The Delhi high court on December 15 permitted licensed cross-gender massage spas to function all over the national capital even after it labelled all illegal spas offering prostitution services as "unfortunate" in the city.
According to an interim order, justice Rekha Palli stated that just because the Delhi police and the municipal corporations were unsuccessful to keep a check on the prostitution rackets operating in the backdrop of spas, however, there was no concrete link between the absolute ban and preventing prostitution at spas.
Cross-Gender Massages Banned
"I am, however, of the prima facie view that merely because the corporations and Delhi Police have not been able to take effective steps to ensure that no illegal spas are operated in Delhi and the ones holding licenses do not indulge in any illegal activity whatsoever, this kind of absolute ban on cross-gender massages cannot be said to have any reasonable connection with the aim of the policy which purpose thereof seems to be regulation of the spas and ensure that no illegal trafficking or prostitution takes place in the city," the court was quoted as saying in a verbal order by a Hindustan Times report.
What's The Plea?
The High Court was hearing petitions filed by owners of numerous spa centers and therapists challenging the Arvind Kejriwal-led government's policy guideline forbidding cross-gender massages. The Delhi court further stated that the decision to implement a complete ban was framed without consulting with any professionals involved in the spa services division. Furthermore, it added that the livelihood of individuals was getting affected by this new rule and such a ban could not be continued.
It also urged the three municipal corporations and the Delhi police to scrutinize areas under their jurisdiction in 7 days and take all necessary actions to shut down all unlicensed spas. Meanwhile, it asserted that during instances of any illegality, the city police will need to register appropriate cases and instantly pass the information for action to the municipal bodies. Senior advocate Rahul Mehra, while appearing for the Delhi government, informed the high court that the ban was to protect children and women from the danger of prostitution at spas.