Offences of Wrongful Restraint

Section 339. Wrongful restraint

Whoever voluntarily obstructs any person so as to prevent that person from proceeding in any direction in which that person has right to proceed, is said wrongfully to restrain that person.

Wrongful restraint means preventing a person from going to a place where he has a right to go. In wrongful confinement, a person is kept within certain limits out of which he wishes to go and has a right to go.

In wrongful restraint, a person is prevented from proceeding in some particular direction though free to go elsewhere. In wrongful confinement, there is restraint from proceeding in all directions beyond a certain area.

One may even be wrongfully confined in one’s own country where by a threat issued to a person prevents him from leaving the shores of his land.

Object – The object of this section is to protect the freedom of a person to utilize his right to pass in his. The slightest unlawful obstruction is deemed as wrongful restraint. Physical obstruction is not necessary always. Even by mere words constitute offence under this section.

The main ingredient of this section is that when a person obstructs another by causing it to appear to that other that it is impossible difficult or dangerous to proceeds as well as by causing it actually to be impossible, difficult or dangerous for that to proceeds.


  1. An obstruction.
  2. Obstruction prevented complainant from proceeding in any direction.


Obstruction mans physical obstruction, though it may cause by physical force or by the use of menaces or threats. When such obstruction is wrongful it becomes the wrongful restraint. For a wrongful restraint it is necessary that one person must obstruct another voluntarily.

In simple word it means keeping a person out of the place where his wishes to, and has a right to be.

This offence is completed if one’s freedom of movement is suspended by an act of another done voluntarily.

Restraint necessarily implies abridgment of the liberty of a person against his will.

What is require under this section is obstruction to free movement of a person, the method used for such obstruction is immaterial. Use of physical force for causing such obstruction is not necessary.

Normally a verbal prohibition or remonstrance does not amount to obstruction, but in certain circumstances it may be caused by threat or by mere words. Effect of such word upon the mind of the person obstructed is more important than the method.

Obstruction of personal liberty:

Personal liberty of a person must be obstructed. A person means a human being, here the question arises whether a child of a tender age who cannot walk of his own legs could also be the subject of restraint was raised in Mahendra Nath Chakarvarty v. Emperor.

It was held that the section is not confined to only such person who can walk on his own legs or can move by physical means within his own power. It was further said that if only those who can move by physical means within their own power are to be treated as person who wishes to proceed then the position would become absurd in case of paralytic or sick who on account of his sickness cannot move.

Another points that needs our attention here is whether obstruction to vehicle seated with passengers would amount to wrongful restraint or not.

An interesting judgment of our Bombay High Court in Emperor v. Ramlala : “Where, therefore a driver of a bus makes his bus stand across a road in such a manner, as to prevent another bus coming from behind to proceed further, he is guilty of an offence under Sec. 341 of the Penal Code of wrongfully restraining the driver and passengers of another bus”.

“It is absurd to say that because the driver and the passengers of the other bus could have got down from that bus and walked away in different directions, or even gone in that bus to different destinations, in reverse directions, there was therefore no wrongful restraint” is the judgment of our High Court which is applicable to our busmen who suddenly park the buses across the roads showing their protest on some issues.


  1. A was on the roof of a house. B removes the ladder and thereby detains A on the roof.
  2. A and B were co-ower of a well. A prevented B from taking out water from the well .

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By Hassham

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