The act of restraining an individual’s way or confining him in a particular room
or space is considered as a wrong act because every person has the right to
freedom of movement and right to personal liberty under Article 19 and 21
imbibed in the Constitution of India. So, to safeguard the individual’s rights ant
liberty and punish the person who violates another person’s rights, penal
sanctions are laid down by the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
As per the Section 339 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, Wronful Restraint is
defined as, ‘Whoever voluntary 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 to wrongfully restrain that person.’ But this is not a absolute
case and that is why exception is also provided under this that is if a person
believes that he or she is acting in good faith or have the certain lawful authority
by which the obstruction takes place, then that obstruction would not amount to
wrongful restraint and the person who is doing it will not be liable under law. In
this regard, an example can be presented here for better understanding of the
concept that if a person is going to his home after committing theft and the
police come and obstruct his way, then that person cannot argue in the court of
law that he was wronfully restrained to go to his home. The police has a valid
reason for doing so and cannot be held liable.
The main ingredient which should be present to constitute act or restraint as a
wrongful restraint is that there must be an obstruction which stopped the person
to proceed in that direction in which he has a right to proceed. The main thing
which has to be kept in mind is that the person can only move where he has a
right to proceed. He cannot argue and bring a suit against the his neighbour who
stopped him to enter his house. Also, it cannot be argued by the defendant that
another way was there. The offence of wrongful restraint applies when a way is
blocked of an individual. It doesn’t matter that the plaintiff had an option to
reach his house or the whatever his destination is by another road which was not
very far from the place he was standing. It is absurd.
The main objective behind this is that in any way the freedom of the individual
is protected. It should not be violated and if by any chance it is violated then
strict actions are taken to ensure the rights. Sometimes, there are situations
where the defendant argues that the plaintiff’s way was not actually obstructed.
He only felt like his way was blocked to which the defendant does not have any
responsibility or liable for any kind of punishment. In that case, the principle of
reasonable apprehension will take place. If the plaintiff in any way felt that it is
impossible or dangerous or difficult to proceed in that way, the defendant will
still be liable. For example: the plaintiff brings a suit where he was denied to
take a road which goes to his house by the defendant who was continuously
burning fire crackers on the way. The defendant cannot argue that the plaintiff
could have walked on side of the road where he was not there. He will be liable
because for any reasonable person, the burning of fire crackers means that he
cannot proceed in that direction as it is dangerous and can hurt him on that way.
Therefore, by keeping all these things in mind our country provides for the
punishment which is a simple imprisonment which may extend to one month or
with fine which can also be extended to five hundred rupees or with both.