is punishable with death or life imprisonment or with imprisonment for a term up to seven years, or to impute unchastity to a woman; then the prescribed punishment is simple or rigorous imprisonment for a term up to seven years or fine or both.
Part II deals with more graver forms of criminal intimidation, and in that sense, requires a higher threshold to be brought into play. To warrant Part II of the section, it is necessary for the prosecution to prove that the threat to cause death or grievous hurt was accompanied by some act of the accused in pursuance of the threat.
In the case of Rajinder Datt v State of Haryana, it was held that mere outburst of the accused at the time of the assault that he will kill the injured, will not attract Section 506. This is particularly so when the injuries caused are not grievous and are not caused to any vital part of the body of the injured.
In Keshav Baliram Naik v State of Maharashtra, the accused was alleged to have touched the hand of the prosecutrix, a blind girl, when she was asleep, removed the quilt and put his hand in her dress. He threatened to kill her if she disclosed his name. However, the prosecutrix shouted due to which her parents woke up. The High Court convicted the accused.
In the case of Ghanshyam v State of Madhya Pradesh, which also involved entering a house by the accused in the night armed with a knife, and threatening the inmates with death, the conviction under Section 506 Part II was held applicable and proper.
Where criminal intimidation was committed by threatening X and his daughter with injury to their reputation by having the indecent photographs of the daughter published, the appellant was held guilty of criminal intimidation. The intent was to cause alarm to X and his daughter.
In the case of Manik Taneja and Anr v State of Karnataka, the appellant and his wife met with an auto-rickshaw accident. They paid all the hospital expenses of the injured and met the Constable present at the time of the accident who they allege behaved with them in a rude manner. Thereafter, they posted comments on the Bangalore Traffic Police Page on Facebook, about the officer’s misbehavior. Their conviction was set aside as it was said that this act cannot constitute as one that would make up the offense of criminal intimidation.
Classification Of Offence
To conclude, the punishment for criminal intimidation is duly given. The standard for ascertaining the offense of criminal intimidation is that of a reasonable person and hence, prevents any discrepancy or ambiguity in the law. The Supreme Court has applied the substance of this offense without vagueness. This can be seen through the various judgments discussed above. The standard of a reasonable person is that standard defining how a person should behave when placed in similar situation and circumstances. Punishment for criminal intimidation will only be attracted when the accused does not adhere to this standard of accepted behavior in society.
 (1993) Cr LJ 1025 (P&H)
 (1996) Cr LJ 1111 (Bom)
 Romesh Chandra v State, AIR 1960 SC 154
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