Expect Delhi govt to take decision on opening spas:HC

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New Delhi, Jul 20 (PTI) The Delhi High Court Tuesday said it expect that Delhi government will take a final decision within two or three days on the issue of re-opening of spas in the national capital by imposing strict conditions in line with COVID-19 guidelines.

The high court said spas can be allowed to start subject to conditions such as permitting only vaccinated employees and client and curtailing the number of persons at a time.

Justice Rekha Palli, who was hearings pleas to reopen spas which have been shut since April on account of the second wave of COVID-19, said that if no decision is taken by the next date of hearing on July 27, the issue would be heard by the court.

'If they don't take a decision, we will see. I have given an indication,' the judge said.

Delhi government advocate Naushad Ahmed Khan asked the court to defer the hearing and informed that issue of re-opening spas was under active consideration and the relevant file had been sent to the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi who is the chairperson of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority.

Taking note of the submission, the court said “while adjourning the matter, it expected that the respondent will take a final decision within 2-3 days and will take into consideration the fact that conditions such as permitting only vaccinated employees and clients as also curtailing the number of persons who can use the spa at a time will be considered.” Advocate Manik Dogra, appearing for one of the parties -- Delhi Wellness Spa Association, urged the court to intervene as he contended that the government did not want to take any steps towards opening spas.

'I represent of association of 300 plus owners. Livelihood of 30,000 people is at stake,' Dogra submitted as he assured that the spas would comply with any condition imposed for opening.

Advocate Devesh Vashishth, representing two spa owners who have also preferred a petition, highlighted that on July 5, the court had given a week's time to Delhi government to take a decision.

'We are aware of the court's orders. Matter is in the domain of experts. Let them decide,' Khan responded adding that schools, colleges, courts have not opened.

'There is no social distancing in spas', he further submitted.

In its petition filed through HD Thanvi & Associates, the Association has submitted that it is aggrieved by the arbitrary, unlawful, and unwarranted and in-ordinate delay in not opening the spas in the national capital. The petition stated that while all similar activities have been permitted to be opened, such as gym and salon, Delhi government is yet to permit spas to once again start their operation. On July 5, the court had sought response of the Delhi government and the Centre on the plea filed by owners of two spa centers, alleging inordinate delay in issuing guidelines to reopen spa centres after their closure in April.

The court said that it expected Delhi government to be ready with an explanation as to why spas were not permitted to be open in spite of a January order which directed the reopening of spa centers closed during the first wave of the pandemic. In the January order, the court stated that the slightly higher percentage of risk due to the proximity of the client and the service provider in spas could be obviated by prescribing stricter measures and safeguards rather than continuing to keep such establishments closed. PTI ADS RKS RKS

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