This article is written by Kashish Kundlani, a third-year student of (BBA.LL.B) Ramaiah Institute of Legal Studies, Bangalore. In this article, we’ll discuss the offences relating to wrongful restraint and wrongful confinement.
Wrongful restraint and wrongful confinement are offences related to the human body. Committing these two offences would mean that it is violative of the right of a person given in Article 19 and 21 of the Indian constitution.
Both the offences of wrongful restraint and wrongful confinement may appear to be the same but are not. A proper understanding of these two offences become a lot more necessary because the punishments for wrongful restraint is comparatively less to the punishment of wrongful confinement.
First, let us understand the meaning of restraint.
Restraint means- the action of keeping someone or something under control or, restricting someone’s personal liberty or freedom of movement. Wrongful restraint is defined in Section 339 of the Indian Penal Code. It states that whoever on purpose obstructs any person with the intent to prevent him from moving in any direction in which he has a right to move or to proceed is said to wrongfully restrain that person.
In a more simpler language- it means intentionally blocking someone’s right to move from one place to another. It is important to note that restraining someone’s right physically is not the only factor which constitutes restraint. Threats to restrain someone’s right of way to proceed will also constitute wrongful restrainment.
Wrongful restraint is a partial restraint because only a particular direction is restricted and not all the directions of a person to move is restricted.
It is not an offence under this section when a person in good faith believes himself to have a lawful right to prevent another person’s private way over land or water.
Punishment for wrongful restraint is defined under Section 341 of the Indian Penal Code as whoever wrongfully restraints someone’s right will be sentenced with either simple imprisonment which may extend to one month, a fine which may extend to ₹500, or with both.
- Purposefully or voluntarily obstructing a person.
- To prevent him to move in any direction.
- Where the person has a right to move or proceed.
- An obstruction was in bad faith.
The objective of Section 339
The object is to protect the right of a person to move freely wherever he wants to and also to protect his life and personal liberty. The obstruction of a person’s right in a bad faith is an offence and punishable under this Section.
As soon as the freedom or a right of a person to proceed in a way is obstructed, wrongful restraint takes place.
- ‘A’ intentionally builds a wall across a path in bad faith where he knows that ‘Z’ has a right to pass. As a result, ‘Z’ is prevented from passing the path. Here ‘A’ has wrongfully restrained ‘Z’s’ right to proceed.
- ‘P’ has a right to proceed in a path but is threatened by ‘M’ to proceed. If he proceeds, ‘M’ will place a wild dog in ‘P’ path. By doing this, ‘M’ has wrongfully restrained ‘P’s’ path. If ‘P’ pretends that the dog is ferocious when he is actually not and thus obstructs ‘M’s’ path, it will constitute wrongful restrainment.
Case Where there is wrongful restrainment
Facts of the case
Lallu Prasad, son of deceased Mahadeo Prasad filed an appeal to the court.
Mahadeo Prasad, the complainant alleged that Dr Shukla entered the shop and told him to vacate it due to non-payment of the rent. He refused to vacate the shop and as a result, Shukla took away the key to the lock of the door of the shop. After that, the complainant locked the door of the shop and went away to file a complaint.
On his return, he found out Shukla putting another lock at the shop. He objected to this action but Shukla did not pay any attention to it.
So the next day when the complainant came to open the shop he found Shukla standing with his two or three associates in front of the door and Shukla threatened him with serious consequences if he attempts to open the shop.
The defence argued that Shukla went into the shop to ask for the dues and he found out that the complainant was not in a state to pay the rent so he willingly handed over the key of the shop to him. And on seeing the situation of the complainant, Shukla told him to vacate.
The court decided that telling a tenant to vacate for the non-payment of the dues is a lawful act and thus, he cannot be held guilty for trespass.
The court also found out that Shukla did put his lock on the door of the shop.
It was held that Shukla, by locking the door, has wrongfully restrained the complainant to enter into the shop and found him guilty under Section 341 of the Indian Penal Code. He was charged with ₹20 fine.
The case where there is no wrongful restrainment
Among the brothers, there is one common Ejmali passage where their vehicles come and go. In the inner side, they have their garage where their vehicles are parked. The complainant parked his Fiat car inside the garage.
The complainant’s elder brother Shankarlal Sharma who is the petitioner parked his car in front by blocking the passage. Due to which the complainant was obstructed to take out his car from there.
Whether any offence under Section 339 of the Indian Penal Code has been committed by the petitioner in this case.
It was held by the court that the Ejmali passage was a common passage to be used by them and not a private passage.
Therefore, the petitioner in parking his vehicle in the passage believing it to be done in good faith and had a lawful right to do. Thus, they have not obstructed anyone’s private way.
This is explained under the exceptions of Section 339. Thus, he cannot be held guilty.
Confinement means the action of restraining or restricting someone in a place or within boundaries. Wrongful confinement is defined in Section 340 of the Indian Penal Code.
It states that whoever wrongfully restrains a person so as to prevent that person to move beyond a certain restricted limit, is said to have committed the offence of wrongful confinement.
In simpler language, it means restricting a person’s right to move within restricted limits in which he has a right to move.
Wrongful confinement is full restrainment because a person is restricted within a defined space or area.
Punishment for wrongful confinement is defined under Section 342 of the Indian Penal Code as whoever confines any person shall be sentenced to imprisonment which may either extend to one year, a fine which may extend to ₹1,000, or both.
- Without any lawful justification restraining a persons right to proceed wrongfully and completely.
- Such a restrainment should prevent a person to move beyond defined limits.
- ‘A’ deceived ‘T’ to move into a walled space. The moment ‘T’ entered, ‘A’ locks up the door in bad faith in order to confine him. Here ‘A’ has committed an offence of wrongfully confining ‘T’ within a defined wall. This is because he cannot move anywhere else beyond that place.
- ‘D’ in bad faith and with an intention to confine ‘Z’, places few men with firearms out of the building where ‘Z’ resides. He threatens him that if he attempts to move out from the building then the men will fire. Here ‘D’ has committed an offence of wrongful confinement
- ‘P’ was travelling from Delhi to Amritsar. ‘R’ asked him for a ride to a town, Sonepat which comes in between the two cities where ‘P’ was travelling. ‘P’ agreed to give him a lift to drop him in Sonepat but when they reached there ‘P’ did not stop until he reached Amritsar. Here, ‘P’ has wrongfully confined ‘R’ as he did not stop where he agreed to and also kept him within the boundary limits where he can’t move out. He committed an offence of wrongful confinement.
- Without any desire to proceed or to move, there cannot be any wrongful confinement in that case.
- If there is a consent by the person for the confinement, it cannot be said that it is wrongful confinement.
- Proof of actual physical obstruction is not essential in wrongful confinement
- In this section, the period of confinement is immaterial. The period of confinement only becomes material while giving punishments as at that time it might vary.
Facts of the case
Accused No.1 is a pimp in the brothel and accused No. 2 is a brothel keeper in Bombay.
The complainant, Vithibai was brought in this brothel and was confined by the accused. She was not allowed to move out or go anywhere. She was always supposed to be there only. There were also guards at the door to prevent her and other females to move out.
The defence argued that she had voluntarily submitted herself into prostitution and also voluntarily came to Bombay with him.
After considering the facts and evidence of the case, it was held by the court that both the accused were guilty under Section 343 of the Indian Penal Code for wrongful confinement. And will be sentenced for one-year rigorous imprisonment
Aggravated forms of Wrongful Confinement
Under this, the punishment of the crime is enhanced according to the period of confinement.
- Section 343 states that whoever wrongfully confines any person for a period of three days or more shall be punished with either imprisonment which may extend to two years, a fine, or both.
- Section 344 states that wrongful confinement for ten years or more shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years and shall be liable to pay fine.
- Section 345 states that whoever keeps any person in wrongful confinement knowingly and the writ to set him free has been duly issued, then they will be punished with imprisonment which may extend to two years in addition to the imprisonment in which he may be liable for such wrongful confinement.
- Section 346 states that whoever wrongfully confines a person and keeps it a secret from others or prevent them from knowing that the person is confined will be punished with imprisonment which may extend to two years in addition to any other punishment to which he may be liable for such wrongful confinement.
- Section 347 states that whoever wrongfully confines any person with an intention to extort from that person or from any person interested in that person confined, any property, or valuable security or compelling the person or any person interested in that person confined to do some illegal act will be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to pay fine.
- Section 348 states that whoever wrongfully confines any person for the purpose of extorting any confession or any information which may lead to the detection of an offence or misconduct or for the purpose of compelling the confined person to restore any property or valuable security or giving any information which may lead to the restoration of any property or valuable security will be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years and will also be liable to pay fine.
Difference between Wrongful Restraint and Wrongful Confinement
It is obstructing a person from proceeding in a direction in which a person has a right to move or proceed.
Preventing a person to move in any direction by keeping him within circumscribing limits.
Defined in Section 341
Imprisonment to one month, or fine of Rs. 500, or with both.
Defined in Section 342.
Imprisonment to one year, or fine of Rs. 1,000, or with both.
The seriousness of the offence
It is not a very serious offence as restrainment is not in all the directions.
It is a very serious offence as compared to wrongful restraint. As restrainment is in all the directions.
Genus or species
Wrongful restraint is a genus means it a generic term, a wider term. It is general as it includes several types of restraints.
Wrongful Confinement is a species as it is a type of wrongful restraint.
Partial or complete offence
It is partial restraint. The person can move to any other direction.
It is complete or total restraint.
The person even if he wants can not move in any other direction.
A comprehensive analysis of the two offences is that wrongful restraint is preventing a person to move in a direction. This does not mean or includes all the direction, it means only a particular direction. For example, you are walking on a street and someone comes and blocks your way to proceed in the direction you wanted to go here you have an option to move in any other direction apart from the restrained one.
Wrongful Confinement is the blocking of all the ways of a person where he has a right to go. The objective of these offences is to protect personal liberty and their right to move freely throughout the territory of India. But if anyone in good faith and with a lawful justification obstructs a path, that will not fall under this offence.
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