What is false imprisonment?

False imprisonment or unlawful imprisonment is a total restrained for some period. It occurs when a person intentionally restricts another person’s movement within any area without legal authority, justification, or the restrained person’s permission. For example, when a person is restrained, by threat of force, from leaving his own house, there is a false imprisonment.


Total restrained

Under criminal law

 According to section 340, when the restrained is total and the person is restricted from going out of certain circumscribed limits, the offence is of wrongful confinement.

According to section 339, when there is partial restrained and the person is prevented nearly from going to a particular direction where he has a right to go is wrongful restrained.

Under civil law

In this false imprisonment is constituted when there is total restrained. There is no imprisonment if a man is prevented from going to a particular direction but free to go to any other direction.


When there is a means of escape then it cannot be termed as total restrained and that does not constitute false imprisonment.


The detention of another person would have been wrong. There is no requirement that the plaintiff claiming another person for false imprisonment was aware of his restrained on his freedom at the time of confinement.

In the case HERRING VS. BOYLE, school master refused to permit a school boy to go with his mother unless the mother paid the due amount from him. The conversation between the school master and the mother was made in the absence of the boy and he was unaware about the restrained. It was held that the refuser to the mother in the boy’s absence, and without his being cognizant to the restrained, could not amount to false imprisonment.


False imprisonment it is necessary that the restrained should be unlawful and without any justification. We can see this in a case BHIM SINGH VS. STATE OF J&K, where the detention was unjustified. In this, the petitioner was an MLA of J&K assembly, and he was wrongfully detained by the police in order to prevent him from attending the assembly session. It was considered that the act was mischievous and malicious and the supreme court considered it to be an appropriate case for granting exemplary damages of rupees 50,000


There is no false imprisonment when there is some justification for detaining a person. Thus, if a man enters certain premises subject to certain reasonable conditions it is no wrong to prevent him from leaving those premises until those conditions are fulfilled.


  • Action for damages – damages in false imprisonment are those that flow from tension. Whenever the plaintiff has been wrongfully detained, he can always bring an action to claim damages. Compensation may be claimed for injury to the liberty and also for disgrace and humiliation.
  • Self-help – this is available when the person is still under detention, they are authorized to use reasonable force to escape from detention.
  • Habeas corpus – this is speedier remedy for escaping from wrongful detention. In this a writ is issued by the supreme court under Article 32 or by a high court under Article 226 of our constitution.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

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We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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