Is actual physical obstruction essential to prove wrongful confinement?
• Mr. Naginbhai Nathubhai Patel (complainant) who is an inspector under the Bombay Money Lenders Act, 1946 along with S.K. Pandya and K. S. Shah being the District registrar and head clerk respectively, went to the shop of Keshavlal Manganbhai (accused no. 1) for making inquiry and examine the books of accounts.
• For further inquiry,the officers went to accused no.1’s home where the book of account was snatched away by the accused no.1 from the complainant, who handed over the book to his wife (accused no. 2) and was prevented from running away by the complainant.
• It was alleged that the officers were assaulted by the accused no.1 and his son (accused no.2) where the complainant set out to inform the police for protection and claimed to have his two officers unlawfully restrained.
• It was contended that the accused family had unlawfully restrained the two officers inside the house and shall be punished under Section 332 which stipulates voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty and Section 342 providing punishment for wrongful confinement of IPC.
• The respondent contended that the officers were not unlawfully restrained by assault or force and shall not be punishable under Section 342 and Section 342 of IPC.
It held that the only allegation about the confinement is addressing of words 'asking the two officers to sit and not to leave the house till the complainant returns'. There is no allegation that any force was displayed. There is no allegation that any threat was given. There is no allegation that there was any apprehension in the mind of two officers about any assault or force being displayed if they tried to leave the house.
In the absence of any of such allegations showing any apprehension in the mind of two officers, it is doubtful whether the offence u/S. 342 could ever be said to have surfaced. In this connection Mr. Shah, learned advocate for the respondents referred to a decision in the case of Om Prakash Tilak Chand v. State, reported in (AIR 1959 Punjab page 134: 1959 Cri LJ 368). A learned single Judge of the Punjab High Court has held that to support a charge of wrongful confinement proof of actual physical obstruction is not essential. But it must be proved in each case that there was at least such an impression produced in the mind of the person confined, as to lead him, reasonably to believe, that he was not free to depart, and that he would be forthwith restrained, if he attempted to do so. In the present case there are no facts alleged much less proved about any apprehension of force as stated above.
-Para 9 (The State of Gujarat vs Keshavlal Maganbhai Jogani)