2010 ALL MR (Cri) 2485
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY

J.H. BHATIA, J.

Bharat Kishormal Shah & Ors.Vs.State Of Maharashtra & Anr.

Criminal Writ Petition No.2344 of 2009

29th July, 2010

Petitioner Counsel: Mr. H. S. VENEGAVKAR
Respondent Counsel: Mrs. V. R. BHOSALE,Mr. V. M. ACHARYA,M/s. Mayur Narendra & Co.

Penal Code (1860), Ss.339, 341 - Wrongful restraint - If the accused voluntarily obstructs any person so as to prevent that person from proceeding in any direction in which that person has right to proceed, the accused is said to have wrongfully restrained that person - Not allowing the entry of the vehicle within the compound of building is totally different from obstructing a person from proceeding in a particular direction in which he has right to proceed. Criminal P.C. (1973), Ss.154, 482.

If the accused voluntarily obstructs any person so as to prevent that person from proceeding in any direction in which that person has right to proceed, he is said to have wrongfully restrained that person. Section 339 of the Indian Penal Code requires that the accused should have obstructed a person from proceeding in any direction in which he has right to proceed and when he obstructs any person and restrain him from proceeding in any direction he commits the offence of wrongful restraint punishable under section 341 of the Indian Penal Code. In the present case, on perusal of the FIR lodged by the Respondent No.2, it appears that the Petitioners had stopped the entry of vehicles within the compound, wherein the shop of the Respondent No.2 was situated. There is no allegation that either the complainant/Respondent no.2 or any of his employee or customer was restrained or obstructed from proceeding towards the shop. They were only asked not to bring their vehicles inside. Not allowing the entry of the vehicle within the compound of building is totally different from obstructing a person from proceeding in a particular direction in which he has right to proceed. If the customers of the Petitioners/Respondent No.2 were not allowed to bring the vehicles inside the compound and if the Respondent No.2 feels that he has right to allow his customers to bring their vehicles inside, he may have civil remedy. Learned counsel for the Respondent No.2 makes a statement that he has already filed a civil suit which is pending. In view of the contents of the FIR, prima facie no offence of wrongful restraint under section 339 punishable under section 341 of the Indian Penal Code has been made out. Therefore, it appears that the police wrongly registered the offence and therefore, it is liable to be quashed. [Para 4,5,6]

JUDGMENT

JUDGMENT :- Rule. Rule made returnable forthwith. Heard the learned counsel for the Parties.

2. The Petitioner Nos.1 and 2 are the landlords and Petitioner No.3 is their employee. Respondent No.2 is son of the original tenant. The Respondent No.2 claims that he was carrying on his business in shop No.8. On 06.02.2009 he was present in his shop along with his employees since 9 a.m. On that day whenever his customers came there to purchase goods from his shop, they were not allowed to enter from the main gate with their by-cycles, three wheelers, tempo etc. None of them were allowed to take their vehicle inside. Similarly, the vehicles of Godrej Vegetable Oil Company and of Virchand Khemaji came there with the goods to be unloaded at the godown of the Respondent No.2. Those vehicles were also not allowed to enter inside the compound. The gate was chained in such a manner the vehicles could not enter into the compound. On enquiry by the Respondent No.2, care taker watchman Kiran Kamble, who is the Petitioner No.3, informed that his employers Bharat Shah and Hemant Mehta i.e. Petitioner Nos.1 and 2 had directed him not to allow any vehicles inside. On the ground of these facts, the Respondent No.2 lodged a report with the Police Station on 06.02.2009. Kalachowki Police Station registered the Crime No.28 of 2009 under section 341 read with section 34 of the Indian Penal Code against the Petitioners. By this Petition, the Petitioners seek to quash the said FIR on the ground that no offence under section 341 of the Indian Penal Code is made out.

3. Section 339 of the Indian Penal Code defines wrongful restraint thus :

"339. Wrongful restraint.- Whoever voluntarily obstructs any person so as to prevent that person from proceeding in any direction in which that person has a right to proceed, is said wrongfully to restrain that person.

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

Section 341 of the Indian Penal Code reads thus:

"341. Punishment for wrongful restraint.- Whoever wrongfully restrains any person shall be punished 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."

4. If both these sections are read together, it will be clear that if the accused voluntarily obstructs any person so as to prevent that person from proceeding in any direction in which that person has right to proceed, he is said to have wrongfully restrained that person. Section 339 of the Indian Penal Code requires that the accused should have obstructed a person from proceeding in any direction in which he has right to proceed and when he obstructs any person and restrain him from proceeding in any direction he commits the offence of wrongful restraint punishable under section 341 of the Indian Penal Code.

5. In the present case, on perusal of the FIR lodged by the Respondent No.2, it appears that the Petitioners had stopped the entry of vehicles within the compound, wherein the shop of the Respondent No.2 was situated. There is no allegation that either the complainant/Respondent no.2 or any of his employee or customer was restrained or obstructed from proceeding towards the shop. They were only asked not to bring their vehicles inside. Not allowing the entry of the vehicle within the compound of building is totally different from obstructing a person from proceeding in a particular direction in which he has right to proceed. If the customers of the Petitioners/Respondent No.2 were not allowed to bring the vehicles inside the compound and if the Respondent No.2 feels that he has right to allow his customers to bring their vehicles inside, he may have civil remedy. Learned counsel for the Respondent No.2 makes a statement that he has already filed a civil suit which is pending.

6. In view of the contents of the FIR, I find that prima facie no offence of wrongful restraint under section 339 punishable under section 341 of the Indian Penal Code has been made out. Therefore, it appears that the police wrongly registered the offence and therefore, it is liable to be quashed.

7. Therefore, the Petition is allowed. The FIR Crime No.28 of 2009 registered under section 341 read with section 34 of the Indian Penal Code against the Petitioners with Kalachowki Police Station is hereby quashed. Rule made absolute accordingly.

Petition allowed.