Depriving sleep is violation of fundamental rights: SC

 The Supreme Court today took strong objection to the Delhi Police's mid-night crackdown on yoga guru Ramdev's supporters saying unlawfully depriving a person from sleep is a violation of his fundamental rights.

"Deprivation of sleep has tumultuous adverse effects. It causes a stir and disturbs the quiet and peace of an individual's physical state. A natural process which is inherent in a human being, if disturbed, obviously affects basic life.

"It is for this reason that if a person is deprived of sleep, the effect thereof, is treated to be torturous. To take away the right of natural rest is also, therefore, violation of human rights. It becomes a violation of a fundamental right when it is disturbed intentionally, unlawfully and for no justification," Justice B S Chauhan said in his judgement.

Justice Chauhan wrote a separate judgement concurring with the findings of Justice Swatanter Kumar who had taken suo motu cognizance of media reports of the mid-night crackdown on Ramdev and his supporters on June 4-5 last year.

Justice Chauhan said the action of the police against the sleeping people could not be justified as "a sleeping crowd cannot be included within the bracket of an unlawful category unless there is sufficient material to brand it as such".
He said "the part played by the police and the administration shows the outrageous behaviour which cannot be justified by law in any civilized society".

Justice Chauhan said a sleeping person is "half dead" with his mental faculties are in an inactive state."If sleep is disturbed, the mind gets disoriented and it disrupts the health cycle. If this disruption is brought about in odd hours preventing an individual from getting normal sleep, it also causes energy disbalance, indigestion and also affects cardiovascular health," Justice Chauhan said.

He said sleep's deprivation would result in "mental and physical torture" which has a wide range of negative effects.

"It also impairs the normal functioning and performance of an individual which is compulsory in day-to-day life of a human being," he said.

"Sleep, therefore, is a self-rejuvenating element of our life cycle and is, therefore, part and partial of human life. The disruption of sleep is to deprive a person of a basic priority, resulting in adverse metabolic effects. It is a medicine for weariness which, if impeded, would lead to disastrous results," the judge said.

The judge said a person, therefore, cannot be presumed to be engaged in a criminal activity when asleep.

"To presume that a person was scheming to disrupt public peace while asleep would be unjust and would be entering into the dreams of that person," the judge said.

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