False imprisonment primarily falls under the ambit of trespass to a person. Trespass to a person is wrong done to a person, a tort committed upon a Person .Eminent jurists have put forward the definitions of false Imprisonment as given below :
According to WINFIELD :” Infliction of bodily restraint which is not Expressly or impliedly authorized by the law”.
According to BLACK STONE :” Every confinement of the person is an Imprisonment ,whether it be in a common prison , or in a private house , Or in the stocks ,or even by forcibly detaining one in the public street”.
False imprisonment means total restraint Or deprivation of the liberty of a person without lawful justification . The Duration of the time is immaterial it may be brief or over a great length of Time. Only the act of an unlawful arrest is enough to hold a person liable for
e.g., the situation where robbers break into a bank and by force ,take the banks
Customers and employees as hostage .
The essentials required to constitute the wrong are:
(1) Restraint must be total or complete in nature .
(2) Confinement must be take place without a lawful justification .
(3) Knowledge of the plaintiff.
RESTRAINT MUST BE TOTAL OR COMPLETE IN NATURE :
Imposition of total restraint is necessary on a person’s liberty to constitute false Imprisonment .by complete restraint , the objective highlighted upon is that the person detained must not have any means available to escape the same . He should not have the scope to get out of his place of arrest . If a man is
Prevented from going to a particular direction but is allowed to go back.
There is no false imprisonment .
But under criminal law when, the restraint Is not total but it is only partial ,and a person is prevented merely from going To a particular direction where he has a right to go , it is ‘ wrongful restraint’ According to section 339 ,I.P.C. or when the restraint is total and a person is Prevented from going , out of certain limits the offence is that of ‘Wrongful Confinement’ defined section 340, I.P.C.
- If there are means of escape the restraint cannot be termed as total and that does not constitute false imprisonment.
CASE LAW: Bird v. Jones,(1845) 7 Q.B. 742
FACT – Bird, wished to cross a section of a public road which was closed off due to a boat race. Two policemen, D, prevented him from passing in the direction he wished to go, but was allowed to go in the only other diction in which he could pass. He refused to go in that direction and stood in the same place. He raised an action against D for false imprisonment
ISSUE– Bird claimed that the exclusion from using a section of the public road which prohibited him from moving in one direction, despite all other directions remaining unobstructed, constituted false imprisonment.
JUDGEMENT– It was held that there was no false imprisonment as there was no total restraint on the plaintiff’s liberty’s there was still one direction which he could take, he could not be said to have been imprisoned as he was not confined and prevented from passing or leaving that place. He was at liberty to move off in another direction and no restraint or actual force was used against him.
“PARTIAL OBSTRUCTION AND DISTURBANCE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE FALSE IMPRISONMENT” .
CASE LAW :Ram Pyare Lal v. Om Prakash and Ors.,1977criLJ 1984,ILR 1977 Delhi 549
FACT– The plaintiff is a practicing Advocate since 1923. In 1948 a First Information Report was lodged . The information was primarily directed against one Gurbax Singh and it appears that the plaintiff was suspected to be involved in the Case. Eventually, on 14th April, 1950 the plaintiff was discharged by a First Class Magistrate. Name of the plaintiff continued to be
Om Prakash, defendant was in charge of that police station arrest the plaintiff from the court .
ISSUE– The plaintiff instituted the suit on the allegations that he had been arrested unlawfully and falsely without any legal justification and that the defendants had committed the tort of false imprisonment.
JUDGEMENT -The court below has awarded to the plaintiff a sum of Rs. 12,500.00 being fifty per cent of the claim.
Defendant , did not care to verify the entries or the assertion of the plaintiff before causing his arrest, while the Police Officers could, if they so liked, keep a watch on movement of the plaintiff and arrest him if they were satisfied that he was really a proclaimed offender or he had not been discharged as was claimed by him. But the Officers persisted in immediately arresting the plaintiff and that too from the court premises soon after lunch. The Police Officer at the time of arrest observed that the plaintiff was a proclaimed offender. This itself would cause loss of reputation of the plaintiff, he was totally restraint by the act of the defendant.
CONFIMENT MUST TAKEPLACE WITHOUT A LEGAL JUSTIFICATION :
The detention must not have a solid legal justification or any rational logic
Behind it, it should be entirely unlawful. If there is the presence of a reasonable
Cause for the detainment, then the arrest shall not amount to false imprisonment.
CASE LAW: Bhim Singh vs. State of Jammu and Kashmir, AIR 1986 SC 494
FACTS–The petitioner, MLA of J&K was to participate in the Assembly meeting. His opponents in order to prevent him from attending the Assembly session got him arrested wrongfully with the help of some executives and police. The Magistrate also granted remand to police without compliance of the mandatory requirement of production of the accused in the Magistrate’s Court before remanding him to police custody. He was released after the Assembly session got over.
JUDGEMENT– The Supreme Court held the State liable for wrongful arrest and detention of the petitioner and ordered a compensation of Rs. 50,000 to be paid to the petitioner. His detention was unlawful and his right to attend the assembly was infringing by the act of defendant .
CASE LAW: Rudal shah v. state of Bihar, A.I.R. 1983 SC 1086
FACT – The petitioner was acquittal by court in 1986 but was released from
The jail in 1982, 14 years thereafter.
ISSUE–The state claimed that the detention was for medical treatment of the petitioner.
JUDGEMENT – The plea was rejected an ancillary relief in writ of habeas corpus by the petitioner a sum of Rs. 35,000 was granted as a compensation by the supreme court .
CASE LAW: Garikipati Ramayya v. Araza Biksham ,AIR 1979 AP 31
FACT- The plaintiffs are ryots of Penumalli village. The defendant’s son Purushottam is the Sarpanch of the village and the plaintiffs belonged to the opposition party of the Gram Panchayat. The defendant owns a rice mill. Mill caught fire and was burnt on the 1997.the defendant brought the Sub inspector and got the plaintiffs arrested and taken to Police Station and confined in the station lock up. The defendant gave a report written by his son alleging that he saw the plaintiff in his mill promises instigating and aiding one Adapa Biksham to set fire to the mill.
The plaintiffs moved for bail, but the defendant opposed the applicator and the bail was refused they were however released on bail. They were however released on bail by orders of the Sessions Judge.
ISSUE- charge sheet was laid only against Adapa Biksham. Thus the defendants caused the arrest and wrongful confinement and imprisonment maliciously and without any lawful excuse or justification.
JUDGEMENT – It was said that it is sufficient if he proves that false imprisonment was caused by the defendant and if the act of the defendant did not establish sufficient justification. Plaintiff suffered disgrace humiliation, physical discomfort and mental suffering due the mere circumstance that the defendant gave a false report to police. So he held Liable for the false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.
KNOWLEDGE OF THE PLAINTIFF
This essential is deciphered in two possible ways and differs from case to
Case. In some cases, the judges have held that the person detained or
Wrongfully arrested must have the knowledge of the same. If he does not know
That he has been held wrongfully during the tenure of his arrest, it shall not
Amount to false Imprisonment.
CASE LAW : Herring vs. Boyle, (1884) 91 Cr. M. And R. 377.
FACT – A schoolmaster wrongfully refused to permit a school boy to go with his mother unless the mother paid an amount alleged to be due from him. The conversation between the mother and schoolmaster was held in the absence of the boy.
JUDGEMENT – The case was held not to be a case of false imprisonment as the boy was not cognizant of his restraint that is he did not know or was not aware of the fact that he was under detention.
CASE LAW : Meering v. Grahame-white Aviation Co., (1920) 121 L. T. 44
FACT– plaintiff, an employee of the defendant company on the suspicion of stealing goods was made to wait in the waiting room. The reason given to him was that he would be investigated about the theft of goods that have happened in the Office. The police which came later arrested the man. On his release, he filed a suit for false imprisonment against the defendant.
JUDGEMENT – False imprisonment was held in spite of the fact that the plaintiff was aware of his arrest unlike in the above case. According to Atkin, L. J. It appears to me that a person could be imprisoned without his knowledge. A person can be imprisoned while he is asleep, while he is in a state of darkness, while he is unconscious and while he is lunatic
The defendant in order to negate the imposition of liability for causing false
Imprisonment must prove before the Court that the confinement done by him
Another was not unlawful or unjustified. Substantive reasons must be provided
To establish the imprisonment. The following are some of the defaces that are
Available to the defendant against to prevent liability under this tort:-
1. Volenti nonfit injuria:
Consent of the opposite party is also an effective defence in the case of false
Imprisonment. This statement signifies that if the plaintiff gives his own consent
Freely without any external influence to the curtailment of his own liberty, the
Defendant causing it shall not be held liable for the tort of false imprisonment.
CASE LAW :Herd v. Weardale Steel, Coal and Coke Co Ltd., (1915) A.C. 67
FACT– The plaintiff, a mine-worker descended a coal mine at 9:30am for work. He had a right to be lifted to the surface after his shift that would get over at 4pm. During work, he refused to do a certain task given to him and asked to be lifted at 11am. His employer declined to do so.
JUDGEMENT –Though the plaintiff was detained inside the coal mine against his will, it did not amount to false imprisonment since by the contract of service, the plaintiff had given his consent to or agreed to abide by the conditions on which he could go out of the mine. Since his contract of service stated 4pm as the time when he would come out of the mine, he was not detained wrongfully.
CASE LAW :Burns vs. Johnston,(1917) 2 Ireland 137
FACT – The defendant refused to unlock the factory gates to allow the workman to leave before completion of his working hours
JUDGEMENT – False imprisonment was not held as the workman had consented to the same.
2. Lawful imprisonment:
If it can be proved well beyond doubt, the burden of which falls on the
Defendant that the person was confined for a lawful cause, the complaint of
False imprisonment shall fail.
CASE LAW :Robinson Balmain vs. New Ferry Co. Ltd. , (1910) AC 295
FACT– The plaintiff entered the defendant’s wharf by paying entry fee in order to go across the river by one of the defendant’s boats. On returning there, he found that the boat had already left. He wanted to go out of the wharf. To go out, according to the rules, he was to pay again. The defendant did not permit him to go out until he paid the fee.
JUDGEMENT – The defendants were not liable for false imprisonment as the reason for detaining him was lawful and the fee was also reasonable.
3. Partial Restraint:
If the restraint imposed was not complete or total restraint providing the Plaintiff with the opportunity and scope to escape that is if restraint is partial in Nature, false imprisonment will not come into effect.
CASE LAW: Bird v. Jones,(1845) 7 Q.B. 742
4. Contributory Negligence:
When the plaintiff commits any act which amounts to contributory negligence, The defendant can plead the defence of contributory negligence.
5. Arrest by Public Authority:
Where the defendant apprehends any breach of peace or any disturbance of Public tranquility from the plaintiff, he may be kept under preventive detention By the public authorities. Police and other law enforcement agencies quite Often invoke this measure for maintenance of public peace.
Section 41(1) of the Criminal code of Procedure of India provides That a police officer may arrest a person “who has been concerned in any Cognizable offence, or against whom a reasonable complaint has been made, or Credible information has been received or a reasonable suspicion exists of
Having been so concerned. In the interest of establishing peace in society, Certain authorities are empowered to detain certain class of people to prevent Danger to peace in the society in certain situations; it shall not lead to false Imprisonment.
The above statement highlights that if a person who as Observed by the defendant in all probability shall or is going to create public Chaos or disturbance by way of his actions, the defendant is empowered t
hold him under detainment. Charges of false imprisonment shall fail in this
CASE LAW: Dailison v. Lafrey, (1911) AC 29
FACTS–The plaintiff was arrested by the police for committing theft. According to the information received by the police, he was identified while committing theft.
JUDGEMENT– The plaintiff’s arrest was held lawful.
6. Assisting the Police:
Where the defendant was assisting the police in apprehending the offender and
Arrests a person in order to prevent his escape. The defendant in this case aids
The police and hence is not liable.
7. Judicial Authority:
An arrest or detention of a person by a judicial authority in exercise of its
Judicial power is justified in law and the authority ordering the arrest shall
Not be liable.The Judicial Officers Protection Act of 1850 states- No suit
Will lie against a judicial officer for false imprisonment or for any other tort
Or acts committed by him in his judicial capacity believing in good faith that
He was acting within his jurisdiction.
However, no arrest or detention should be
Ordered without a reasonable satisfaction reached by the Court after some
Preliminary inquiry as to the genuineness and bona fides of the
CASE LAW: Abdul Wahid vs. Tribhuwan Pati, AIR 1974 All 304
FACTS – The revenue officer arrested the plaintiff and took him to the Tahsil because he had not paid arrears of land revenue and detained him for some time.
JUDGEMENT – False imprisonment was observed as the revenue authorities had no power to arrest the plaintiff without a warrant. Hence, in absence of a warrant, the revenue authorities superseded their authority.
CHAPTER – 2 REMEDIES AND DAMAGES
There are three main remedies that a plaintiff can avail of against the defendant
In an action for the tort of false imprisonment.
1. Self Help:
By using reasonable and proportionate force, the plaintiff who is held under
Captivity can make attempts to free himself or herself. This is a type of extra-
Judicial remedy that is a sort of remedy that can be brought into use without
Approaching the Court of law. The use of unreasonable violence in the name of
Self-help shall not be held justified; it should be in accordance with the threat or
Force used by the defendant on the plaintiff.
2. Writ of Habeas Corpus:
This remedy, considered to be the most appropriate in this kind of a tort is a
Form of legal remedy. The plaintiff can seek for the issue of the writ of habeas
Corpus under Article 32 of the Supreme Court of India and Article 226 of the
High Court of India. This writ lays down that if a person has allegedly put under
Confinement a person unlawfully of without a just reason or falsely, that person
Must produce before the court the imprisoned or detained person. Following
The presentation of the detained person in the Court, the Court shall decide
Whether the imprisonment is unlawful or not. If the arrest made is found to be
Unlawful and unreasonable, the defendant will be made liable for false
3. Action for Damages:
Damages as claimed under this tort are to be assessed only during the time of
Confinement. This means that damages caused to a person post the confinement
Period cannot be granted as a remedy, but for all the injuries and damages that a
Person has suffered while he was kept arrested unlawfully, the victim can plead
Grant of damages. A person who has been falsely imprisoned can claim
Damages which may include damage for mental
TYPES OF DAMAGES
- Nominal Damages:
In case of false imprisonment, where the events involve no any exceptional
Harm done, calls for grant of nominal damages especially in cases where the
Detained was unaware of his confinement.
- Compensatory Damages:
In case of severe mental agony and sufferings like extreme fright, shame and
Disgrace, the court awards the above.
- Punitive Damages:
When false imprisonment is recklessly caused to violate human by Limiting or
Restricting the movement of people. This Method of making the Defendant
Compensate higher is with an aim To deter further actions of this Kind.
- Exemplary Damages:
Such damages are given when the false imprisonment caused is of an
Exceptional nature like when State’s authorities are the offenders. Presence of
Malice is an important factor to decide whether punitive or exemplary damages
Are to be awarded instead of nominal or compensatory damages. Hence, if the
Facts of The Case can establish existence of malice or evil motive behind
Imprisoning a Person falsely, damages of the punitive and exemplary kind shall
Be awarded to the Plaintiff
CASE LAW: Sebastian Hongray v. Union Of India , 1984 SCR (3) 544
FACT – In the Sebastian Hongray case, two persons were taken into custody by the Army authority in Manipur, but were not produced in obedience to a writ of habeas corpus and it was alleged that those persons must have met an unnatural death while in army custody.
JUDGEMENT – The Supreme Court directed the Union of India to pay exemplary damages for the role of the army authorities in murdering the two persons.
After analyzing the constituents of false imprisonment, we come to a conclusion
That- false imprisonment may be because of malicious intention of the
Defendant or by negligence, but the sufferer is the plaintiff, hence while
Awarding the compensation, the period of confinement, place of confinement
And the force used by the defendant should be considered. These above
Mentioned considerations will make sure that, the plaintiff or the aggrieved
Party gets complete justice. False imprisonment shall be said to have occurred
When a human being is detained by another in the absence of the former’s
Consent or any prevailing authorization or justification in the eyes of law.
False imprisonment also can be related to the article 21 of The Indian Constitution, which talks about Right to Life and Personal Liberty. Any person, who is wrongly imprisoned, can take legal action against The wrongdoer for breach of Fundamental Rights. Personal Liberty gives A fundamental right to every citizen of India to move freely.
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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