‘Right to Sleep as a Fundamental Right
An Analysis vis-à-vis the Ramlila Maidan Case’
Volume III, Issue II, 2020
For a long time, the Indian judiciary has debated as to which rights should be included within the ambit of fundamental rights, particularly within the scope of Article 21, the right to life. It has already been established by previous judgments that life does not mean merely an animal existence – it should be a quality human life. In this paper, the inclusion of right to sleep within the ambit of right to life has been discussed, with special reference to the 2011 case of Re-Ramlila Maidan Incident Dt. 4/5.06.2011 vs Home Secretary and Ors. In this case, the police force brutally drove away the sleeping followers of Baba Ramdev at 1 a.m., which necessitated the discussion about sleep as a part and parcel of life.
After the incident, the question arose as to whether the state should consider the sleep schedule of people as an important factor while administering justice, and to what extent. The police attempted to defend their actions by a number of legislations, such as, the Criminal Procedure Code and the Constitution of India itself, which imposes reasonable restrictions on the exercise of a person’s fundamental rights. The Supreme Court of India, in this case, embarked to decide upon the balance between the right to sleep of the people and the maintenance of peace by the state, and provided a landmark judgment. This research provides a thorough analysis of the facts and arguments of the case, along with the Court’s rationale behind the judgment. It also comprehensively discusses the various important features of the fundamental rights, with special reference to the right to sleep.