1. This Rule is directed against an order convicting the petitioners under Section 341, Indian Penal Code, on the allegation that they had prevented the carts of one Kali Pada who had purchased some paddy from the complainant Nilmony from proceeding along the public road, their object being to compel the payment to their master, the landlord of the village, of certain so-called dues known as weighman's dues. It may be remarked that it is difficult to understand why the complainant Nilmony or his master Atul Pada should have felt themselves aggrieved by the alleged action on the part of the accused, for it appears that not only had Nilmony handed the paddy in question over to Kali Pada, on receiving payment of its price in full, but that he had also realized from Kali Pada the amounts claimed by the landlord's men on account of weighman's dues, although he had no intention of making over those amounts to the landlord's men, his master having expressly forbidden him to do so. If anyone was aggrieved it was Kali Pada who, according to his own showing, had purchased the paddy and paid the so-called weighman's dues, but was prevented from removing the paddy by the accused, the present petitioners. In spite of this, for some reason which is not apparent to me, it was Nilmony and not Kali Pada who moved in the matter and who after informing the local Police, instituted the present proceedings. Whatever the explanation may be, the only question which this Court is now called upon to determine is whether the action of the petitioners in preventing Kali Pada's carts from proceeding along the public road comes within the mischief cf Section 311, Indian Penal Code.
2. This question must, in my opinion, be answered in the negative, inasmuch as Section 341 is to be found in Chap. XVI, Indian Penal Code, which deals with offences affecting the human body, and inasmuch as it expressly makes punishable wrongful restraint of any person and not of any vehicle or anything of that sort. The definition of the offence in Section 339, Indian Penal Code, makes the matter still clearer, the offence being defined as voluntarily obstructing any person from proceeding in any direction in which that person has a right to proceed. Having regard to the wording of the definition of the offence of wrongful restraint, it is clear that the voluntary obstruction of a vehicle cannot be held to amount to wrongful restraint within the meaning of Section 339, Indian Penal Code. There is no evidence on the record from which it might be inferred that Kali Pada or Nilmony or the carters were themselves prevented from proceeding along the public road or wherever else they might have wished to go and this being so, it is clear that the conviction under Section 341, Indian Penal Code, must be set aside. I am fortified in this view by the decision of this Court in Juggeshwar Das v. Koylash Chunder 12 C. 55, and by the decision of the Bombay High Court in Emperor v. Rama Lala 19 Ind. Cas. 177 : 14 Cr. L.J. 177. The other allegations against the petitioners, namely the allegations of theft, mischief and so forth have been negatived by the trial Court, and it would not be proper at this stage to consider whether or not the petitioners might have been convicted under any of these sections, or even of simple assault. The Rule is accordingly made absolute, the convictions and sentences are set aside and the accused are acquitted. The fine, if paid, will be refunded.