RIGHT TO SLEEP: A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT
INTRODUCTION: The Supreme Court of India indicted the Delhi Police for midnight crackdown on the sleeping supporters of Yoga Guru Ramdev on June,4, 2011. It said that the Police abused their powers and acted arbitrarily in using batons and teargas to evict the agitators from the Ramlila Ground in Delhi. The Police being protectors of the Society can not take recourse to such illegal acts . The Bench recommended criminal prosecution and disciplinary action against erring police personnel. The Court described the Police action “as striking at the foundation of Democracy”. The Court held the Police act to be unjustifiable. The Police was let loose on innocent persons, violating their fundamental right.
The Courts in the past had declared the Domiciliary visits of the Police unconstitutional infringing the “ Right to Privacy”. Such rights like “ Right to Privacy “ and “ Right to sleep” have not been specifically mentioned in the Constitution as Fundamental Rights. These are derivative rights emanating from the specifically mentioned Fundamental Right of “ Life and Personal Liberty” mentioned in Art. 21 of the Constitution of India. Law enjoins a duty upon the protectors of law not to deprive a person of his “ life or personal liberty” without the procedure established by law. This is no procedure prescribed by law to attack the sleeping supporters & peaceful demonstrators of Baba Ramdev that also at mid-night. Everybody has a right to protest in a peaceful way in a Democracy. Such attacks are not only condemnable by any civilized society but at the same time are also required not to be repeated in future.
REASON FOR THE POLICE ACTION: The Court opined that the Documents on record showed that some of the Police personnel certainly abused their authority, were unduly harsh and violent towards the people present at the Ramlila Maidan. The Police and the State could have avoided the tragic restraint, patience and resilience. The Orders were passed by the Police in “ undue haste” and were executed with force and over-jealousness, as if an emergent situation existed. The Court did not accept the plea of “ threat perception from the IB “ and held that it should have exercised reasonable restraint even while acting on these, instead of going there and taking the kinds of action that was undertaken. The Police has also been directed to compensate the victims of the violence.
CONCLUSION:- Unlawfully depriving a person of sleep is a violation of his or her fundamental right. The Police action was tortuous and a violation of a fundamental human right. The Police action against sleeping people was unjustifiable as “ a sleeping crowd can not be included within the bracket of an unlawful category unless there is sufficient material to brand it as such”. “ 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, justified as necessary police action to extract the truth out of an accused involved in heinous and cold-blooded crimes”, one judge of the Court opined.