For false imprisonment, it is not necessary that a person should be imprisoned in a jail or confined within the four walls of a building. If there is some restraint which prevents a person from having the liberty of going beyond certain circumscribed limits, there is false imprisonment. Detention may be even on a highway, or in a moving object like a bus or a train.

Meaning of False Imprisonment :

        According to Porter "False imprisonment is the total restraint of a person's liability of movement for any time, however, short without lawful excuse." The word false means 'erroneous' or 'wrong. It is a Tort of Strict liability and the plaintiff has not to prove fault on the part of the defendant.

What Constitutes false Imprisonment ?

 To constitute False Imprisonment / Wrong there are two essential ingredients .

1)There must be a total restraint on the person's liability of movement.

2) That restraint must be unlawful.

1). Total restraint of liberty of person  : 

                     The total restraint on the liberty of a person may be either actual or constructive. When a person is physically confined within certain circumscribing limits, it is called an actual physical restraint. On the other hand, when these limitations are not physical but psychological it is called a constructive restraint. For instance, a person may be threatened that if he leaves the room he will do so at the cost of his life. The restraint on the liberty of a person must be total, that is, there must be a restraint from all the directions.

    Actual that is physical , e.g laying hands upon a person . Constructive , that is, by mere show of authority e.g. by an officer telling any one that he is wanted and making him accompany. 
 In the case of Maharani of Nabha V/s. The Province of Madras, under official orders the Maharaja of Nabha was to be prevented from leaving the boundaries of Kodia Kanal. But the local officers misunderstood the orders and when Maharani of Nabha was leaving for Madras by train along with her daughter, the authorities prevented her from boarding the train. The Maharani sued the government for false imprisonment. But it was held that there was no false imprisonment as there was no total restraint on the liberty of movement since the Maharani could have proceeded in some other direction.

 2). Unlawful restraint/ Unlawful Detention : 

        The restraint on the liberty of the movement of the person must be unlawful. Continuance of imprisonment beyond the authorized period would also amount to false imprisonment. Every confinement is an imprisonment, whether it be in a common prison, or in a private house, or in the stocks, or even by forceably detaining one in the public streets.


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