A, a landlord after repeatedly demanding and not getting the rent of his house from B, the tenant, one day locked the house in order not to allow B to enter it, till he pays-off the rent to A. Explain the offence, if any, committed by A in this case.

By | August 2, 2021
ipc mains

Question: A, a landlord after repeatedly demanding and not getting the rent of his house from B, the tenant, one day locked the house in order not to allow B to enter it, till he pays-off the rent to A. Explain the offence, if any, committed by A in this case. [Bihar A.P.P. (A.P.O.) 1997]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [A, a landlord after repeatedly demanding and not getting the rent of his house from B, the tenant, one day locked the house in order not to allow B to enter it, till he pays-off the rent to A. Explain the offence, if any, committed by A in this case.]

Answer

Section 339 defines ‘wrongful restraint. The essential ingredients of ‘wrongful restraint’ are:

  1. voluntary obstruction of a person, and
  2. the obstruction must be such as to prevent that person from proceeding in any direction in which he has a right to proceed

Section 341, IPC provides for Punishment for wrongful restraint.

Whoever wrongfully restrains 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.

In Vijay Kumari Magee v. Smt SM Rao [AIR 1996 SC 1058] the complainant was in occupation of a room in the campus of Victoria School. A letter was addressed to her on 1 October stating that since the managing committee has decided not to allow outsiders to reside on the campus, she was to vacate the room.

The complainant asked for some extension of time to vacate the room, as the notice was given was very short. Since she failed to vacate by the end of October, her room was locked and she was prevented from entering her room and thus wrongfully restrained.

The Supreme Court held that no offence under Section 341 was established, as the complainant had ‘no right to proceed’ in the direction, viz, enter the hostel room. As per Section 339, which spells out what is wrongful restraint, only if a person has a right to proceed in a particular direction, can an obstruction of the same amount to ‘wrongful restraint.

Since the complainant had no right to enter the room on the cancellation of her allotment, no offence under Section 341 was made out.

In the present case, the facts show that A, a landlord, after repeatedly demanding and not getting the rent of his house from B, the tenant, one day locked the house in order not to allow B to enter it, till he pays-off the rent to A.

Here, in this case, the second ingredient of wrongful restraint is missing as B has ceased his right to be the tenant of the property because of non-payment of the rent. So, A is not liable to have to commit the offence of causing wrongful restraint to B.


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