Wrongful Restraint And Wrongful Confinement: Overview

By | April 17, 2020
Wrongful Restraint And Wrongful Confinement

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Wrongful Restraint And Wrongful Confinement | Overview

Confinement? Or restraint? What does the law punish? The article focuses on “what wrongful restraint is?” and “what wrongful confinement is?”. Further, the article focuses on the essentials and the difference between the two. The punishments and their relevant sections have been mentioned. The case law deciding the generality of the offence under the IPC is discussed in the article. The article thus, explains the aggravated forms of the wrongful confinement with the relevant sections in brief. The right to liberty has been explained very briefly for constitutional understanding.

The category “Of Wrongful Restraint and Wrongful Confinement” in the Indian penal Code, classifies the section dealing with the offence of restraining or confining a human body, wrongfully.[1] It is not letting the person be at a place where he is rightfully allowed and legal to be so. There is offence defined and punishment given in the set of sections under this category.

I. Wrongful Restraint

Section 339 defines what is “wrongful restraint”[2] and the punishment for the same is given under section 341.[3]

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.

341 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”

Essentials of this offence are firstly, “there must be voluntary obstruction” and secondly, “such obstruction must be to prevent a person from proceeding in any direction which that person has a right to proceed”. Further, the restraint caused, even though in only a particular direction, must not be a partial one.[4] 

II. Wrongful Confinement

The term “Wrongful Confinement” is defined in section 340[5], and its punishment is provided in section 342.[6] It says if any person is prevented from proceeding to any place beyond the limit as prescribed by them, which is offensive when they are illegally forcing the victim to do so.

340. Wrongful confinement—Whoever wrongfully restrains any person in such a manner as to prevent that person from proceedings beyond certain circumscribing limits, is said “wrongfully to confine” that person.

Illustrations

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

(b) 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.

342 Punishment for wrongful confinement—Whoever wrongfully confines any person shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.

In the case of Deep Chand v. State of Rajasthan, (AIR 1961 SC 1527), the victim being a son of a wealthy man was forced to go with the accused who were masked. After following the commands of the accused, the victim was confined for 17 days until the demanded amount was received by the victim’s father. Even though the victim was released, the confinement for 17 days amounted to wrongful confinement and wrongful restraint. Thus, the accused were made liable under section 347 along with other sections.[7]

In the case of State of Gujarat v. Keshav Lai Maganbhai Gujoyan (1993 CrLJ 248 Guj), it has been observed by the court that, for a person to be confined wrongfully does not require physical restriction or obstruction. Thus, the court stated that the accused must have created reasonable apprehension in the minds of the victim that he is confined at a place and if he or she tries to escape one will be obstructed or restricted forthwith.

Thus the essence of wrongful confinement is to have made sufficient apprehension of confining and does not require physical restraint.

Is the section of General Application?

In the case of Shyam Lal Sharma v. State of Madhya Pradesh (AIR 1972 SC 886), the police officer who learnt that few officers are believed to have demanded bribes from the drivers at a traffic barrier, the police officer decided to carry out a raid. When the officer raided, there was no warrant but an arrest memo which the accused initially accepted. But later on, when the police officer was on the road, he was thrown onto a chair, seized and taken inside the office.

The accused claimed that the raid was illegal and hence he had a right to obstruct. As an exception, the accused pleaded that the search violated section 165 of CrPC. The court rejected the contention and held that police official or any public servant could not be made an exception to this section. This section is considered to be a general one and is universally applicable. Further, the forced restraint and confinement of any person would be a violation of the penal laws. Hence, made liable under section 342 along with section 353 of IPC.[8]

Even the police officer who violates the law and confines a person illegally will be liable under section 342 of the Indian Penal Code.[9]  Further, the question of whether a police state would be considered as a place of confinement. In the case of State v. Balakrishnan (1992 CrLJ 1872 Mad), the court decided that no one has the liberty to leave the police station at any time freely. It is a place where if one enters, they have to be subject to the jurisdiction of the police officials. It is not wrongful confinement until and unless the arrest or confinement is contrary to law or ultra vires.

III. Difference Between Wrongful Restraint And Wrongful Confinement 

As both, the sections seem to be synonymous but are having a slight difference. In the “wrongful restraint” the victim is obstructed from proceeding in any specific direction or a particular area. So it focuses on restrain in moving in a specific direction, although he may be free to go elsewhere. But confinement relates to confined in a particular place and is not allowed to go out of that place. Hence, the “wrongful restraint” is much milder than the “wrongful confinement”.

Other Aggravated forms of Wrongful Confinement 

The rest of the section in that category from section 343 to 348 are considered as aggravated forms of wrongful confinement.[10]

343. Wrongful confinement for three or more days – Whoever wrongfully confines any person for three days, or more, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

344. Wrongful confinement for ten or more days – Whoever wrongfully confines any person for ten days, or more, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.

345. Wrongful confinement of person for whose liberation writ has been issued – Whoever keeps any person in wrongful confinement, knowing that a writ for the liberation of that person has been duly issued, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years in addition to any term of imprisonment to which he may be liable under any other section of this Chapter.

346. Wrongful confinement in secret – Whoever wrongfully confines any person in such manner as to indicate an intention that the confinement of such person may not be known to any person interested in the person so confined, or to any public servant, or that the place of such confinement may not be known to or discovered by any such person or public servant as hereinbefore mentioned, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years in addition to any other punishment to which he may be liable for such wrongful confinement.

347. Wrongful confinement to extort property, or constrain to illegal act—Whoever wrongfully confines any person for the purpose of extorting from the person confined, or from any person interested in the person confined, any property or valuable security or of constraining the person confined or any person interested in such person to do anything illegal or to give any information which may facilitate the commission of an offence, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.

348. Wrongful confinement to extort confession, or compel restoration of property –  Whoever wrongfully confines any person for the purpose of extorting from the person confined or any person interested in the person confined any confession or any information which may lead to the detection of an offence or misconduct, or for the purpose of constraining the person confined or any person interested in the person confined to restore or to cause the restoration of any property or valuable security or to satisfy any claim or demand, or to give information which may lead to the restoration of any property or valuable security, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine”

IV. Right to Liberty

The aspect of wrongful confinement is a severe offence as this one deals with the violation of “right to liberty” to move freely. Right to liberty is a fundamental right recognized under article 21 and article 19(1)(d) of the Indian Constitution.[11] There are many constitutional law cases regarding the wrongful confinement and violation of the fundamental right to liberty. However, this violation makes this offence severe than wrongful restraint.


[1] Indian Penal Code 1861, ss 339-348

[2] Indian Penal Code 1861, s 339

[3] Indian Penal Code 1861, s 341

[4] Raju Pandurang Mahale v. State of Maharashtra AIR 2004 SC 1677

[5] Indian Penal Code 1861, s 340

[6] Indian Penal Code 1861, s 342

[7] Deep Chand v. State of Rajasthan AIR 1961 SC 1527

[8] Shyam Lal Sharma v. State of Madhya Pradesh AIR 1972 SC 886

[9] Deelip Bhikaji Sonawane v. State of Maharashtra (2003) 2 Mah LJ 629

[10] Indian Penal Code 1861, s 343-348

[11] A K Gopalan v. State of Madras AIR 1950 SC 27


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