Spa raids: HC closes contempt as Chennai commissioner of police apologises – Times of India

Chennai News

Chennai: Conceding that rules preceding police raids at spas had not been followed last year, the Chennai city commissioner of police, Shankar Jiwal, has tendered an unconditional apology to Madras high court.
“It is submitted with greatest humility that I have always had the deepest and highest regard for this court and have always ensured the compliance of all the orders of this court in their letter and spirit. As the head of Greater Chennai City Police, I tender unconditional apology to this court on behalf of the city police for not following the court order and conducting surprise check without adhering to the procedure mandated under Section 15 of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956,” commissioner Jiwal said through an affidavit.
The issue pertains to a contempt of court plea moved by Hema Jwaalini, owner of Willows Spa Private Limited, against the commissioner and at least a dozen inspectors of police in the city for wilful disobedience of court orders.
Hema, who runs 13 spas across the city, submitted that on order March 15, 2021 the court had made it clear that any business establishment which conducted business without obtaining trade license, could be taken cognizance only by the corporation of Chennai and action could be initiated by the corporation in this regard.
Police will have no role to play insofar as running the business establishments without a trade license. The role of the police kicks in only when there is an offence under the Trafficking Act. It is only when a specific complaint is received by the police, they should act upon the same in strict compliance with the relevant enactment, she pointed out from the order.
However, in gross violation of the order, the city police are conducting surprise raids in her spas and taken away spa therapists working in the spas under the guise of inquiry, she alleged.
When the plea came up for hearing before Justice N Anand Venkatesh, the commissioner submitted that keeping in mind the order of the court a circular and a standard operating procedure (SOP) had been prepared and circulated. It will be implemented by police officers concerned with strict supervision and any deviation and non-adherence of the instructions will attract severe departmental action against those concerned, the commissioner said. It has been envisaged to review the cases through the deputy commissioners concerned, every month, to avoid any violations or deviance in future, he said.
Recording the submissions, the court disposed of the contempt petition.