Company employees booked for blocking traffic get HC relief

An unusual action by Thane Police — of booking a transport company for "wrongful confinement" after its trailer broke down in the middle of a road and blocked traffic — has failed to stand the scrutiny of Bombay HC.

Right tyre of the trailer got punctured on Kharegaon Bridge at about 9 am on August 22. As the driver was not carrying a spare and the main office of the company was in Panvel, it took about three hours to get the trailer moving, causing a traffic jam in the area.

Subsequently, Kalwa Police registered an FIR under IPC section 341 (wrongful confinement) in which they named driver Ashokkumar Dhanpalsingh, company manager Shrikant Powar and director G S Arora.

Persons held guilty under this section can be put behind bars for up to a month.

Hearing a petition filed by the three accused, a division bench of Justices Oka and Sadhana Jadhav said, "It (confinement) entails an intentional wrongful restraint by threat of personal violence or curtailing liberty of a person. In the present case, it appears from the allegations made in the first information report that there was obstruction of passage of vehicles due to reasons beyond the control of the driver of the trailer. No voluntary act is attributable to the driver by which he intended to obstruct the passage of traffic."

The judges held that the driver did not obstruct the right of the public to use the road in any unlawful manner.

The court, however, declined to interfere with imposition of section 191 of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. The section deals with sale or delivery of vehicles which will create obstacles in free movement of traffic and imposes a fine of Rs 500.

IPC says

Whoever wrongfully restrains any person in such a manner as to prevent that person from proceedings beyond certain circumscribing limits is said to "wrongfully confine" that person"

... contd.

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