Decide on reopening of spas, HC tells govt
The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the Delhi government to take a fresh decision on the reopening of the spas, while seeking to know as to why these facilities can’t be opened at a time when salons are operating.
Justice Navin Chawla said there is prima facie merit in the submission made by the counsel for various spa owners that if salons, which are offering similar services, can be allowed to function, then why not spas.
The court was hearing two pleas moved by multiple people running spas, which have been shut since the first lockdown was enforced in Delhi. They said when businesses such as salons, gyms, restaurants and bars have been granted permission to reopen, and even Delhi Metro has restarted, then spas should also be allowed.
The petitioners said spas in other states are running with full safety measures but are not permitted in Delhi.
The Delhi government’s standing counsels Anjum Javed and Anupam Shrivastava told the court that spas are not allowed because of the surge in Covid-19 infections.
The government said a final decision on the reopening of spas is awaited from the ministry of home affairs (MHA). It said even the lieutenant-governor (LG) had declined to grant the permission as cases are increasing and no physical distancing is possible in spas.
The counsels for spa owners said guidelines issued by the Centre permit spas to open, subject to maintenance of social distancing and other Covid-19 appropriate behaviour.
But they said the Delhi government was not permitting them to operate even though salons, restaurants and every other business has been allowed in the national capital.
“Even salons are open. They have similar work as that of spas. Everything is open. Even today, they said there would be no night curfew because cases have come down,” they said.
The spa owners argued that the six-feet distance norm cannot be maintained even in salons but they are allowed.
The Centre, who was represented by advocate Anjana Gosain, clarified that all activities that have not been specifically prohibited under its guidelines are allowed to operate outside containment zones. It said now states have to decide what should be allowed.
After hearing the arguments, the court said it found merit in the submissions made by the petitioner and asked the Delhi government to file an affidavit within a week, taking a fresh decision on the reopening of spas.
The matter would be now heard on December 16.
There was no response from the Delhi government spokesperson on the queries.