False Imprisonment is the total restrain on a person's movement with the use
of unlawful force by an unauthorised body. False imprisonment is classified both
as a crime and a tort. False imprisonment can be caused by both private
individuals; and by government detention. Under the Indian Penal Code, false
imprisonment is defined under section 340 as "wrongful confinement". Section 339
to 348 of the Indian Penal code deals with other matters in this form.
False imprisonment is a violation of a person's Right to free movement under
Article 19(1) G of the Constitution and Right to Life and Liberty under article
21 of the Indian Constitution.
Knowledge of the Plaintiff:
Under False imprisonment, it is not essential for the plaintiff to know that
he/she has been detained at the given point of time. An action for false
imprisonment will hold irrespective of the fact whether or not the plaintiff was
aware of the false imprisonment.
Period of confinement:
The factor of a period of confinement gains relevance when the damages are to be
decided for false imprisonment. Lawful detention can become unlawful if the
plaintiff is detained for a prolonged period.
Place of Confinement:
The plaintiff doesn't have to be put behind the bars to be confined. Confinement
can also refer to detention in a place from where either the plaintiff is not
allowed to exit or if he/she is unaware of the way out.
To constitute false imprisonment the confinement must be complete. Complete
confinement means that the plaintiff should be blocked from all known
directions. Restricting one-way access to a certain place is called partial
restrain. Partial restrain does not constitute wrongful confinement.
Defence against False Imprisonment
No action of false imprisonment can be brought if the arrest was a legally valid
one. A lawful arrest can also be conducted if the authorities have sufficient
reason o believe a person is guilty of the felony he is accused of. A person can
also be detained if he arrested another person without valid reasons.
Consent to restrain:
A person who has consented to be detained cannot bring forth a claim of false
imprisonment. However, the consent must be obtained without resorting to unfair
means like fraud, coercion etc. Consent to restrain is a commonly used defence
against false imprisonment.
This is an absolute defence against false imprisonment or false arrest. The test
for false imprisonment is subjective rather than objective, it is not based on
the real commission of crimes by the individual but on the probability that the
accused did commit the crime.
Remedies for False Imprisonment
Action for damages:
Damage for false imprisonment flows from the detention of an individual. The
damages are measured only at the time of indictment or arraignment. Damages are
left to be determined by the court. Factors such as loss of time, earnings,
medical hazards, mental trauma may form relevant factors while determining the
Writ for Haebus Corpus:
The term "haebus corpus" means basically to "to have a body". Article 32 and
Article 226 enables the citizen to invoke the writ of habeus corpus in the
supreme court and the high court respectively. Either the person detained or his
family member can invoke the writ of haebus corpus for the immediate release of
a person from unlawful detention of a private person or government. The writ of
haebus corpus can also be used to release a person who has been under false
Anyone who has been unlawfully detained can use reasonable and appropriate force
to get out of the scenario. One can use his/her right to private defence to free
himself. However, the force used must be proportionate to the harm caused or
threat imposed by the detention.
Bhim Sinch v/s State Of Jammu And Kashmir
In this case, the petitioner, an MLA of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly was
wrongly detained by the police while he was goin to attend the assembly session.
He was not presented before the magistrate in 24 hours and hence he lost his
constitutional right to attend the session . There was also a violation of his
right to life and liberty under Article 21 of the constitution.
By the time petition was filed in the supreme court, Bhim Singh had been
released. He was awarded exemplary damage of rs 50000 as a relief.
D.K Basu v/s State Of West Bengal
This case deals with custodial death. The Supreme court held that Custodial
deaths were a violation of human dignity. The petitioner raised the question if
monterey compensation should be alloted to those who had been subjected to
police torture for the infringe ment for their fundamental right under article
21 and 22.
The court held that custodial violence , including death and torture were the
balant violation of the Rule of Law. The authorities are not only regulated by
the rule of law but are also bound by it. Transparency od action and
accountability were the two safeguard that were laid down by the court.
The court issued 11 directives that were the rights of the person arrested and
the manner in which the authority could arrest the accused. And the manner in
which it was expected to behave with the accused. . This included having a
written record for detention, medical treatment of the accused and informing the
family of the detained.
Rudal Shah v/s State Of Bihar
In this case the petitioner was unlawfully confined in the jail as an undertrial
in the jail for several years in spite of his acquittal by the court. The High
court hel that as soon as the accused was declared free, he was entitled to
getaway. Any detention after that was considered to be illegal
False imprisonment or confining someone in a restricted space, unlawfully is one
of the most severe violations of human rights. It is a blow to the base of
non-violence, the dignity that the socio-legal platform is based on. The rise of
custodial torture is has caused an increase in violation of article 21 and
The jail authorities are not entitled to torture a person merely because he is
suspected of committing a crime. An accused/prisoner has the right to protect
himself from custodial torture.