1. This is a criminal revision petition filed against the convictions and sentences in C. C. No. 1076 of 1949 on the file of the Stationary Sub-Magistrate, Kandukur, and upheld in C. A. No. 63 of 1950, Sub-Divisional Magistrate's Court, Kandukur,
2. The facts are : P. W. 1, the complainant, has purchased 6 acres of land from P. W. 7, thereby rounding up an extent of 3 acres 40 cents already owned by him in S. No. 352. It is his case that he has been cultivating all these areas by passing through the planmarked pathway in S. No. 351 after crossing S. No. 356, which is a Donka Poramboke. This plan-marked pathway passes through the land of the accused. There has been ill-feeling between these neighbouring land-owners.
3. On 1-8-1949 at about 7 a.m., according to the complainant, when he was passing through the Donka S. No. 356 with five ploughs, the thirteen persons accused by him came there with sticks and obstructed him and the bulls and beat and drove away the bulls. On account of this he is stated to have come home fearing that if he proceeded further he would also be got beaten. Therefore he preferred a complaint against these thirteen accused persons.
4. In the Court of the Stationary Sub-Magistrate, Kandukur, no case was found to have been made out against accused 2 to 10 and 12. Only accused 1, 11 and 13 were found guilty of an offence under Section 341) I. P. C., and were sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 100 each and in default simple imprisonment for 1 1/2 months. The other accused were acquitted.
5. In appeal the learned Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Kandukur, confirmed the convictions and sentences of fine but altered the default sentence into simple imprisonment for one week each.
6. The point taken before me is that the accused persons by striking the bulls and making them run away did not cause wrongful restraint to the complainant and in support of this the decision in'-- 'Gopal Reddi v. Lakshmi Reddi', AIR 1947 Mad 124 (A) was relied on.
7. I shall now briefly examine the ingredients of the offence of wrongful restraint under Section 341, I. P. C., and examine whether the case relied upon for the revision petitioners is helpful to them.
8. 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 fight to be. The following illustrations given in the Original Draft Code will elucidate the meaning of this Section :
(a) A builds a wall across a path along which Z has a right to pass. Z is thereby prevented from passing. A wrongfully restrains Z.
(b) A illegally omits to take proper order with a furious buffalo which is in his possession and thus voluntarily deters Z from passing along a road along which Z has a right to pass. A wrongfully restrains Z.
(c) A threatens to set a savage dog at Z if Z goes along a path which Z has a right to go. Z is thus prevented from going along the path. A wrongfully restrains Z.
(d) In the last illustration if the dog is notreally savage but if A voluntarily causes Z tothink that it is savage and thereby preventsZ from going along the party A wrongfullyrestrains Z.
From these illustrations it will appear that a person may obstruct another by causing it to appear to that other that it is impossible, difficult or dangerous to proceed, as well as by causing it actually to be impossible, difficult or dangerous for that other to proceed. The obstruction must be physical. A verbal prohibition or remonstrance does not amount to such obstruction. The offence is the abridgment of the liberty of a person against his will. Thus, these are the principles which are embodied in the decision relied upon by the criminal revision petitions, viz., AIR 1947 Mad 124 (A), as also the decisions in -- 'Emperor v. Rama Lala', 15 Bom LR 103 (B); -- 'Durga Pada Chatterjee v. Nilamani Ghose' : AIR1935Cal252 'In re Peria Ponnusami Goundan' : AIR1927Mad506 'Muhamad Yusuf Sahib In re', 1938 Mad WN 1010 (E); -- 'Muthu-padayachi v. Emperor', 1934 Mad WN 620 (F) : -- 'Guru 'Charan Kaur v. Province of Madras', AIR 1942 Mad 539 (G); -- 'Kumbola Guru-vadu v. Krishna Reddi', AIR 1915 Mad 1053 (H) and -- 'Criminal Revn. Case No. 125 of 1899,: 1 Weir's Cri Rul 340 (I), referred and examined in 'AIR 1947 Mad 124 (A)'.
9. On the foot of these principles when a cart conveying a person was detained while the traveller was allowed to go on his own way or a horse which a person was riding was restrained but without any obstruction to the rider who was allowed to go where he liked if he wanted, it was held, that the offence of wrongful restraint had been committed.
10. The sum and substance of all these decisions is that in a wrongful restraint there need lot be any stoppage of the movement it may be directed into a channel different from the direction in which the victim intends to move. Physical presence of the obstructor is not necessary; nor is any actual assault necessary and fear of immediate harm restraining a man out of a place where he wishes to be and has a right to be is sufficient to constitute an offence under this section. The slightest unlawful obstruction to the liberty of the Subject to go when and where he likes to go, provided he does so in a lawful manner, cannot be justified and is punishable.
11. The facts of this case are covered by an exact decision of the Bombay High Court, namely, -- 'Emperor v. Lahanu Manaji' : AIR1926Bom118 (J). In that case, where the accused who were the co-owners of a well, obstructed another co-owner (complainant) from using the 'mot' to which he had yoked his bullocks, on the slope to the well, on the ground that he had not paid his share of expenses of the well, it was held that the accused were guilty of the offence of wrongful restraint inasmuch as they had obstructed the complainant from proceeding with his bullocks in a direction in which he had a right to proceed with his bullocks.
12. Two classes of cases, however, constitute an exception to this section. One class of cases is provided for in the Exception to Section 339, I. P. C., and the other class of cases in Exceptions which override the penal provisions of the Code. The Exception to Section 339 provides that the obstruction of a private way over land and water which a person in good faith believes himself to have a lawful right to obstruct, is not an offence. This plea was put forward and negatived and I agree with the finding of fact. The other class of cases relates to resistance under a claim of right. A person who bona fide be-lieving in his right to a property asserts his claim thereto cannot be convicted of this offence. This bona fide claim of right was also put forward in the lower Court and was negatived and the finding of fact is correct.
13. In these circumstances the convictions of these criminal revision petitioners are correct and are confirmed.
14. The sentences are, however, reduced from Rs. 100 to Rs. 75 each, maintaining the default sentence of the learned Sub-Divisional Magistrate.
15. This petition is disposed of accordingly.