Wrongful Restraint and Wrongful Confinement
Author : V. Krishna Laasya
The offences of wrongful restraint and wrongful confinement relate to offences against the body of humans and are considered to be against Articles 21 and 19 of the Indian Constitution, namely Right to life and Personal Liberty, Right to Freedom.
Thus, the offences are considered to also be placed on a separate footing by the Indian Penal Code. It must be highlighted that as a whole, the offences of wrongful restraint and wrongful confinement are covered from Section 339 to Section 348 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
Restraint is the control or limiting a person’s liberty or freedom, either movement or controlling the person. S. 339 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 places special emphasis on the term ‘Wrongful Restraint’. A person who obstructs the path of another person from proceeding or moving in that direction which the other person has the right to proceed in, is said to commit the offence of wrongful restraint and is said to wrongfully restrain the other person.
There is however an exception attached to this section that states that such an obstruction is not considered an offence, if it relates to a private way over land or water which a person believes he has the right to object to. However, it is mandatory that the person must believe that he has the right in good faith and must not possess any ill intentions.
- Limit control and restrict the path of the person.
- The person whose path is prevented must have the right to proceed in the path.
- The person must have been proceeding in that path and should have been prohibited from further proceeding.
- If the obstruction is over land or water in a private way, then such restriction is not an offence provided, it is because of good faith of the person who is restricting.
As per provisions laid down under the IPC, whoever restricts the proceeding of another person, will be either subjected to simple imprisonment to the maximum of a month or maximum fine of Rs. 500 and in some cases, both.
Objective behind the Section
A person’s right to move freely without any restriction or limitation is a right that is inherent and must be protected. The Section has been passed with utmost intention to prevent ill motives and to promote bonafide faith between the people with the Law and with themselves.
Precedents Analysing the Subject Matter
In Lalloo v. Kedarnath Shukla, Mahadeo Prasad, the complainant stated that Dr. Shukla told him to vacate his shop due to non- payment of rent and since he refused, Shukla took the key to the lock of the shop and put another lock, when the complainant returned after filing a complaint.
It was held that though vacating the tenant on ground of non- payment of rent was lawful and not an act of trespass, the fact that Shukla locked the door of the shop, was an act constituting an offence of wrongful restraint.
In Shankarlal Sharma v. State of Assam, the brothers in question shared a common passage for movement of vehicles. The petitioner had parked his vehicle in such a way that there was an obstruction in the passage. It was held by the Court of Law that since it is a common passage and the petitioner had done it in a lawful way and in good faith, there was no offence of wrongful restraint.
Confinement is limiting a person’s movement to a particular place or boundaries. S. 340 of the Indian Penal Code deals with wrongful confinement. Whoever limits or constrains a person in such a way that the person is not able to proceed beyond the limits circumscribed, wrongful confinement is said to have taken place. ‘Whoever’ in this case refers to a person or an authority.
This section places emphasis on complete and total confinement as the person’s restriction is within a defined place and space.
- There must be a situation of restriction in a person’s path.
- The restriction must be in such a way that the person is not able to move beyond the limits circumscribed.
- Total confinement
As per provisions laid down under the IPC, whoever commits the offence of wrongful confinement and is held guilty, will be either subjected to imprisonment to the maximum of a year or maximum fine of Rs. 10,000 and in some cases, both.
Precedents analysing the subject matter
In Emperor v. Bandu Ebrahim, the complainant was forcefully confined and brought to a brothel by the accused. It was held that there was an offence of wrongful confinement and a punishment of one year imprisonment was sentenced.
Other forms of confinement
S. 343 states that if the person is confined for more than three days, then the imprisonment shall be increased to a maximum of two years or fine, or both.
S. 344 states that if the person is confined for ten years, then the imprisonment shall be increased to a maximum of three years.
S. 345 states that if the person is confined willfully and the person had to be released by issuance of a writ, punishment imposed is for a period of two years.
S. 347 states that if the wrongful confinement is made with an intent to extort from the person, then such an act shall be punishable for three years.
S. 348 states that the act of confinement for the purpose of extortion of confession which leads to the restoration of valuable or property shall be punishable with imprisonment of three years.
 For Verbatim Reading of the relevant excerpt of the Indian Penal Code, see <https://www.latestlaws.com/bare-acts/central-acts-rules/ipc-section-339-wrongful-restraint/#:~:text=Wrongful%20restraint,-Next&text=Whoever%20voluntarily%20obstructs%20any%20person,wrongfully%20to%20restrain%20that%20person.>. Last accessed 11 August 2020
 Punishment for wrongful restraint under Section 341 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
 Lalloo v. Kedarnath Shukla
 Shankarlal Sharma v. State of Assam
 For Verbatim Reading of S. 340, see < https://www.kaanoon.com/indian-law/ipc-340/>. Last accessed 12 August 2020
 Punishment for wrongful confinement under Section 342 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.