SC's wake-up call: Sleep a fundamental right | delhi | Hindustan Times
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SC's wake-up call: Sleep a fundamental right

Unlawfully depriving a person of sleep is a violation of his or her fundamental right, the Supreme Court has ruled.

delhi Updated: Feb 25, 2012 01:45 IST
Satya Prakash

Unlawfully depriving a person of sleep is a violation of his or her fundamental right, the Supreme Court has ruled.

Justice BS Chauhan, who was part of the court bench that on Thursday ordered action against police personnel responsible for the midnight crackdown on yoga guru Ramdev’s supporters here on June 4-5, 2011, described the police action as “torturous” and a violation of a fundamental human right.

He said the police action against sleeping people was unjustifiable as “a sleeping crowd cannot be included within the bracket of an unlawful category unless there is sufficient material to brand it as such”.

Describing a sleeping person as “half dead”, with his or her mental faculties in an inactive state, he said, “The part played by the police and the administration shows outrageous behaviour, which cannot be justified by law in any civilised society.”

Justice Chauhan said in his judgment, “An individual is entitled to sleep as comfortably and as freely as he breathes. Sleep is essential for a human being to maintain the delicate balance of health necessary for its very existence and survival. Sleep is, therefore, a fundamental and basic requirement without which the existence of life itself would be in peril.”

“To disturb sleep, therefore, would amount to torture, which is now accepted as a violation of a human right… similar to a third-degree method that at times is sought to be justified as necessary police action to extract the truth out of an accused involved in heinous and cold-blooded crimes,” he said.