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Delhi HC issues notice to police for shutting down spa despite court order

The Court has issued notice to the respondents and sought their reply before the next date of hearing 18.02.2021.

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The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notice to Delhi Police on a petition filed by the owner of a spa-cum-wellness centre alleging that despite orders of the High Court for opening of spas in Delhi, the Delhi Police has harassed him and shut down his spa.

A single-judge bench of Justice Najmi Waziri has noted, despite the clear order of the High Court, the SHO Punjabi Bagh and the Head Constable were abusive in their conduct, forced the spa to shut down and the SHO went on to arrest the manager of the spa.

The Court has issued notice to the respondents and sought their reply before the next date of hearing on February 18.

The petition has been filed by a owner of a spa-cum-wellness centre. He has contended that his spa was shut down and non-operational for many months due to the pandemic lockdown.

It is only last month, the Delhi High Court has permitted operations and running of spas with effect from 14.01.2021. He opened the spa on 16.01.2021, following which the SHO of the Police Station Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi along with Head Constable Sandeep, allegedly harassed him and forced him to shut down his spa, stated in the plea.

The Court has noted in its order that the petitioner has been permitted to open and operate the Spa in terms of the Order dated 14.01.2021 passed by the Court in WPC No 7366/2020.

The Court in its order dated 14.01.2021, had said, this Court is of the opinion that the slight difference in the nature of services and a slightly higher percentage of risk due to the proximity of the client and the service provider can be obviated by prescribing stricter measures and safeguards rather than continuing to keep such establishments closed. It also cannot be lost sight of that several salons also provide services akin to those provided in spas. Thus, the difference between the services provided in Salons and Spas is very minimal. Both these services require service providers and service takers to remain in close proximity for a sufficient duration. Thus, while allowing the opening of salons, continuing the embargo on spas would be violative of the rights of these establishments and their employees.”

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It had further noted in its order, accordingly, this Court permits the reopening of spas, wellness clinics and similar establishments, in the GNCTD, subject to the following conditions:

i. There shall be strict compliance of the conditions specified in the office memorandum of 18th November, 2020 prescribed by the MoHFW in respect of spas, which is extracted above. The 6 feet distance shall be in general maintained between clients and employees. Insofar as the service providers i.e., therapists etc., are concerned, they shall maintain all standards of hygiene, masking etc., as set out below;

ii. In addition, considering the nature of services provided in spas, all employees in such establishments shall undergo fortnightly RTPCR tests, especially the therapists who are likely to come in close contact with the clients.

iii. All therapists and other employees, as also the visitors, shall be subjected to thermal temperature checks and if anyone shows any symptoms, they would not be permitted entry in the establishment

iv. All service providers shall wear face shields and masks while providing therapy. For treatments which are longer than thirty minutes, a PPE kit should also be worn in addition.

v. Clients should preferably wear masks to the extent possible, considering the nature of services which are availed of.

vi. All visitors/clients shall sign a declaration form to the effect that they have not contracted Covid-19 and if they have, they have tested negative. The establishments are permitted to take a written consent form accepting the risks that may be involved for clients/visitors.

vii. Tools including clothing, other apparel, towels etc., used for clients, shall be sanitised after each and every treatment

viii. It shall be ensured that hygienic conditions are maintained in the spas and any other safeguards in force for salons shall also be adhered to by the spas.

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“Subject to the above conditions being adhered to by spas, wellness clinics and similar establishments, the said establishments are permitted to be opened. The petitions are allowed III the above terms and all pending applications are disposed of…,”

-said the Court.

JUSTICE-NAJMI-WAZIRI

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