Bombay High Court Rebukes ED for Overnight Interrogation, Asserts Sleep as a Fundamental Human Right

The Bombay High Court on Monday delivered a stern rebuke to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for conducting an overnight interrogation of an elderly businessman involved in a money laundering case, declaring sleep as a fundamental human right.

The court, consisting of Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Manjusha Deshpande, made this remark while hearing a petition filed by 64-year-old Ram Israni, who challenged his arrest in a money laundering case. Israni had been summoned to the ED’s office on August 7, 2023, where he was interrogated throughout the night until the early hours of the next morning before being arrested.

During the hearing, the court criticized the practice of recording statements at night, suggesting it could impair the individual’s ability to think and understand clearly, and called for an end to such practices. Despite dismissing Israni’s petition, the court condemned the method of his interrogation, which lasted until 3:30 AM, labeling it a violation of human rights regardless of whether the petitioner consented to the timing.

The court highlighted that the right to sleep is an essential human need and depriving someone of it constitutes a violation of their human rights. In response to the events surrounding Israni’s case, the justices proposed issuing a directive or circular to the ED on the appropriate times for recording statements post-summons.

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The case has been scheduled for further compliance on September 9, as the court seeks to ensure that law enforcement practices align with respect for fundamental human rights, reinforcing the judiciary’s commitment to uphold dignity and justice even during criminal investigations.

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