The crime of extortion

The offense of extortion is codified in § 383 of the Indian Penal Code.[1] Under the IPC extortion is committed when any person intentionally puts another person into fear of any injury to them or another for the purpose of obtaining property or valuable security.[2] In the instant case the accused used the videos and photographs they produced of Sulekha to induce her to submit to further rape as well as to agree to prostitution.

There are four ingredients necessary to sustain a charge of extortion: (1) The accused must put another into fear of injury, (2) the creation of the fear must be intentional on the part of the accused, (3) the accused must induce delivery of property or valuable security, and (4) such inducement must be done dishonestly.[3] The victim in this case alleged that the accused did cause her to fear further injury. The injury alleged is both an injury to her reputation through the release of the defamatory material,[4] as well as injury to her person by causing her to be evicted from her home. These facts also provide evidence that the accused did intentionally cause this fear, and can further be inferred from the basic proposition that people in general intend their own actions. Through the use of the fear to the victim’s reputation and person the accused did induce the delivery of property or valuable security. That property or security was the promise to begin working as a prostitute for the accused Ashok.[5]

[1] IPC § 383.

[2] Id.

[3] Dhananjay v. State of Bihar 2007 Cr LJ 1440 (SC); see also Justice M.R. Mallick, Criminal Manual (Criminal Major Acts) Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), p. 176 (2009).

[4] The separate substantive offense of defamation will be discussed below.

[5] The agreement to work as a prostitute for a pimp entails pecuniary benefit to the pimp.

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