Constituents of False Imprisonment – An Analysis

Constituents of False Imprisonment – An Analysis

By Shivi Khare


When one is concerned about personal liberty, the primary thought that comes into our mind is that we’ll have complete freedom to roam where ever we would like to, without any kind of restrictions. If any such restriction is imposed on our movement then it’s said to be as internment or confinement. it’s a sort of trespass towards someone, where it’s not necessary to prove that an actual damage exists. Speaking of it in legal terminology, internment is often defined as restraining someone without their consent, with an intention to cause some physical harm or Actus Reus to the opposite person.

False imprisonment may occur in many contexts. For example:

  • Locking someone in an exceedingly room without his consent.
  • Taking of individuals as hostages while a plane hijack or bank robbery.
  • Physically detaining someone with an intention of preventing him from leaving.
  • Medicating someone or intoxicating someone without his consent so as to restrain his movement.
  • Holding something of great value to someone, with an intention of coercing him to remain in an exceedingly certain place.

False imprisonment is basically restraining of someone against his will without transporting him to a different location. This illegal confinement violates an individual’s right to be free from restraint, and it may give the victim a claim in civil court, additionally to any criminal charges which can apply.

False imprisonment might also be a criminal offense, moreover as an intentional tort, depending upon the laws of a selected jurisdiction.A private individual, a police officer or any public authority can falsely imprison a person as well.

False imprisonment is applicable to both private as well as government detention. Whether the restraint is total or partial, it’s actionable under criminal law. The crime of wrongful confinement is also called as wrongful imprisonment. When the restraint is total and therefore the person is prevented from going out of certain fixated limits then it constitutes the offence of wrongful confinement as defined under section 340 of IPC. Under this, the Indian penal code punishes wrongful imprisonment. When there’s a requirement to prove the crime of wrongful confinement before of the police, we are able to try this if we prove that there’s a false imprisonment and procure the writ of habeas corpus. it’s not mandatory that someone must be arrested wrongfully or he should be behind the bars, but he should be confined to a particular place from where there’s no possibility of escaping except the person’s will who has confined him. reckoning on the laws of a selected jurisdiction, wrongful imprisonment may also be a criminal offense, as well as an intentional tort.

Almost every tort encompasses a defence, so does this tort. The defences of false imprisonment are consent of the plaintiff or voluntary assumption of the chance, evidence and negligence. The defence of consent of the plaintiff and evidence are complete defences while the defence of negligence is employed just for the mitigation of damages.

How is false imprisonment different from kidnapping?

Although the crimes are in many ways similar, there’s a key distinction between kidnapping and false imprisonment: whether or not the defendant was moved to a different location.

In a false imprisonment case, the victim is wrongly detained or imprisoned at a location where the victim was previously voluntarily present.

In a kidnapping case, the victim is captured or wrongly detained at one location, then transported to a different location for continued detention.

An internment case can potentially become a kidnapping case whether or not the victim is transported only a brief distance, like from one room in an exceedingly building to a different.

False imprisonment violates Article 21 of the Indian Constitution which includes right to life and personal liberty. Any person who is wrongfully imprisoned can take legal action against the wrongdoer for the violation of their fundamental right.


  • What is false imprisonment?
  • How can we classify the nature of false imprisonment?
  • What are the elements or constituents of false imprisonment?


All states have laws regarding imprisonment designed for safeguarding people from being confined against their will. The laws of every state vary, but normally, certain constituents of imprisonment must be present to prove a legal claim. To prove a imprisonment claim during a case, the subsequent elements must be present:

  • Intentional imprisonment or wilful detention.
  • Absence of consent from the plaintiff.
  • Unlawful detention.
  • Period of confinement.
  • Intention of the wrongdoer.
  • Usage of force or threat upon the plaintiff.


False imprisonment or restraint must be intentional or wilful. Accidentally closing the door when someone is on the opposite side isn’t a wrongful confinement or imprisonment. Wilful detention applies to intentional restraint in any form, including physically restraining an individual from exiting, physically locking him during a building, room, or from other places, and restraining him from leaving through force or intimidation. Generally, the tort of imprisonment must be intentional. an individual isn’t answerable for imprisonment unless his or her act is finished for the aim of imposing a confinement or with knowledge that such confinement, to a considerable certainty will result from it. for this tort, Malice is irrelevant. it’s ordinarily upon the judges to see from the evidence, as an issue of fact, the intention of the defendant in an action for imprisonment.

Under section 339 of IPC the crime of wrongful confinement is defined.

In the case of Vijay Kumari Magee V. S.M. Rao[1] the teacher lost the authority to enter into the hostel when her license was terminated. This case may be an appropriate example for the detention of the person. Although this detention was authoritative, yet it amounted to wrongful detention as termination of teaching license and right to enter the hostel don’t seem to be connected to every other. Both are different events with different importance, they cannot be linked together.


A detention must be made without the consent of the aggrieved party. Although it is still the matter of debate whether or not the consent of the aggrieved party is a perfect essential or not.

The detention of another person is wrong, there’s no requirement that the plaintiff claiming another person for imprisonment was awake to his restraint on his freedom at the time of his confinement.

In the case of Herring v Boyle[2], it’s been held that such knowledge is crucial , therein case a schoolmaster wrongfully refused to allow a schoolboy to travel together with his mother unless the mother paid an amount presupposed to result to him , the conversation between the mother and schoolmaster was made within the absence of the boy and he wasn’t cognizant of the restraint. it absolutely was held that the refusal to the mother within the boy’s absence, and without his being cognizant of the restraint, couldn’t amount to imprisonment.

In the case of Meering v Grahame-White Aviation co ltd.[3], the claimant was asked to travel to a space with two work policemen from the Aviation company. He asked why and stated he would depart if not told. When told it absolutely was on suspicion of theft he agreed to remain, and also the works police stood outside until the metropolitan police arrived. Unknown to him they were asked to forestall him leaving. it absolutely was held that an act which fulfils the necessity for an imprisonment, whether or not the claimant is unaware of it at the time, still counts. Meering was entitled to damages.

So, this clears us on the purpose of forced imprisonment and knowledge of the plaintiff about such an imprisonment but what if there’s a situation where the plaintiff is inside a space or a building and also the defendant decides that if the plaintiff comes out of the space or the building then the defendant would attempt to stop him from escaping. The plaintiff doesn’t get out of the building and also the defendant has yet not stopped him. So, has the defendant imprisoned the plaintiff? the solution which may come to one’s mind would definitely be “No.” The thought that the defendant didn’t confine anyone so, he can’t be confined only for his status of thoughts might arise.


When we talk about the false imprisonment, the detention must be unlawful or the confinement must be made without any lawful justifications. It must also be unexplained.

Rudul Shah vs. State of Bihar[4] during this case, the petitioner, an under-trial was wrongfully confined in jail for several years despite his acquittal by the Court. The state supreme court of Patna held that as soon as an individual under trial is found guiltless by the court, he should be unleashed. Any detention after the decision would be considered unlawful in nature. The State had to pay a sum of Rs. 30,000 as compensation.


However short the amount of unlawful detention an action for false imprisonment will always lie, provided that the other essential requirements of the torts are satisfied. Confinement for an awfully short period, say fifteen minutes is sufficient to form liability of internment. the amount of confinement is usually of no relevance except within the estimation of damages.

The lengthy confinement doesn’t necessarily mean that a compensable internment has occurred. An otherwise lawful detention may become unlawful if the detention is prolonged for an unreasonable period of your time.

If a person is falsely imprisoned for any amount of time the compensation will be provided depending upon the degree and the nature of the confinement. The court will also make sure to check the history of both the plaintiff and the defendant so that the justice can be made to either of the parties.

Bhim Singh V. State of Jammu and Kashmir[5]is one of the landmark cases in India related to false imprisonment. During this case the petitioner, MLA of J&K was to participate within the Assembly meeting. His opponents so as to stop him from attending the Assembly session got him arrested wrongfully with the assistance of some executives and police. The Magistrate also granted remand to police without compliance of the mandatory requirement of production of the accused within the Magistrate’s Court before reminding him to police custody. He was released after the Assembly session got over. The Supreme Court held the State accountable for wrongful arrest and detention of the petitioner and ordered a compensation of Rs. 50,000 to be paid to the petitioner. In this case the confinement was only for a few hours but his potential contribution to the assembly was taken into consideration and the relevant compensation was given.


Normally this tort of internment must be intentional. an individual isn’t responsible for internment unless his or her act is completed for the aim of imposing a confinement or with knowledge that such a confinement, to a considerable certainty will result from it. The mandatory intent for the needs of a false imprisonment is that the intent to confine. So as to demonstrate the mandatory element of intent, the defendant must only accomplish the act that causes the confinement, they have not contended that the confinement was unlawful, the defendant’s actual motives are immaterial. Malice is irrelevant to the current tort. it’s ordinarily for the jury to work out from the evidence, as a matter of fact, the intention of the defendant in an action for internment. Every negligent act causes this tort of internment as an example if an individual, locks someone inside an area unaware of the very fact that there’s someone within the room then he could be held responsible for the tort false imprisonment.

When we look into the case the which has already been stated above, the case of Herring V. Boyle[6] we can observe that the same case can be used an example to discuss the impact of the intentions of the wrongdoer on to the plaintiff.

Similarly, within the case of Garikipati V. Araza Biksham[7] the defendant files a false report back to the police stating that the plaintiff has set his property ablaze This accusation was false. However, during this case there was malice in intention of the defendant as he lied to the police with an intention to urge the plaintiff arrested. But the law enforcement officials were negligent as they didn’t take necessary care before arresting the plaintiff.


Depriving anyone of his liberty or compelling him to travel in any of the directions during his confinement in which he doesn’t wish to travel, by use or exercise of force or expressed/implied threat of force, is fake imprisonment. Therefore, the confinement or restraint necessary to make liability for imprisonment will be imposed by compulsive physical force or by the particular use of physical force. But the particular use of physical force isn’t always necessary. The essential thing is that the restraint of the person. It will be done by either threat or by using actual force or by inducing threat by the employment of words that cause an acceptable apprehension of the employment of force within the mind of the opposite person.

If the words or conduct are of such a sort which will induce reasonable apprehension of force, to such an extent that the person is effectually restrained then it’ll constitute imprisonment. Therefore, so as to be actionable, the act performed by the defendant must a minimum of create a basis for the reasonable apprehension of force. The circumstances surrounding the incident and therefore the relationships surrounding the parties even have a vital effect during this case.


False imprisonment could also be due to malicious intention of the defendant or by negligence but the is that the plaintiff, hence while awarding the compensation one must detain mind about the place of confinement, time of confinement and force employed by the defendant. The above-mentioned considerations will make sure that the aggrieved person gets fair justice.

False imprisonment also violates Article 21 of the Indian Constitution which has right to life and private liberty. a person who is wrongfully imprisoned can take proceeding against the wrongdoer for the violation of their fundamental right. Under Article 21 we’ve the basic right to move freely, if a person is restraining the basic right then he may be sued in a very court of law.

[1] Vijay Kumari Magee v. S.M. Rao-1996, INDIAN KANOON,

[2] Herring v. Boyle-1834, SWARB CO, (July 7,2015),

[3] Meering V. Grahame-white aviation co ltd.-1919, SWARB CO, (march 17,2019),

[4] Rudul Shah V. State of Bihar-1983, INDIAN KANOON,

[5] Bhim Singh V. State of Jammu and Kashmir-1984, INDIAN KANOON,

[6] Herring v. Boyle-1834, SWARB CO, (July 7,2015),

[7] Garikipati Ramayya V. Araza Biksham- 1978, INDIAN KANOON,

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