Difference between Robbery and Dacoity

Although they may appear similar in common usage, they are two distinct crimes under criminal law. What exactly is the legal meaning of robbery and dacoity? What are the requirements for a criminal act to be classified as a robbery or a dacoity? What is the distinction between robbery and dacoity? What are the punishments for these crimes under the Indian Penal Code? When you read the title, these thoughts may arise. This blog will attempt to answer these questions as thoroughly as possible.


Robbery is a particular and intensified kind of theft or extortion that implies felonious stealing from the person of another or in his presence against his will, by violence or putting him in terror, and it becomes Dacoity when five or more people co-jointly do it.

When theft becomes robbery— Theft is “robbery” if, in order to commit the theft, or in committing the theft, or in carrying away or attempting to carry away property obtained by the theft, the offender voluntarily causes or attempts to cause death, hurt, or wrongful restraint to any person, or fear of instant death, hurt, or wrongful restraint.

When extortion becomes robbery.— Extortion is “robbery” if the offender is in the presence of the person put in fear at the time of committing the extortion, and commits the extortion by putting that person in fear of instant death, instant hurt, or instant wrongful restraint to that person or to some other person, and induces the person so put in fear then and there to deliver up the thing extorted.


(a) A restrains Z and steals Z’s money and diamonds from Z’s clothing without Z’s consent. In this case, A has committed theft and, in order to perpetrate that theft, has voluntarily restrained Z. As a result, A has committed robbery.

(b) A encounters Z on the high roads, brandishes a gun, and demands Z’s pocketbook. As a result, Z gives over his purse. Here, A has extorted the purse from Z by placing him in fear of immediate harm and conducting the extortion in his presence. As a result, A has committed robbery.

(c) On the highway, A encounters Z and Z’s child. A seizes the child and threatens to throw it down a cliff unless Z returns his purse. As a result, Z hands up his purse. Here, A has extorted the money from Z by making Z fearful of inflicting immediate harm to the kid who is present. As a result, A has committed robbery on Z.


When five or more people co-jointly commit or attempt to commit a robbery, or when the total number of people co-jointly committed or attempting to commit a robbery, as well as those present and aiding such commission or attempt, totals five or more, each person committing, attempting, or aiding is said to commit Dacoity.

In the case of Poolan Devi vs. State of Madhya Pradesh, Smt. Phoolan Devi has been in jail since February 12, 1983, when she claims to have willingly surrendered in the State of Madhya Pradesh despite having a criminal record. On this premise, it is argued that the petitioner’s custody for eleven years is sufficient to fulfil the criteria, and that all prosecutions pending against her in Uttar Pradesh courts should be dismissed. According to the petitioner, she is facing around 55 criminal trials in Uttar Pradesh courts for allegedly committing horrific crimes such as dacoity and murder.

Points of Difference between Robbery and Dacoity 

Robbery and Dacoity can be differentiated on the basis of various grounds:


Robbery has been defined in Section 390 of IPC and Dacoity has been defined in Section 391 of IPC.

Essential Ingredients:

Essential ingredients of the offence of Robbery are as follows:

  • Theft as described in Section 378.
  • The offender caused or tried to cause the following to certain people: fear of death, bodily harm, or wrongful restraint.
  • Fear of sudden death, instant harm, or instant unlawful restraint.
  • The offender did not do such an act.
  • In order to commit theft.
  • While committing the theft.
  • In taking or attempting to take away the goods.

Essential ingredients of the offence of Dacoity are as follow:-

  • The accused commits or attempts robbery;
  • The number of people committing or attempting to commit robbery, as well as those present and assisting, must not be less than five.
  • All of these people should work together.

Note: The term “conjointly” refers to a coordinated or concerted action by five or more people in the act of committing the offence. In other words, five or more people must be involved in the commission of the crime and must commit or attempt to commit robbery.

Number Of Persons:

In Robbery the number of persons are less than five. It may be committed by a single person.

In Dacoity, the number of persons are five or more.


Robbery is less serious in nature.

Dacoity is more serious offence than robbery because of the terror caused by the presence number of offenders.

Position of Abettors:

In Robbery, the abettors are liable independently.

In Dacoity abettors who are present and aiding when the crime is committed are counted in the number.

Jurisdiction of Court

In case of robbery, the offence is cognizable, non-bailable, non-compoundable and triable by Magistrate of the first class.

In case of dacoity the offence is cognizable, non-bailable, non-compoundable and triable by Court of Session.


Whoever commits robbery shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three years, nor more than ten years and shall also be liable to fine.

Whoever commits dacoity shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with rigorous impris­onment for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

In the case of Ashfaq vs State, the Supreme Court ruled that weapon with which the offender is armed is a deadly weapon within the meaning of this section, if it is within the vision of the victim and is capable of creating terror in the mind of victim. It is also sufficient to satisfy the word ‘uses’ for the purpose of section 397 IPC.

Position In Highway:

If robbery is committed on the highway, the imprisonment may be extended to fourteen years.

The fact that the Dacoity is committed on the highway does not change the position or punishment. 


To summarise, the concept of robbery requires an accused to have the purpose to deprive another person of property from the start, and to that goal, either harm is caused or a person is placed. Under improper constraint, or it must be proven that the victim was put in immediate danger of death, bodily harm, or wrongful detention when the same conduct is committed by five or more severe offenders.

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