What are Criminal Intimidation, insult, and annoyance under IPC 1860?

What are Criminal Intimidation, insult, and annoyance under IPC 1860


All types of criminal activities related to physical or mental are covered under the Indian Penal Code,1860. Among these activities, some offenses physically do not affect a person. However, they are considered punishable. For example, Criminal Intimidation, insult, and an offense are described under Chapter 22 of the said Act. Sections 503 and 510 involve offenses that directly fall into criminal Intimidation. There are specific ways for the offender to commit that offense. This article discusses the meaning of criminal Intimidation, the essential ingredients of criminal Intimidation, and the punishment for criminal Intimidation.

What is Criminal Intimidation?

The Indian Penal Code,1860, under section 503, defines the meaning of Criminal Intimidation. As per the essential requirement of this offense, we can say that The offender must make the threat to cause harm to the victim. And that intention must have resulted as cause for harm to the victim or any other person the victim is interested in.

That intention must be clear and exist in the mind of the offender. It doesn’t matter whether he could execute or not. If that intention is missing, there is no offense under this section.

Ingredients of Criminal Intimidation

Criminal Intimidation is a criminal offense defined under the Indian Penal Code,1860, under Section 503. According to that section, a person intending to commit a crime intentionally threatens another person with the fear of harm to him, property, or reputation. Or he is planning to act forcefully with an individual who is not legally correct. Here, the offender who tries to threaten an individual is known as an intimidator. To fulfill the offense of criminal Intimidation under section 503, there are some ingredients must be required that are given below;

The threat caused to injury of the victim

  • The threat must cause injury or harm to the victim’s body, reputation, or property.
  • The threat must cause harm or injury to that person, reputation, or property of any person directly related to the victim or in whom the victim is interested.

Intention for the harm or injury to the victim

  • A Threat with intent to alarm the victim.
  • To commit an act is against the law to escape the threat.
  • To omit an act required by the law to escape the threat.

The mention above mentions both ingredients must be fulfilled entirely for this offense. In case of their absence, the accused may not be charged under this section against the accused.

For example, if an accused does not threaten any person to harm him, in that case, we cannot call it an offense of Intimidation. Similarly, if an accused harms a person without threatening him in that situation, section 503 will not apply. However, an accused will be charged with other offenses, which may apply according to the Indian Penal Code.

Punishment for Criminal Intimidation

The Indian Penal Code,1860, under Section 506, deals with the punishment of offenses covered under Criminal Intimidation. It is divided into two categories.

Simple punishment under the offense

Suppose any person is found guilty of an offense covered under section 503 of the IPC. Then, the accused may be punished with imprisonment for up to 2 years and a fine, or both. The court can impose this type of punishment when the threat does not gravely fall. This kind of crime treats nature as non-cognizable, that is compoundable and bailable.

Punishment for the offence of causing death or grievous hurt

The offender can meet greater punishment if the court finds that he threatens the victim with severe consequences. Suppose the accused is found guilty of causing grievous hurt, death of victim, or destruction of the property under this Act. Then, the imprisonment for that offense may extend to 7 years. And if the accused involved such kind of offense as to threaten to attribute the purity of a woman. Then, his imprisonment may be extended up to 7 years and can also include a fine—this kind of crime is treated as a nature of non-cognizable, which is non-compoundable and bailable.

Intentional insult and provoking breach of peace

The Indian penal code, 1860, under section 504, deals with intentional insults. That is known as another form of intimidation. In this form of intimidation, there is no need for intention to cause harm, and the threat is not necessarily required, like section 503 of IPC.

This section will apply when anyone intentionally insults someone using abusive words or language and provokes him. Here, the act is done by an offender with his knowledge that the provocation may result in causing the victim to disturb the public peace or may cause him to commit some offense. This offense is punishable with imprisonment up to 2 years with a fine or, in some cases, without a fine.

Criminal Intimidation by Anonymous Communication

After discussing the above provision of section 503 and the ingredients of that offense, we can say that the offender must have committed the crime to cause specific injury or harm to the victim. In that way, the threat must be effected to the victim’s mind. In short, we can say that the communication of the cause must happen. There is no criminal intimidation if the intention is missing in the reason for injury.

Such threat communication may vary in different modes or forms; it may happen either in terms of oral, written, or, in some cases, by acts. This essential requirement must be completed in case of threat alarms to the victim. The threat caused by physical injury is not a requirement in an offense of criminal Intimidation.

For a better understanding, let’s see an example: a person can take an obscene photograph of a woman and, using a blackmail trick, threaten her to give him money or any other unwanted demand. Otherwise, he will upload that picture online. This threat is not a physical injury for a woman; however, still, that is Intimidation as it directly affects the woman’s reputation.

As we refer to the provision of section 507 of the Act, there is mention that when the accused commits an offense of criminal Intimidation through some way, anonymous communication, or tries to hide his identity. He shall be punished with imprisonment for his crime, in terms of description that may extend to 2 years.


The main aim of the Indian Penal Code is to establish a legal system that punishes an offender for his offense. That law defines different provisions for punishment for a particular crime. Criminal Intimidation is also among them, which is a threat to a severe offense in society. As per this Act, if an offender tries to threaten a person to injure his body, reputation, or property. ( or another person in whom the victim has vested his interest ), such offense is criminal Intimidation, which may become punishable according to the law.


(1) Section 503 of The Indian Penal Code

(2) The Indian penal code, 1860, under section 504

(3) Section 506 of The Indian Penal Code

(4 )Section 507 of The Indian Penal Code

Also Read:

The Concept Of Theories Of Punishment

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