Offences relating to wrongful restraint and wrongful confinement under IPC.
Offences Relating to Wrongful Restraint and Wrongful Confinement under IPC.
We have seen two offences in Criminal Law under Chapter-16 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 (offence against the human body), namely wrongful restraint and wrongful confinement that comes under the section 339 and 340 of Indian Penal Code. In this article we discussed in detail Confinement? Or Restraint? And what are the penal action taken under Indian Penal Code?
Under the Constitution of India, in Articles 19 and 21, every person throughout the territory of India is conferred with the right to freedom of movement and is guaranteed personal liberty. In furtherance of this objective set up by the Constitution, the Indian Penal Code lays down penal sanctions in case a person violates the freedom of movement or personal liberty of another.
This is achieved in order to protect the right of an individual to freedom from deprivation by another individual or classes a than the State (as fundamental rights only place an obligation on the state) .
According to section 339 of Indian Penal Code,1860 deals with the Offence relating to the Wrongful Restraint which is discussed as below-
“whoever voluntarily obstructs any person so as to prevent that person from proceedings in any directions in which that person has a right to proceed is said wrongfully to restrain that person”
Furthermore, this section lays down an exception- “The obstruction of a private way over land or water which a person in good faith believes himself to have a lawful right to obstruct, is not an offence within the meaning of this section ”
In case of Keso Sahu, 1977 Cr LJ 1725 (Ori ) “Where at the behest of a constable the accused stopped some carts in which rice was being carried by some persons in the bona fide belief that the rice was being smuggled out, they could not be held liable under section 341, IPC, 1860 even if suspicion ultimately proved to be incorrect, for they would still get the protection of section 79, IPC, 1860 that is, mistake of fact”.
A obstructs a path along which Z has a right to pass. A not believing in good faith that he has a right a right to stop the path. Z is thereby prevented from passing A wrongfully restrains Z.
What is Wrongful Restraint?
Wrongful restraint means the keeping a man out of a place where he wishes to be, and has a right to be. The slightest unlawful obstruction to the liberty of the subject to go, when and where he likes to go, provided he does so in a lawful manner, cannot be justified, and is punishable under this section.
The ‘Wrong’ defined is a wrong against a ‘person’ and it would not be an offence within the section if a man is prevented from taking his animal or cart along with him in one direction. There has to be no stoppage of the movement of wrongful restraint; it may be directed to a channel distinct from the direction in which the victim intends to move. In accordance to Sections 339 & 341, the physical appearance of the obstructor is not necessary or actual assault is necessary, the apprehension of imminent harm restraining a person from the place where he wants to be and has the right to be is sufficient to constitute an offence.
An obstruction caused to a vehicle carrying passengers, however, amounts to the wrongful restraint of the passengers. The fact that passengers are free to get down and continue in the desired direction does not eliminate the obstacle outside the scope of wrongful restraint of passengers.
Ingredients of Wrongful Restraint
1. Voluntarily Obstruction of Person.
2. The obstruction must be such as to prevent that person from proceeding in any direction in which he has a right to proceed. The word ‘voluntary’ is significant. It connotes that obstruction should be direct. The obstructions must be a restriction on the normal movement of a person. It should be a physical one. They should have common intention to cause obstruction .
Object of Section 339
The aim of this section is to ensure that a person’s freedom is secured. If an individual has a right to move in a certain way, so the law must ensure that the person has access to that right. It is considered to be wrongful restraint even though there is a slight unlawful obstruction.
Under this clause, it is not mandatory that the obstruction caused must be physical or that the presence of the accused is essential for the restraint to be wrongful.
For the act to constitute as wrongful restraint, the appearance of assault is not necessary. Under this clause, even using mere words to cause obstruction of a person’s path may constitute an offence. When an individual obstructs another by-Causing it to appear to the other individual that it will be impossible, difficult, dangerous to proceed; Or by actually making it impossible, difficult or dangerous for the other individual to proceed.
According to Section 341 of Indian Penal Code,1860 punishment for wrongful restraint is stated as – “whoever wrongfully restraint any person shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both”.
Har Vansh Singh v State of UP .
Where the accused, a boy of 15 years, caught hold of a man from the back to enable the main accused, his brother, to attack, it was held that common intention of murder could not be inferred. Accordingly, his conviction from under sections 302/34 was converted to one under section 340.
Abraham v Abraham.
The driver of a bus purposely made his bus stand across the road in such a manner as to prevent another bus, which was coming from behind, to proceed further. It was held that the driver of the first bus was guilty of wrongful restraint
Sanghi Motors (Bom) Ltd v MT Shinde, 1989 Cr LJ 684 Bom. Section 447 punishes criminal trespass.
Where the tenants of a housing society converted an open space within the compound into a garden and cordoned it, this offence was held to have been committed and though the accused were companies, they could be prosecuted under this section and section 447.
According to Section 340 of Indian Penal Code,1860 is discussed as –
“Whoever wrongfully restrains any person in such a manner as to prevent that person from proceeding beyond certain circumscribing limits, is said “wrongfully to confine” that person”. Wrongful confinement, which is a form of wrongful restraint, is keeping a man within limits out of which he wishes to go, and has a right to go.
1. A causes Z to go within a walled space, and locks Z in. Z is thus prevented from proceedings in any direction beyond the circumscribing line of wall. A wrongfully confines Z.
2. A places man with firearms at the outlets of a building, and tells Z that they will fire at Z, if Z attempts to leave the building. A wrongfully confines Z.
This section has some essential requirements are-
1. Wrongfully restrained of a person.
2. Such restraint Such restraint must prevent that person from proceeding beyond certain circumscribing limits. The offence of wrongful confinement as defined under section 340 of the Code occurs when individual is wrongfully restrained in such a manner as to prevent him/her from proceeding beyond certain circumscribing limits .
Under section 342 of Indian Penal Code states the punishment of wrongful restraint that is “whoever wrongfully confines any person shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both”.
Gopal Naidu, (1922) 46 Mad 605 (FB)
Where two police-officers arrested without warrant a person who was drunk and creating disturbance in a public street, and confined him in the police-station though one of them knew his name and address and it was not found to what extent he was a danger to others or their property, it was held that the arrest having been made by the police-officers without warrant, for a non-cognizable offence, their action amounted to wrongful confinement unless it was justified on the ground of right of private defence or under section 81 as was, in fact, held by the Court.
Dharmu, 1978 Cr LJ 864 (Ori)
A police officer arrested and detained a person in the thana lock-up despite production of a bail order from the Court. It was held that the officer was clearly guilty of an offence under section 342 IPC, 1860.
Other Provisions regarding to wrongful confinement
In Indian Penal Code,1860 under section 344 to 348 discussed some other provisions of wrongful confinement which are as follows-
Section 343 – Whoever wrongfully confinement for three or more days
Whoever wrongfully confines any person for three days, or more shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
Section 344- wrongful confinement for ten or more days
Whoever wrongfully confines any person for ten days, or more shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall be liable to fine.
Section 345 – wrongful Confinement of person for whose liberation writ has been issued.
Whoever keeps any person in wrongful confinement, knowing that a writ for the liberation of the person has been duly issued, shall be punished with imprisonment of either descriptions for a term which may extend to two years in addition to any terms of imprisonment to which he may be liable under any other section of this chapter.
Section 346 -Wrongful Confinement is secret.
Whoever wrongfully confines any person in such a manner as to indicate an intention that the confinement of such person may not be known to any person interested in the person so confined, or to any to any public servant or that the place of such confinement may not be known to or discovered by any such person or public servant as hereinbefore mentioned, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description or a term which may extend to two years, in addition to any other punishment to which he may be liable for such wrongful confinement.
Section – 347 Wrongful confinement to extort property, or constrain to illegal act-
Whoever wrongfully confines any person the purpose of extorting forms any person confined, or from any person interested in the person confined, any property or valuable security or of constraining the person confined or any person interested in such a person to do anything illegal or to give any information which may facilitate the commission of an offence, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also liable to fine.
Section 348 – Wrongful Confinement to extort confession, or compel restoration of property
Whoever wrongfully confines any person of extorting from the person confined, or from any person interested in the person confined any confession or any information which may lead to detection of an offence or misconduct, or for the purpose of constraining the person confined any person interested in the person confined to restore or to cause the restoration of any property or any valuable security or to satisfy any claim or demand, or to give information of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.
A simple way to explain this is that wrongful restraint is simply a restraint in a line, meaning that it requires all forms of restraint in a straight line that happens in a street or road or some kind of movement. Here, as he is only restrained from going forward, the person has the option to go back or left or right. This is punishable because a person has a right to move on such a path here, and such movement has been restricted by another person. On the other hand, wrongful confinement in a circle requires all types of restrictions that occur at a circumscribed limit, such as restrictions on leaving a room or building or park, etc.
2. Indian Penal Code, 1860.
3. 1977 Cr LJ 1725 (Ori).
4. Keki Hormusji Gharda v Mehervan Rustom Irani, (2009) 6 SCC 475 [LNIND 2009 SC 1276].
5. 1993 Cr LJ 3059 (All).
6. (1950) Mad 858.
7. Sanghi Motors (Bom) Ltd v MT Shinde, 1989 Cr LJ 684 Bom. Section 447 punishes criminal trespass.
8. Ratanlal & Dhirajla Indian Penal Code (PB); LexisNexis; 36 edn Pg. no. 1265.
9. Gopal Naidu, (1922) 46 Mad 605 (FB).
10. Dharmu, 1978 Cr LJ 864 (Ori).
11. Indian Penal Code,1860.
Name – Praful Jain, 4th year student, Rajasthan University five Year Law College, Jaipur.