If saloons can run, why not spas: HC asks AAP govt

If saloons are working, then why not spas, asked the Delhi High Court while telling the AAP government on Friday to re-look its decision prohibiting the operation of spas in the national capital.

The query was posed to the Delhi government by Justice Navin Chawla who said prima facie there is a merit in the submission of the spa owners that if saloons are allowed to operate, then they too should be permitted to function.

The court directed the Delhi government to take a fresh decision with regard to running of spas based on the submissions made by its owners and file an affidavit within a week indicating what it has decided.

With the direction, the court listed the matter for further hearing on December 16.

The court was hearing two pleas moved by several persons who run spas which have been shut since the first lockdown was enforced in Delhi.

During the hearing, the spa owners contended that the guidelines issued by the Centre have permitted spas to open subject to maintenance of social distancing and other COVID-19 appropriate behaviour.

However, the Delhi government was not permitting them to operate, even though saloons, restaurants and every other business has been allowed in the national capital, they contended before the court.

The Centre also made it clear that all activities which have not been specifically prohibited under its guidelines are allowed to operate outside containment zones.

The Delhi government, on the other hand, claimed that it was not allowing spas to reopen in view of prevailing COVID-19 numbers in the city.

Another reason given by it was that employees in spas would not be able to maintain the six feet distance, as required under the norms, from the customers/clients.

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The Delhi government further told the court that even the Lt Governor has declined to relax the prohibitions on the operation of spas.

The spa owners, however, contended that even in saloons the six feet distance cannot be maintained, so how were they being allowed to operate.

They alleged that the Delhi government was discriminating against them as only their businesses have not been permitted to reopen.

The court had on November 24 asked the Delhi government what was so special about spas that they were not being allowed to open even though everything else like markets, gyms, restaurants, metro and buses was operational in the city.

In one of the pleas, filed through advocates Rajeshwar Dagar and Himanshu Dagar, the spa owners have contended that they have been trained as professional therapists under the National Skills Development Mission launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

They have further contended that when a maximum number of businesses, like salons, gyms, restaurants and bars, have been granted permission to reopen and even Delhi Metro has been restarted, then why not the spas.

The petitioners have claimed that the spas in other states are running with full safety measures, but are not permitted in Delhi.

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