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How False imprisonment falls in the purview of principal of Injuria Sine Damnum?

In the case referred as Bhim Singh v. State of Jammu & Kashmir, Bhim Singh is an Indian politician, who was holding the position of an M.L.A. in 1985 in the Jammu and Kashmir National Panther Party. He won the election of 2002 on the behalf of his party. This case is a landmark judgement in the field of “Law of Torts” regarding the Legal Maxim of “Injuria Sine Damnum”, principle of “False Imprisonment” and the principle of “Vicarious Liability” in respect to the malicious act done by the government employees in violation of Fundamental Rights of a person and not following the appropriate procedure defined by the law.


1. Mr. Bhim Singh, M.L.A. of state of Jammu and Kashmir was arrested and detained by the police headquarter officer of Qazi Kunda Police Station at about 3 am on the intervening night of 9-10 September while he was travelling to Shimla and was intentionally prevented from attending the session of Legislative Assembly which was held on 11th September, 1985.
2. His wife has filed a writ petition of Habeas Corpus on the behalf of him under Article 32 of Constitution of India.
3. On 17th August, 1985 which was the first day of the budget session, he was suspended from the legislative assembly after which he questioned his suspension in the High Court of Jammu but the order for his suspension stayed there till 9th september, 1985.
4. The reason which is given by police for the arrest was that a FIR was lodged against him in the Qazi Kunda Police station under section 153A of Ranbir Penal Code as it was alleged that he had delivered inflammatory and seditious speech near parade ground in Jammu on 8th september, 1985.
5. He was not even produced before Magistrate till 13th september, 1985 while according to the due procedure of law he should have been produced before the magistrate within 24 hours of arrest.
6. There was a voting session in the Legislative assembly in which his vote was crucial but he was not allowed to travel by the police officials but the candidate that he wanted to give the vote won, but legally his right to vote was infringed.
7. On the enquiry by the Apex Court, it was found that he was illegally detained because there was either collusion of the magistrate or the irresponsible behaviour as he was not even produced before him and the magistrate has given his remand to the police.
8. It had certainly been a gross violation of the constitutional rights of the accused person under article 21 and 22(2).

Whether the detention of M.L.A. was illegal and can be considered as False Imprisonment?


Petitioner argued the opposition parties with the denial of presenting the accused before the magistrate on 11th september and the sub-judge on 13th september. The petitioner also contended that no medical examination was done and there was no medical certificate as such which was used for extending the remand by one day with the authority of sub-judge.
This was also accepted that he was presented in front of the sub-judge on 14th september and remanded for 2 days of judicial custody. Also, it was accepted that he was presented before the Additional Sessions Judge and granted bail.
It was also included that he was harassed brutally under the police custody by the police officials.

The police officials contented that they received a call from the police control room telling about the arrest of the accused and taking the accused to the police headquarter as per the guidelines given by the officers and giving him all the necessary facilities.
Officers accepted that the accused travelled through the region safely and then, the remand has been given by the magistrate on 11th september and by the sub-judge on 13th september. After the expiry of the medical demand, the arrested person was presented in front of the magistrate on 14th september. On 16th september, he was presented before Additional Sessions Judge where the bail was granted to him.

The Supreme Court after taking into consideration all the facts and the arguments of both the counsels observed that the authorities which have powers to protect the public’s fundamental rights act in a very arbitrary and irresponsible manner and if this can happen with a person like Member of Legislative Assembly, then the general public can’t be considered as safe. The Supreme Court Hon’ble Justice O Chinnappa Reddy criticised the conduct of the government officials and also observed that the detention was illegal and the police officials has malicious intentions towards Mr Bhim Singh.
The court ruled that there is a gross violation of Article 21 and Article 22(2) and the M.L.A. must be appropriately compensated with Rs.50000 by the State of Jammu and Kashmir within two months of the day of the judgement i.e., 22 November 1985.

Note:- The power to grant appropriate compensation is enshrined under article 32(2) of the Constitution of India and it was first granted in Rudul Shah v. State of Bihar.

This is a landmark case which evolved the tort law in India. This case deals mainly with the principles of False Imprisonment and Injuria Sine Damnum. The Supreme court gave a laudable decision by which it shows that in the view of the judiciary, both the public and the state are equal by giving the order to compensate Mr. Bhim Singh with Rs. 50,000. The compensation was paid by the state under the principle of Vicarious Liability as the officials which are working under the state, violated fundamental rights under Article 21 of the petitioner. We can also conclude that restricting someone from exercising their rights freely causes False Imprisonment to the person. The infringed rights can be enforced by the help of Writs given under Article 32 and Article 226 of the Constitution of India by Supreme Court and High Courts respectively.


Written by Mayank Saraswat, a student of Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow

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