Today's Paper

HC directive to police on massage centres

: The police should not, as a matter of routine and without any basis, raid or interfere with the business of beauty parlours or massage centres and spas, the Madras High Court has said.

In specific cases, where police had reasonable grounds to believe that an offence under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act had been committed, they could take action after scrupulously following all steps indicated in Section 15 of the legislation.

As there was no law in the country to regulate these centres, based on the legislations in various States of the U.S. and the Singapore legislation, a subordinate legislation in terms of the Chennai City Municipal Corporation Act or the Chennai City Police Act could be introduced. This is to ensure that public order, decency and morality, which could form the basis of a regulatory law, are taken care of.

Justice V.Ramasubramanian passed the order on a batch of writ petitions by S. Rangaraj and others. The petitioners were all running beauty parlous/massage centres/spas in and around Chennai.

Their main grievance was that the police conducted regular raids on their premises on the suspicion that immoral trafficking activities were being carried out. They prayed the court to restrain the police from interfering with their business.

The Judge said the police contended that there were about 225 salons, spas and massage centres in the city. So far, only 17 cases had been registered under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act. It was not known whether the police actually followed the steps indicated in the law. If the police carried out a search of the premises by following all steps, the petitioners could not have come up with the petitions, but may have to seek redress elsewhere. If they violated the provision, then the same would be tantamount to an unlawful interference with the petitioners’ fundamental right.

The country had a potential to develop this industry thanks to availability of yoga, naturopathy, ayurveda, siddha and varma experts to provide health care services. “It is quite unfortunate that the very word ‘massage’ had come to be looked down upon due to the abuse of these centres by a few individuals. Therefore, the government could regulate the industry and provide certain basic parameters, the judge observed.

Recommended for you