HomeWrongful Restraint and Wrongful Constraint

Section 399 of the Indian Penal code states that, “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.” Wrongful restraint is thus an action which prevents someone from entering any place which he is legally permitted to enter, this restraint is imposed on him against his wishes. Wrongful restraint is often confused with wrongful constraint. The difference between the two is beautifully highlighted in Madala Peraiah and Others v. Voruganti Chendriah,

“The offence of wrongful restraint, as has been pithily put, is linear in its scope; while wrongful confinement is circular in its character. Wrongful restraint is keeping a man out of a place where he wishes to be and has a right to be.”

Thus, while wrongful restraint prevents someone willing to enter a place, wrongful constraint prevents them from exiting a place they do not wish to stay in. Suppose A locks the door of the bathroom when B is still inside, he will be held to be guilty of wrongfully constraining B. While in a similar situation, if B visits A’s house and prevents A from entering his own house, he would be held for wrongfully restraining A.

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