Saturday, 4 June 2022

False Imprisonment and Malicious Prosecution

 False Imprisonment and Malicious Prosecution

When a person (who does not have the legal authority or rationale) purposefully restricts another person's freedom, this is known as wrongful incarceration. In civil and criminal courts, someone who willfully limits another person's freedom can be found accountable for false imprisonment. False incarceration is defined by the following factors:

Imprisonment's most likely reason.

For the purpose of incarceration, the plaintiff's knowledge is required.

The defendant's intent during his or her incarceration and confinement time is important.

This is true for both private and government confinement. Whether the constraint is absolute or partial, it is illegal under criminal law. The offence of 'wrongful confinement,' as defined under Section 340 of the IPC, occurs when the constraint is absolute and the subject is barred from leaving specified restricted boundaries. Under this, the Indian Penal Code punishes wrongful imprisonment. Section 339 to 348. When it comes to the police, proving false imprisonment is sufficient to obtain the writ of Habeas Corpus. It is not mandatory that the person should be put behind bars, but he should be confined in an area from which there are no possible ways of escape except the person’s will who has confined him. Depending on the laws of a particular jurisdiction, wrongful imprisonment can also be a crime, as well as intentional tort.

Elements of false imprisonment

All states have laws regarding false imprisonment designed for protecting people from being confined against their will. The laws of each state vary, but in general, certain constituents of false imprisonment must be present to prove a legal claim. To prove a false imprisonment claim in a civil suit, the following elements must be present:

Wilful detention

False imprisonment or restraint must be intentional or wilful. Accidentally closing the door when someone is on the other side is not a wrongful confinement or false imprisonment. Wilful detention applies to intentional restraint in any form, including physically restraining a person from exiting, physically locking him in a building, room, or from other places, and restraining him from leaving through force or intimidation.

The intention factor

Generally, the tort of false imprisonment must be intentional. A person is not liable for false imprisonment unless his or her act is done for the purpose of imposing a confinement or with knowledge that such confinement, to a substantial certainty will result from it. for this tort, Malice is irrelevant . It is ordinarily upon the judges to determine from the evidence, as a question of fact, the intention of the defendant in an action for false imprisonment. 

Knowledge of the plaintiff

The detention of another person would have been wrong. There is no requirement that the plaintiff claiming another person for false imprisonment was aware of his restraint on his freedom at the time of his confinement.

Defences of false imprisonment

The most common defense for false imprisonment is the lack of one or more of the elements. For example, if the victim agrees to imprisonment, then wrongful imprisonment did not occur. However, there are other defenses that can be used to defend a false imprisonment claim. Below are common defenses of false imprisonment claims:


Valid Arrest 

False arrest claims are not valid if a person was detained due to lawful arrest or due to arrest under law, if they have probable cause to consider a person to have committed a felony, or engaged in wrongdoing. In addition, a person can be legally detained for arresting a citizen without reason.


Consent to Restraint 

A person who consents to be restrained or confined without the presence of fraud or coercion or misconduct cannot subsequently claim to be a victim of false imprisonment. Therefore, voluntary consent to false imprisonment is often a defense to false imprisonment.

False imprisonment can occur due to the defendant's malicious purpose or negligence, but the plaintiff is the one who suffers; thus, while awarding compensation, one must consider the defendant's site of confinement, period of confinement, and force utilised. The three factors will ensure that the individual who has been wronged receives just compensation.


False detention is also a violation of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees the right to life and liberty. Anyone who has been wrongly imprisoned has the right to sue the perpetrator for violating their fundamental rights. We have the basic right to move freely under Article 21, and anybody who restricts this fundamental freedom can be prosecuted in a court of law.


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