High Court Directs ED to Respect Sleep as a Basic Human Right

The court denied his petition but criticized the practice, claiming it violates the fundamental human right to sleep
The bench, including Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Manjusha Deshpande, emphasized the right to sleep as a fundamental human right. (Representational image: Wikimedia commons)
The bench, including Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Manjusha Deshpande, emphasized the right to sleep as a fundamental human right. (Representational image: Wikimedia commons)

The Bombay High Court has ruled that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) must record statements within normal hours in response to a complaint brought by 64-year-old Ram Issrani. Issrani claimed that he was being interrogated in a money laundering case for the whole night. The court denied his petition but criticized the practice, claiming it violates the fundamental human right to sleep.

The bench, including Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Manjusha Deshpande, emphasized the right to sleep as a fundamental human right, highlighting its negative impact on health and cognitive abilities. They also ruled that recording statements during unearthly hours violates sleep, regardless of consent, and dismissed Issrani's alleged consent to overnight questioning.

Recording of statements at unearthly hours, definitely results in deprivation of a person’s sleep, a basic human right of an individual. We disapprove this practice.
Bombay High Court Bench of Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Manjusha Deshpande

The court dismissed the ED's argument that Issrani had agreed to late-night interrogation, stating that it undermines human rights. The court directed the ED to issue directives specifying appropriate recording times for summons, aiming to prevent interrogation during hours that may impair cognitive skills, thereby ensuring the safety of individuals.

The court ruled that individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty and that the investigating agency must have a valid reason to suspect an offense before interrogation. The bench acknowledged Issrani's past cooperation with the ED, suggesting alternative arrangements could have been made. Despite his stated consent, the court criticized the practice of conducting interrogations at late hours.

The High Court criticized the practice of questioning individuals during late hours, which leads to sleep deprivation. (Representational image: Unsplash)
The High Court criticized the practice of questioning individuals during late hours, which leads to sleep deprivation. (Representational image: Unsplash)

Impact on Cognitive Skills

The court highlighted that a lack of sleep can harm a person's mental abilities. They explained that when someone is deprived of sleep, it can affect their cognitive skills, which include thinking, learning, and decision-making. This means that staying awake for prolonged periods, especially during the night, can impair a person's ability to function effectively and make sound judgments.

Deprivation of Sleep Rights

The High Court criticized the practice of questioning individuals during late hours, which leads to sleep deprivation. They noted that when someone is called upon for questioning, they should not be deprived of their right to sleep for an unreasonable amount of time. This means that investigative agencies should schedule interviews and statements during reasonable hours, allowing individuals to maintain their sleep patterns and overall well-being.

Disapproval of Questioning Practices

The court expressed disapproval of the Enforcement Directorate's practice of interrogating individuals throughout the night. They emphasized that recording statements at unearthly hours is unacceptable and goes against the principles of human rights. This means that agencies like the ED should refrain from conducting interviews and investigations during late hours to ensure that individuals' rights, including the right to sleep, are respected.

Importance of Earthly Hours

The High Court stressed the importance of conducting interviews and recording statements during earthly hours, meaning reasonable times of the day. They stated that statements should not be recorded during the night when a person's cognitive abilities may be impaired due to a lack of sleep. This means that scheduling interviews and investigations during daytime hours ensures that individuals are in a better mental state to provide accurate information and cooperate with authorities.

Health Implications of Sleep Deprivation

Lack of sleep can seriously affect a person's health. When someone doesn't get enough sleep, it can mess with their mental abilities and physical well-being. It might make them feel tired and grumpy during the day, and over time, it could even cause more serious health issues.

For instance, it can mess with a person's ability to think clearly and make good decisions. It can also impact their mood and increase the risk of things like depression and anxiety. Plus, it can weaken the immune system, making it easier to get sick. So, getting enough sleep is super important for staying healthy and feeling good.

When it comes to depriving someone of sleep, whether they agree to it or not doesn't matter. Even if someone says it's okay to keep them up late, it's still not right to do it. The court made it clear that even if someone agrees to have their statement recorded late at night, it's still not okay because everyone has a basic right to sleep. So, even if someone says it's fine to question them late, it's still against their human rights.

As a whole, the Bombay High Court's decision emphasizes the importance of respecting individuals' right to sleep and highlights the need for investigative authorities to conduct interrogation during normal hours. By stressing fundamental human rights, the court establishes a standard for protecting dignity and equity in legal procedures.

(Rehash/ Susmita Bhandary)

The bench, including Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Manjusha Deshpande, emphasized the right to sleep as a fundamental human right. (Representational image: Wikimedia commons)
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