Whoever wrongfully restrains any person in such a manner as to prevent that person from proceeding beyond certain circumscribing limits is said, wrongful confinement.
Example- (a) ‘A’ caused ‘M’ to go within a walled space, and locks ‘M’ in, ‘M’ is thus prevented from proceeding in any direction beyond the circumscribing line of the wall. ‘A’ wrongfully confined ‘M’.
Example- (b) ‘A’ places men with firearms at the outlet of the building and tell M that they will fire at M if M attempts to leave the building. A wrongfully confines M.
The following are the essential ingredients of this section-
Wrongful restrain of a person;
Such restrain must prevent that person from proceeding beyond certain circumscribing limits.
Prevented from proceeding
Wrongful confinement is a kind of wrongful restraint in which a person is kept within the limits out of which he wishes to go and has a right to go. There must be a total restraint of the person Liberty and not merely a partial restrain to constitute confinement. The total resistance of a person Liberty of a person leaving on choice for him to move in any direction for howsoever short a period it may amount to wrongful confinement.
If a person merely obstructs the passage of another in a particular direction, whether, by the threat of personal violence or otherwise leaving him at liberty to stay where he is or to go in any other direction if he pleases, he is restraining him, it may be wrongfully, but it does not amount to confinement, legal or illegal.
The restraining of a person in a particular place or compelling him to go in a particular direction by the force of exterior will overpowering or suppressing in any way his own voluntary action, his imprisonment on the part of him who exercises that exterior will. There can be no wrongful confinement when a desire to proceed has never existed, nor can confinement be wrongful if a person confined chooses to remain where he is. The direction of the person wrongfully confined must be against his will.
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For wrongful confinement proof of action physical obstruction is not essential. It must be proved that there was at least such an impression produced in the mind of the person confined, so to lead him, a reason to believe that he was not free to depart and that he would be forthwith restrained if he attempted to do so.
The mere threat of some future harm in case of departure will not be sufficient if the victim knows that it is open to him to go away and he refrains from doing so. But if the circumstances are such as so justify and create the belief that he cannot depart without being seized immediately, and then it would amount to wrongful confinement.
In the case of head constable detained some persons as suspects for several days. They were not fettered but they were made to stay in the circumscribed limit. Their meals were either brought back. It was held that the head constable was guilty under this section.
Wrongful confinement means that notice of restraining within some limits defined by a will or power exterior to our own. The restraining of a person in a particular place or the compelling of him to go in a particular direction by the force of exterior will overpowering or suppressing in any way his own voluntary action is imprisonment on the part of him who exercises that exterior will. For an offence or wrongful confinement, certain circumscribing limit are necessary.
A person may have its boundary, large or narrow, tangible or intangible or real, still in conception only it may itself be movable or fixed, but a boundary it must have, and that boundary the party imprisoned must be prevented from passing.
He must be prevented from leaving that place within the Ambit of which the party imprisoning would confine him except by prison-breach. If in the course of a night, both ends of the street were walled up and were no egress from the house but into the street, it should have no difficulty in saying that the inhabitants were thereby imprisoned.
But if only one end were walled up and the armed force stationed outside to prevent any scaling of the wall or passage that way, it should feel equally clear that there was no imprisonment. If there were, the street would obviously be the prison and yet, as obviously, none would be confined to it.
Malice is not an essential requirement in the office of wrongful confinement.
Detention through the exercise of moral force, without the accompaniment of physical or actual conflict, is sufficient to constituted wrongful confinement.
Period of confinement
To constitute an offence under this section, the period of confinement is immaterial. But the period of confinement become material for the purpose of determining the extent of punishment.
In case of Gopal Naidu
Two police officers arrested without warrant a person who was drunk and creating a disturbance in a public Street and confined him in police station though one of them knew his name and address. It was not known to what extent that person was a danger to others or their property. The offence for which he was arrested was non-cognizable one.
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It was held that since the arrest was made by a police officer without a warrant for a non-cognizable offence, their action amounted to wrongful confinement. The action of the police officer could only be justified on the ground of right of private defence or under section 81 of I.P.C. and in this case, there was no such justification.
In case A was on his Journey by his car from Allahabad to Kanpur. M meet him in the way and requested for the lift up to Fatehpur, an intermediate town. A agreed to his request but on reaching Fatehpur, A did not drop M in spite of his repeated request. M is carried over Kanpur against his wishes. Here A is guilty of wrongfully confining M.
The following are some examples of wrongful confinement-
(A) S, a jail doctor confines an offender, who was already undergoing imprisonment, in the cell within the jail for the purpose of administering enema against his will.
(B) T was living in a town where a medical assistant was available. T kept in heavy chains his brother ‘A’ who was subject to intermittent insane fits and who was found to be sane by the District Judge who orders his production before the Court.
(C) U brought a woman who was his kept mistress, from Kolkata and kept her with V, a brothel housekeeper in Bombay. On a previous occasion, he had supplied a woman to be used as a prostitute. The woman was made to lives as a prostitute in the house, the entrance of which was guarded, and a watch kept over her movements. On certain occasions only she was allowed to go out under surveillance. U and v both were guilty under this section.
(D) S, a Superintendent of Police wrote a letter to M who was accused of an offence for which he could not be arrested without a warrant, directing him to present himself before a Magistrate and sent two constables to accompany him and prevent him from speaking to anyone.
(E) Confining a person in a room.
(F) Compelling a person to move in a particular direction by the force of exterior will suppressing his voluntary action.
Mistaken exercise of power by police officer
In a case where Z, a police officer comes from Delhi to a village with a warrant to arrest Y. After reasonable enquiries and on well-founded suspicion Z arrested Y, the compliment under the warrant believing in good faith that Y was M. Z brought a suit for wrongful arrest. It was held that Z had committed no offence because he was committed a mistake of fact in good faith.