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Arumugakadar and ors. Vs. Emperor - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1911)ILR34Mad547
AppellantArumugakadar and ors.
RespondentEmperor
Cases ReferredEmperor v. Shamial
Excerpt:
penal code act xlv of 1860 section 339 - wrongful restraint, what necessary to constitute. - .....to section 339 of the penal code.2. but mr. seshagiri ayyar contended that there could be no wrongful restraint unless the accused were physically present to enforce the obstruction and in this case the look had been placed, upon the door before the complainant came to the spot. it is true the offence is only committed when the person said to be obstructed is prevented from proceeding in the direction in which he has a right to go. but what is there in the section which requires the physical presence of the obstructer at the moment of prevention, is it not enough if he voluntarily places the obstacle in such a position as to prevent another person's movement in a particular direction without standing behind the obstacle himself? the illustration to section 339 puts a case of.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Krishnaswami Ayyar, J.

1. I think the conviction in this case must stand. The complainant and his wife and daughter are found to have occupied a house. During their temporary absence the accused put a lock on the outer door and thereby obstructed them from getting into the house. I cannot go behind these findings. Indeed the accused in their defence do not dispute the right of the complainant to enter the house for it is said that he was a sub-lessee under the fifth accused who was himself a lessee under the first accused. In the face of this admission there could be no bond fide belief that the accused had a lawful right to obstruct so as to bring the case within the exception to Section 339 of the Penal Code.

2. But Mr. Seshagiri Ayyar contended that there could be no wrongful restraint unless the accused were physically present to enforce the obstruction and in this case the look had been placed, upon the door before the complainant came to the spot. It is true the offence is only committed when the person said to be obstructed is prevented from proceeding in the direction in which he has a right to go. But what is there in the section which requires the physical presence of the obstructer at the moment of prevention, Is it not enough if he voluntarily places the obstacle in such a position as to prevent another person's movement in a particular direction without standing behind the obstacle himself? The illustration to Section 339 puts a case of obstruction of a path and a person being prevented thereby from passing along it, but there is no suggestion of the obstructor's presence. It can hardly be contanded that, if a person who is asleep at night in a house is locked in without his knowledge so as to be debarred all exit and finds himself a prisoner when he awakes in the morning, the author of the imprisonment is not guilty of wrongful confinement if he is absent elsewhere when the other person becomes aware of the confinement. In Bird v. Jones 7 Q.B. 742 Coleridge, J., observed at page 746. 'If, in the course of a night, both ends of a street were walled up, and there was no ogress from the house but into the street I should have no difficulty in saying that the inhabitants were thereby imprisoned.' The difference between wrongful restraint and Wrongful confinement is only the distinction between obstruction in one direction and obstruction on all sides. To repeat the felicitous language of the First Law Commissioners. 'By wrongful restraint we mean the keeping a man out of a place where ho wishes to be and has a right to be.' 'Wrongful confinement which is a form of wrongful restraint is the keeping a man within limits out of which he wishes to go and has a right to go.' If physical presence is not necessary as an ingredient of the offence of wrongful confinement, it must be held to be equally unnecessary to constitute wrongful restraint. Mr. Seshagiri Ayyar invited my attention to two cases [Emperor v. Abdul (1885) 9 Bom. L.R. 30 and King-Emperor v. Shamial (1980) 4 Bom. L.R. 79], but neither of them touches the present question and I do not think it necessary to discuss them. I am, however, unable to accept the suggestion of the Public Prosecutor that if a house is locked without any idea of keeping a particular person out and some parson having a right of ingress finds himself prevented from going into the house, the person placing the look is guilty of wrongful restraint. It is not voluntary obstruction of a person unless the obstructor intended, it or knew or had reason to believe it to be likely that the means adopted would cause his obstruction. The section does not say that whoever does an act which causes obstruction to a person so as to prevent him from proceeding in any direction, etc., wrongfully restrains that person, There is no doubt, however, in the present case that the lock was placed upon the door with the deliberate purpose of preventing the complainant's entry into the house. The conviction is right. I dismiss the petition.


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