Wrongful restraint and wrongful confinement

Wrongful Restraint and Wrongful Confinement 

The offences of wrongful restraint and wrongful confinement involved not a direct physical harm, but a restriction upon right to movement of person. The actus reus in three cases lies in the actual obstruction of the person by the accused from moving in a direction in which he had right to move. The Mens Rea lies in the causation of this effect of obstruction voluntarily by the accused.

Section 339 in The Indian Penal Code

339. Wrongful restraint.—Whoever voluntarily obstructs any person so as to prevent that person from proceeding in any direction in which that person has a right to proceed, is said wrongfully to restrain that person.

(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. Illustration A obstructs a path along which Z has a right to pass. A not believing in good faith that he has a right to stop the path. Z is thereby prevented from passing. A wrongfully restrains Z.

General:

Wrongful restraint means keeping a man out of a place where he wishes to be and has a right to be. Thus, wrongful restraining implies abridgment of the Liberty of a person against his will. Where he is deprived of his willpower by sleep or otherwise he cannot, while in that condition be subjected to any restraint.

Examples:

  1. A builds a wall across the path along which Z has a right to pass. Z is thereby prevented from pursing. A wrongfully restrains Z
  2. A illegally omits to take proper order with the furious Buffalo which is in his possession, and thus voluntarily deters Z from passing along the road along which Z has a right to pass. A voluntarily restrains Z.
  3. A threatens to set a savage dog at Z, if Z goes along a path along which Z has right to go. Z is thus prevented from going along that path. A wrongfully restrains Z.
  4. In the last example, if the dog is not really savage, but if A voluntarily causes Z to thing that it is savage and thereby prevents Z from going along the path. A wrongfully restrains Z.

From these illustrations, it will appear that a person may obstruct another by causing to appear do that other it to be impossible, difficult or dangerous to proceed, as well as by causing it actually to be impossible, difficult or dangerous for that other to proceed.

Ingredients:

  1. Voluntarily obstructing a person.
  2. obstruction must be such as to prevent that person from proceeding in any direction in which he has a right to proceed.
  3. Voluntarily obstructing a person.

Voluntarily is defined in section 39 of IPC as “a person is said to cause and effect voluntarily when-

  1. he causes it by means whereby he intends to cause it or
  2. by means which, at the time of employing those means
    1. he new
    2. or had reason to believe to be likely to cause it

‘voluntarily’ is defined in relation to causation of effects. When a person causes any effect intentionally by means or knowingly or had reason to believe at the time of employing the means that the means used by him are likely to cause that effect, is said to cause that effect voluntarily.

‘Reason to believe’ is defined in section 26 as “a person is said to have reason to believe a thing if he has sufficient cause to believe that thing but not otherwise”

this section 339 voluntarily can be proved in any of the following three ways

  1. intention to cause obstruction
  2. he knew to be likely to cause obstruction
  3. had reason to believe to be likely to cause obstruction

a means by which the obstruction has been caused can be any kind of means that is a direct physical force or a psychological fear of apprehended danger. Even if there are more ways and he restrains all, but one is a wrongful restraint. The test for wrongful restraint is that the person is disallowed from moving in one or several directions but at least at One Direction he should be free to move. The moment the last option is closed this wrongful restraint amounts to wrongful confinement.

Person:

obstruction should be to any person. obstruction of a vehicle alone when no men are obstructed is not wrongful restraint. Under this section, the criminal restraint to a person is punishable and not any obstruction whatsoever caused by plying/parking of a vehicle at a particular place. the Madras High Court held that, the voluntary obstruction of a vehicle in which persons are traveling would amount to restraint.

so, the obstruction should be caused two persons that is human beings at not to the vehicles or animals.

Prevents:

The section requires that the obstruction should be as complete and successful as to prevent the person obstructed from proceeding in any direction in which he has a right to proceed. In a case where the complainant was going in a cart and the passing of bullock cart was obstructed but there was no obstruction for him to pass. In this case, it was held that there was no wrongful restraint because there was no prevention.

Proceeding in any direction:

The Madras High Court has held that these words mean proceeding in that direction and not in any direction, much less in the reverse direction. The offence to be punishable under Section 341 need not necessarily constitute absolute prevention of one’s personal movements but the slightest unlawful interference with his lawful movements would suffice. It must be established that the person was obstructed from proceeding along a particular direction.

The word proceeding in this section and section 340 is not confined to the case of a person who can walk on his own legs or can move by physical means within his own power. It includes the case of proceeding by outside agency, which in the case of a baby; the agency is its natural gaurdian or protector.

Public Streets:

All members of the public have rights in public streets and no one section of the community can interdict another section of it from the lawful use of such streets Every citizen has a right to use public road in a lawful manner and will have a right to take a corpse along the public road. It would not be valid defense to plead that the obstruction caused was only to the carrying of the corpse and not to the persons who carried it.

The persons who prevented processionists from proceeding along a high why were held to constitute an unlawful assembly and each member of that unlawful assembly was helf under Section 341 read with Section 149.

Bonafide Claim- When the person in good faith that it is justified by law, does an act, he will not be liable under this section.

Exception:

The section provided exception only in case of a private way. So, it is not an offence to erect a wall on front of one’s promises to prevent other persons from passing over it.

Wrongful Confinement

wrongful confinement and wrongful restraint

Section 340 IPC

Wrongful confinement

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.

Illustrations

A causes Z to go within a walled space, and locks Z. Z is thus prevented from proceeding in any direction beyond the circumscribing line of wall. A wrongfully confines z.

A places men with firearms at the outlets of a building, and tells Z that they will fire at Z if Z attempts leave the building. A wrongfully confines Z.

Wrongful confinement is a species of wrongful restraint. Wrongful confinement can be distinguished from wrongful restraint in that whereas in wrongful restraint there is only a partial suspension of Liberty of a person and he is restrained from proceeding in a particular direction, in wrongful confinement, such prevention is total and the person is restrained from proceeding in any direction. For completion of either offense, the period is immaterial.

Ingredients:

  1. wrongful restraint of a person
  2. such restraint must prevent that person from proceeding beyond certain circumscribing limits.

Wrongfully restrains:

wrongful confinement which is a form of wrongful restraintis keeping a man within limits out of which he wishes to go and has a right to go.

Prevents

The insistence by words of mouth or mayor rotting around a person would not satisfy the requirements of wrongful confinement which requires that there must be voluntary obstruction to that person so as to prevent that person from proceeding in any direction in which that person has a right to proceed.

proof of actual physical obstructions is not essential to support a charge of wrongful confinement. it must be, in each case, be proved that there are at least such an impression produced in the mind of the person detained as to lead him reasonably to believe that he was not free to depart and that he would be forthwith Restrained if he attempted to do so.

The mere hit off future harm in case of dip Archer would not surface if he knew that it was open to him to go away and restrained from doing so lest he should suffer such harm. but if circumstances were such as to justify and to create the belief that he could not depart without being seized immediately, then it would be proper to hold that he was obstructed and confined.

From proceeding:

there can be no wrongful confinement where a desire to proceed has never existed, nor can a confinement be wrongful if it was consented to by the person affected, or if an escape is open to a person if he wished to avail himself of it.

for example, if a person is locked in a room, and there was a window through which he could have proceeded, it is never said that he was confined, even if he never chased to pass.

when a person is sleeping in the night and the door was locked from outside. Here, if he did not have the knowledge that he was locked and even if he did not desire to open it, then it cannot be said that he was confined. Because, he was not prevented from proceeding. The retaining of a person in a particular place or the compelling of him to go in a particular direction by force of an exterior will overpowering or suppressing in any way his own voluntary action is an imprisonment on the part of him who exercises that exterior will.

Absence of desire to move on the part of the person confined no doubt detracts from it being an offense under this section but mere omission often attempt to run away when there is no watch does not mean the absence of desire. proof of actual physical obstruction is not essential to support a charge of wrongful confinement. it must be proved that there was at least such an impression produced in the mind of the person detained as to lead that person reasonably to believe that he was not free to depart and that he would be fourth with restrained if he attempted to do so.

physical presence of the obstruct is not necessary., or any actual assault necessary and fear of immediate harm restraining a man out of as place where he wishes to be has a right to be is sufficient to constitute an offence.

beyond certain circumscribed limits:

a prison may have its boundary large or narrow, visible and tangible, or though real, still in black conception only. it may itself be moveable or fixed, but a boundary should be there. confounding imprisonment of the body with mere loss of freedom also is a confinement.

Moral Force:

detention through the exercise of moral force, without the accompaniment of physical force or actual conflict I.e.sufficient to constitute this offense

Malice:

Alice is not an essential ingredient in the offense of wrongful confinement. it is the actus reus which actually constitutes the offense. in case of wrongful confinement the actus reus required is higher then that of wrongful restraint.

Distinction between wrongful restraint and wrongful confinement

  1. whereas wrongful restraint keeps a man out of place where he wishes to be or has right to go, wrongful confinement keeps him within limits out of which he cannot go
  2. in the wrongful restraint a person is restrained from proceeding in a particular direction while in the wrongful confinement he is restrained from proceeding in any direction.
  3. in the wrongful restraint the curtailment of Liberty is partial but and wrongful confinement curtailment of Liberty is total.
  4. wrongful restraint is less serious offense, but the wrongful confinement is more serious offense. Because, the Mens Rea reqd for both is similar. But the actus reus is higher in wrongful confinement.
  5. punishment is less in wrongful restraint- one month imprisonment or ₹500 fine or both in wrongful confnementI.e. one year year imprisonment (maximum) or Rs. 1000 fine or both.

Judgments:

SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
S.B. Sinha and Cyriac Joseph, JJ.
Decided: 2009

2009(3) R.C.R.(Criminal) 979 :

Indian Penal Code , Sections 339 and 341 – Wrongful restraint – Accused carrying on some repair work on road by spraying tar coal on road – FIR lodged under Sections 339 and 341 of Indian Penal Code lodged by complainant that it caused obstruction to complainant in movement – FIR quashed – No offence under Sections 339 and 341 made out – There was no, physical restraint to complainant – Section 339 Indian Penal Code connotes direct physical restraint – There should be restriction on normal movement of a person.

Also Check: What is Sedition Law (IPC 124A)?: Explained

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