If, at the time of committing robbery or dacoity, the offender uses any deadly weapon, or causes grievous hurt to any person, or attempts to cause death or grievous hurt to any person, the imprisonment with which such offender shall be punished shall not be less than seven years.
CLASSIFICATION OF OFFENCE
Punishment—Rigorous imprisonment for not less than 7 years—Cognizable—Non-bailable—Triable by Court of Session—Non-compoundable.
(i) There can be no quarrel that knife is a deadly weapon within the meaning of section 397; State of Maharashtra v. Vinayak Tukaram Utekar, (1997) 2 Crimes 615 (Bom).
(ii) An act would only fall within the mischief of this section if at the time of committing robbery or dacoity the offender—
(a) uses any deadly weapon; or
(b) causes grievous hurt to any person; or
(c) attempts to cause death or grievous hurt to any person; Shravan Dashrath Datrange v. State of Maharashtra, (1997) 2 Crimes 47 (Bom).
Purport behind word ‘uses’
What is essential to satisfy the word “uses” for the purposes of section 397, I.P.C. is the robbery being committed by an offender who was armed with a deadly weapon which was within the vision of the victim so as to be capable of creating a terror in the mind of victim and not that it should be further shown to have been actually used for cutting, stabbing, shooting, as the case may be; Ashfaq v. State (Government of NCT of Delhi), AIR 2004 SC 1253.
Recovery of weapon
When identification of articles alleged to have been recovered from accused is not properly proved nor victim could identify accused in identification parade or in court accused cannot be convicted under section 397; Bhurekhan v. State of Madhya Pradesh, AIR 1982 SC 948: (1982) Cr LJ 818: (1982) 1 SCC 174: (1982) SCC (Cr) 128.