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SECTION 343 OF INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860 WRONGFUL CONFINEMENT FOR THREE OR MORE DAYS

Introduction Before dealing with punishment of Wrongful confinement under Indian Penal Code, we need to understand Wrongful Restraint and Wrongful Confinement. Under Chapter XVI of Indian Penal Code includes Wrongful Restraint, Wrongful Confinement and their punishments.

Section 339 – Wrongful restraint Whoever voluntarily obstructs any person so as to prevent that person from proceeding in any direction in which that person has a right to proceed, is said wrongfully to restrain that person.

Exception - The obstruction of a private way over land or water which a person in good faith believes himself to have a lawful right to obstruct, is not an offence within the meaning of this section.

Wrongful restraint means obstructing a person from moving from one place to another where he has the right to be and wants to go. Malice is not necessary element of the offence under this section.

Restraint means an abridgement of the liberty of a person against his will. However, if the person is deprived of his will power to movement by sleep or otherwise he cannot be said to have been subject to any restraint.

Section 340 – Wrongful Confinement Whoever wrongfully restrains any person in such a manner as to prevent that person from proceedings beyond certain circumscribing limits, is said "wrongfully to confine" that person.

Illustrations

(a) A causes Z to go within a walled space, and locks Z in. A is thus prevented from proceeding in any direction beyond the circumscribing line of wall. A wrongfully confines Z.
(b) A places men with firearms at the outlets of a building, and tells Z that they will fire at Z if Z attempts to leave the building. A wrongfully confines Z.

Wrongful confinement as defined under Section 340 IPC is a form of wrongful restraint under which a person is wrongfully prevented from proceeding beyond certain circumscribed limits. For example- arrest, or locking up a person in a room, or trying him to a tree, amount to wrongful confinement.

The essential ingredients of the offence of wrongful confinement are:

• The accused should have wrongfully restrained the complainant (i.e.voluntarily obstructed any person so as to prevent that person from proceeding in any direction in which that person has a right to proceed) • Such wrongful restraint was with the aim to prevent the complainant from proceeding beyond certain circumscribing limits beyond which he or she has the right to proceed.

To support a charge of wrongful confinement proof f actual physical obstruction is not necessary. It is sufficient if such an impression was created in the mind of the victim as to cause reasonable apprehension that he was not free to depart and that he would be forthwith restrained, if he attempted to do so.

Section 342- Punishment for wrongful confinement Whoever wrongfully confines any person shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.

Section 343 – Wrongful Confinement for three or more days

According to section 343 of Indian penal code, whoever wrongfully confines any person for three days or more, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both. After the confinement of 3 days, the penalty incurred for the offence is that provided in section. Section 343 is confined to the offence, the duration of which does not exceed ten days, after which a still higher penalty, as provided in Section 344, is incurred. The offence is cognizable, bailable, compoundable and triable by any magistrate.

What is Cognizable offence?

Cognizable offences are those in which the police can arrest without any warrant. These are more serious in nature. Non-cognizable offences on the other hand are those for which a police officer has no authority to arrest, unless with a warrant.

What is Bailable offence?

Bailable offences are those offences or crimes that are not very serious in nature. In such cases bail is a right and the arrested person must be released after depositing the bail with the police. The police have the power to grant bail in these types of cases. The accused may be released on bail, on executing a “bail bond", with or without furnishing sureties.

What is Compoundable offence?

Compoundable offences are those offences where, the complainant (one who has filed the case, i.e. the victim), enter into a compromise, and agrees to have the charges dropped against the accused. However, such a compromise should be a "Bonafide," and not for any consideration to which the complainant is not entitled to.

This section is a step further in the direction of prescribing severe punishment for wrongful confinement which may extend for more than three days but less than ten days. In view of the gravity of the offence, punishment may extend to the imprisonment for a period which may extend to two years and fine.

Case Laws

Haricharan & Anr. Vs State of Madhya Pradesh & Ors. (2011)

Mathura was called to the Police Station through Head Constable Ram Ujagar with regard to the investigation of Crime Case for offence punishable under Section 457 and 380 IPC. He was interrogated at the Police Station and was confined in the lock up. While he was confined in the lock up, he was subjected to third degree torture. According to the prosecution, Mathura was unlawfully detained in the Police Station from 8th October, 1983 till 11th October, 1983. The police had neither made any entry about his detention in the police records nor about his discharge. Mathura was under wrongful confinement for more than three days, hence accused convicted under section 343 IPC.

Dharam Pal Vs. State of Haryana (2013)

Held that accused was convicted under section 343 IPC and was awarded a rigorous imprisonment for a term of 3 years. He was held guilty for wrongfully confining a person for more than three days.