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

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A obstructs a path along which Z has a right to pass, A not believing in good faith that he has a right to stop the path. Z is thereby prevented from passing. A wrongfully restrains Z.

Important Points:

A. Ingredients:

To establish the offence of wrongful restraint the complainant must prove,—

1. That there was an obstruction;

2. That the obstruction prevented complainant from proceeding in any direction;

3. That the person/complainant so proceeding must have a right to proceed in the direction concerned.

B. Object:

Object of this Section is to protect the freedom of a person to utilise his right to pass in his way. The slightest unlawful obstruction is deemed as wrongful restraint.

Physical obstruction is not necessary always. Even by mere words constitute offence under this Section? Physical presence of the accused is not necessary. He need not assault the complainant.

The main ingredient of this Section is that when a person obstructs another by causing it to appear to that other that it is impossible, difficult or dangerous to precede as well as by causing it actually to be impossible, difficult or dangerous for that other to proceed.

C. In Shoba Rani vs. The King (1950-51 CrLJ 668 Cal.) case, the landlord/accused prevented the tenant from using the bathroom. The landlord was held guilty for wrongful restraint under Section 339.

D. Madala Perayya vs. Varugunti Chendrayya (1954 CrLJ 283 Mad)

In this case, the accused and the complainant were the co-owners of a well. Both of them were entitled to use the water for agricultural purposes.

The accused obstructed the complainant from using the water and stopped the bullocks from moving “mota”. The Court held that the accused was guilty under Sec. 339.

E. The complainant must prove his right of way over the land. If he could not prove his right, then there is no offence under this Section.

F. State of Rajasthan vs. Chathu Ram [1998 (2) Crimes 1 Raj]

Smt. Chothudi, the complainant, started from her house with her daughter Santhu to go to her field on 5-10-1977 at 11.00 a.m. While there were going to their field, in the middle of the way the accused caught Smt.

Chothudi and dragged her into bushes and raped her. The trial Court convicted him under Sections 341 and 376 for seven years. On appeal to High Court, the Rajasthan High Court upheld the conviction.

G. Punishment for Wrongful Restraint:

Section 341 imposes punishment against the wrong-doer under Section 339 with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both.

H. Souri Prasad Patniak vs. State of Orissa (1989 CrLJ 169 Ori)

The accused was a veterinary surgeon. He did not receive payments for months together. When his superior officer visited the office of the veterinary surgeon and started back to go, the accused stood in front of the jeep and raised protest for non-payment of his salary.

However after his protest he had given the way to jeep. The Orissa High Court held that the accused was not guilty of offence of wrongful restraint.

I. Lalitha and Others vs. State of West Bengal (1954 CrLJ 551 Cal)

In the Government market the State had allotted certain shops to the small vendors. The complainant/appellant was one of them. She had been paying the rents on daily basis.

The officer of the market prevented her to go into the shop and did not allow opening it, on the pretext that she was not paying the rent for one week. The High Court held that the complainant had right to go to her shop and the accused/employee committed the offence of wrongful restraint.

J. Vijayee Kumaran vs. S.N. Rao (1996 CrLJ 1371)

Brief Facts:

The complainant was a teacher in the accused/college management. The management of the college provided rooms in the college hostel for its staff. The complainant was also provided one room. Due to misconduct of the complainant, the management removed his services lawfully and also asked him to vacate the room in the hostel.

However the complainant did not vacate the room. The authorities obstructed him to go into the room. The complainant lodged a complaint under Sec. 341 against the management. The Supreme Court held that accused/school authorities were not guilty under Sec. 341, because the complainant had no right in the room.

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