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May 11, 2024

What is Wrongful Confinement? Section 340 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)

Section 340 of the IPC defines the offence of wrongful confinement. It essentially means illegally restricting someone’s movement.

Key Points:

  • The act of preventing someone from proceeding in a direction they have a right to go constitutes wrongful confinement.
  • There’s no requirement for complete imprisonment; even restricting movement within a limited area can be wrongful confinement.
  • No physical force is necessary. Threats, intimidation, or even psychological manipulation can be used to confine someone wrongfully.


  • Locking someone in a room (classic example).
  • Blocking someone’s exit from a building.
  • Threatening someone with violence to prevent them from leaving a place.
  • Detaining someone in a store on suspicion of shoplifting without reasonable cause.

Important Distinction:

Wrongful confinement is different from kidnapping (Section 362, IPC). Kidnapping involves taking someone away from a lawful guardian or place against their will, often with the intent to harm or extort. Wrongful confinement can happen without any intent to remove someone from a place, just restricting their movement within that location.

Related Case Laws:

  • Khatri Bai v. State of Maharashtra (1978): This case established that wrongful confinement can occur even within one’s own home if someone is prevented from leaving a specific room.
  • Sushila Devi v. State (2000): This case highlighted that detaining a customer in a shop on mere suspicion of theft, without reasonable cause, amounts to wrongful confinement.


Wrongful confinement is punishable with imprisonment for up to one year, or a fine of Rs1000, or both (Section 342, IPC).

Section 342 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) deals with the punishment for wrongful confinement, which is defined in Section 340 of the IPC.

 Section 342:

  • Wording: “Whoever wrongfully confines any person shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.”

Key Points:

  • This section specifies the penalty for the crime of wrongful confinement as established in Section 340.

The punishment can be:

Imprisonment: Up to one year. This can be simple imprisonment or rigorous imprisonment, depending on the court’s discretion.

Fine: Up to Rs1,000.

Both Imprisonment and Fine: The court can impose both imprisonment and a fine.

Nature of the Offense:

  • Section 342 makes it clear that wrongful confinement is a criminal offense.
  • It deters people from illegally restricting another person’s movement.

Additional Information:

  • Cognizable: The offense under Section 342 is cognizable, meaning a police officer can arrest the accused without a warrant.
  • Bailable: The offense is bailable, meaning the accused can apply for bail after arrest.
  • Compoundable: With the permission of the court and the victim’s consent, the offense can be compounded, meaning the case can be settled outside the court by the parties involved.

Understanding Section 342 in conjunction with Section 340 provides a complete picture of the legal implications of wrongful confinement in India. It protects individuals’ freedom of movement and establishes a penalty for those who violate this right.




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