The Constitution of India Confers the right to freedom of movement to every person throughout the territory of India and guarantees personal liberty under  Article 19 and Article 21. Section 399 of Indian penal Code defines wrongful restraint. To safeguard individual's right to liberty against deprivation by an individual or groups other than State, the Indian Penal Code 1860 has made wrongful restraint wrongful confinement punishable under Section 339 to 348.     

Meaning of Wrongful Restraint :

           Restraint means an abridgment of the liberty of a person against his will.  Wrongful restraint means obstructing a man from moving from one place to another place where he has right to be and wants to go. Wrongful restraint consists in preventing a man proceeding in some direction in which he wishes and has right to proceed.  


             Section 339 of Indian Penal Code defines 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.

Ingredients :

1) A person causes to obstruction to any person  

2) Such obstruction is caused voluntarily  

3) The obstruction must be such as to prevent that person from proceeding in any direction in which he has right to proceed. 

      If obstruction is made in good faith and the accused believes himself to have a lawful right to obstruct, no offence is committed, A person is  justified in obstructing another from entering into a private way, over land or water, over which he has a legal right obstruct.

Punishment for Wrongful Restraint (Section 341) 

        Whoever wrongfully restraints any person shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month, or which fine may extend to five hundred rupees ,or with both

Case law :

Sovarani Roy Vs. King AIR 1950 Cal 157

In this case Court held that if Person believes in faith that he has right to prevent the complainant from passing over his ground, he cannot be convicted of the offence of wrongful restraint.

See also 

1) Punishments under the Indian Penal Code,1860

2) Defamation under the Indian Penal Code

3) Criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code

4) Difference / Distinction between Tort and Crime

5) Theories of Punishment

6) Freedom of Movement and Resident - Article 19(1)(d) and (e)


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