January 17, 2022

Wrongful restraint & Wrongful confinement


This article explains the concept of wrongful restraint and wrongful confinement, Section 339 and 340 of the indian penal code explains the concept of wrongful restraint and wrongful confinement. Wrongful restraint means keeping the person out of the place where he/ she wishes to be and wrongful confinement means keeping the person within limits out of which he/she wishes to go, In other words we can say that wrongful restraint means putting a limitation to go at a particular place or direction whereas wrongful confinement means putting the limitation beyond a certain point.

Wrongful restraint

The main object of this section

Wrongful restraint means keeping the man out of the place where he wishes to be and has a right to be, So the main object of this section is related to the person freedom which means that a slightest unlawful obstruction to the liberty of a person where he/she has the right to go cannot be justified and is punishable under this section[1]. Moreover the obstruction does not mean only physical obstruction but it can be any kind of obstruction it will offence under this section.


1) Voluntary Obstruction- Voluntary obstruction means any kind of obstruction which is done voluntarily with the knowledge that it will keep the person out of the place where his wishes to and has right to be, It can be a physical obstruction which can be a physical force or threat when such force or threat is wrongful it becomes wrongful restraint. The main ingredient required in this section is the obstruction in the freedom of a person; the method used for obstruction is immaterial.

2) The obstruction to prevent the person in which he has a right to proceed- This section implies that the obstruction should be of such a nature that it restraints the person to which he has a right to proceed; in other words we can say that the obstruction must be a restriction on the normal movement of a person, There should be a intention to cause obstruction[2]. For the offence of wrongful restraint the necessary condition is that the person must have the right to proceed; here the person defined can be any person whether a adult or a minor also if a person who cannot walk could also be the subject of this restraint.

Cases of wrongful restraint

There is a case named Har Vansh Singh v. State of U.P.[3], In this case a boy of 15 years caught hold of a man from the back to enable the accused his brother to attack, it was held that the common intention of the murder cannot be inferred therefore his conviction got converted under section 339.

There is another case in which 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 bus was guilty of wrongful restraint[4].

Punishment for wrongful restraint

The punishment for wrongful restraint is defined under section 341 of the Indian Penal Code which states that whoever wrongfully restraints any person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of one month or with fine of 500 rupees or both. The punishment under this section will be given only if actually an offence has been committed, there is a famous case of Rupan Deol Bajaj v. Kanwar Pal Singh Gill[5] In this case the accused stood in front of the victim in such a manner that she had to move backward, so it was held that from that act alone it cannot be said that he “wrongfully restrained” her within the meaning of section 339.

Wrongful Confinement

In general terms wrongful confinement means limiting a person to go beyond a certain circumscribing limits, section 340 of the Indian Penal Code states that whoever wrongfully restraints any person in such a manner as to prevent that person from proceeding beyond certain circumscribing limits is said “wrongfully to confine” that person.

Main object

The main object of this section is to prevent the person liberty which is infringed by the voluntarily act done by another. Wrongful confinement which is a form of wrongful restraint is keeping the person out within the limits where he/she wishes to go.


1) Wrongful restraint of a person- ‘Wrongful confinement’ is a species of wrongful restraint while in wrongful restraint there is a partial suspension of one liberty and in wrongful confinement there is total suspension of liberty beyond certain prescribed limits.

2) Prevent the person from proceeding- This section implies that such restraint must prevent the person from proceeding beyond the certain circumscribing limits. There will be no wrongful confinement when a desire to proceed has never existed, nor can a confinement be wrongful if it was consented to by the person affected[6], Mere insistence by words of mouth or mere sitting around a person would not satisfy the requirements of the offence of wrongful confinement

3) Moral force- For the offence of wrongful confinement proof of actual physical restriction is not necessary it is sufficient if evidence shows that an impression is created in the mind of the victim as to create a reasonable apprehension in his or her mind. In other words we can say that detention through the exercise of moral force without the accompaniment of physical force is sufficient to constitute the offence[7].

4) Forced to walk- Where a person is forced to walk under duress to a particular direction than it will be an offence under this section, it means an act by which a person is prevented from proceeding towards a particular direction.

Also a person can be detained only by the authorized authority if in case any unauthorized authority detained a person then it will be liable to provide compensation, there is a case of Paothing Tangkhul v. State of Nagaland[8] in this case the petitioner as detained by an order passed by the judicial magistrate, First Class whereas the authority for order of detention vested with the state or central government. It was held that the said detention, being without authority of law, amounted to wrongful confinement. The detention was quashed and the detenu was granted a compensation of Rs. 3,000.

Wrongful confinement cases

There’s a case named Gopal Naidu v. Unknown 1922, In this case 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, 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.

Punishment of wrongful confinement

The punishment of wrongful confinement is defined under section 342 of the Indian Penal Code which state that whoever wrongfully confines any person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of one year or fine of 1000 rupees or both. Here section 342 will not apply to public servants unless they use it wrongfully, for example a man was taken to the police custody and were beaten by the police and he committed suicide then the police will be liable under section 342[9].


An analysis of the two offences is that the ‘wrongful restraint’ means preventing the person from moving in a particular direction where the person has the right to go but the restriction present in wrongful restraint is in a particular direction and not in all direction whereas in Wrongful confinement the person is prevented from moving beyond the prescribed limit, In ‘wrongful confinement’ the liberty of a person is suspended and the person right to move freely is infringed.


The Indian Penal Code by Ratanlal & Dhirajlal


Overview of Wrongful Restraint & Wrongful Confinement under Indian Penal Code

Wrongful Restraint & Wrongful Confinement

[1] Saminanda Pillai (1882)

[2] Keki Hormusji Gharda v. Mehervan Rustom Irani (2009) 6 SCC 475;AIR 2009 SC 2594

[3] 1993 Cr LJ 3059

[4] Abraham, (1950)

[5] AIR 1996 SC 309

[6] Muthammad Din, (1893)

[7] Venkatachala Mudali (1881)

[8] 1993 CR LJ 2514

[9] State v. Balkrishna, 1992 Cr LJ 1872

Author Details: Manvendra Singh Chauhan (Amity University, Rajasthan)

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