An important highlight on False Imprisonment

False Imprisonment
False imprisonment

False imprisonment:

is a restraint of the liberty of a person, for however short a time, without lawful excuse.

To constitute this wrong two thing are necessary:

1-The total restraint of the liberty of a person.

2-The detention must be unlawful.


In the case of Bird v. Jones MQB. 742, Coleridge, J. said: A person may have its boundary large or narrow, visible and tangible or though real, still in the conception only; it may itself be movable or fixed; but a boundary it must have ; and that boundary the party imprisoned must be prevented from passing ; he must be prevented from leaving that place, within the ambit of which the party imprisoning would confine him, except by person breach.


Pointing out person to be arrested:

In the leading case of West v. Smallwood, it was held that where a party lays a complaint before a magistrate on a subject matter over which he has a general jurisdiction and the magistrate grants a warrant upon which the party charged is arrested, the party laying the complaint is not liable as a trespasser, although the particular case be one in which the magistrate had no authority to act. But, where the complainant having accompanied the constable charged with the execution of the warrant, pointed out to him, the person to be arrested. It was held that this was evidence of a participation in the arrest. Where a person gets another arrested by the police on a false by their agents gave plaintiff into custody thinking that the plaintiff was guilty of theft. The agent signed the charge sheet and, in his evidence, stated I did give him in charge. It was held that this amounted to false imprisonment


Lawful detention:

If a wrong person is arrested and imprisoned under a decree to which he was no party, the person setting the court in motion is not liable for such arrest and imprisonment if he did not obtain the process fraudulently or improperly. Where the plaintiff’s imprisonment took place under a warrant of the Bombay small cause court issued in a regular manner such court being of competent jurisdiction, the plaintiff was held to have no cause of action against the defendant who got him arrested bub a bailiff.


A woman suspected of theft in a large department store was arrested outside by store detectives and taken back into the shop where the managing director considered the case and having decided to prosecute immediately sent for the police officers to whom she was given in charge. It was held that in as much as she was not detained beyond a reasonable time for the managing director to make his decision. The owners of the shop were not liable in damages for false imprisonment.



If a person is unlawfully imprisoned, he may use force to release himself. False imprisonment is and actionable wrong.

In a suit for false imprisonment it is incumbent upon the defendant to prove either that he did not arrest or cause the arrest of the plaintiff or that the offence was cognizable and non bailable and had been committed in his presence. If the defendant satisfies the court as to either of these propositions the plaintiff claim must fail. It is not essential that a private individual in whose presence a non bailable and cognizable offence is committed should himself physically arrest the offender to be arrested by another person.

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