Wrongful Restraint by Gaurangi Kushwah@lexcliq

Wrongful 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.

Exception
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
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.

Ingredients

  • 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.

Illustrations
‘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.

The case where there is no wrongful restrainment
Shankarlal Sarma (Bhatra) vs State Of Assam And Anr. on 4 March 1975
Facts
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.

Issue
Whether any offence under Section 339 of the Indian Penal Code has been committed by the petitioner in this case.

Judgment
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.

 

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