1. The appellants have been convicted of wrongful restraint for having caused certain pariahs to stand in the public street in the vicinity of a temple with the object of preventing the complainant from conducting a procession from the temple through the street. It is found that the complainant, deterred by fear of the pollution which he would have suffered had he passed near the pariahs, did not conduct the procession, and that the accused maliciously caused the pariahs to take up their position in the street with the sole object of deterring1 the complainant from going where he had a right to go.
2. We do not think the accused have committed the offence of wrongful restraint in our opinion this act did not amount to an obstruction within the meaning of Section 339. The parihas were no obstruction in fact; there was nothing to prevent the complainant from taking his procession past them and they had aright to be where they were: and it is not suggested that their presence was intended to cause fear of physical injury or any fear that anything would happen to the complainant except the pollution of the procession by their presence.
3. It was not the presence of the pariahs but the complainant's own distinction to go near them which prevented him from going where he would: it was his own choice which kept him from leaving the temple as Mr. Ruppusami Aiyar put it, it was with his own consent that he remained there and there was no fear of injury within the meaning of the Penal Code which would prevent that consent from being a free consent.
4. If it were otherwise, it would follow that a person in the position of the complainant would be justified in complaining of wrongful restraint against any pariah who being law, fully in the public street on his own business refused to move when directed to remove him self to a distance, knowing that if he remained the complainant would be deterred by fear of pollution from passing near him.
5. It is clear that there could be no wrongful restraint in such a case and we think it makes no difference that the panahs were posted by the accused.
6. We, therefore, set aside the conviction and sentence and direct refund of the fines it paid.