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Slight difference in the nature of services for the battle against Covid-19: Delhi High Court

The slight difference in the nature of services and a slightly higher percentage of risk due to the proximity of the client and the service provider can be obviated by prescribing stricter measures and safeguards. Such preventive measures must be adopted rather than continuing to keep the establishments closed. This was contended by the Delhi High Court, in the case Ms. Sukaita and othrs. vs. Government of NCT of Delhi and Anr. [W.P.(C)6555/2020] and Association of Wellness Ayurveda and Spa vs. Government of NCT of Delhi [W.P.(C)7366/2020], presided by J. Pratibha M. Singh.

In the present case, the Petitioners are technical workers who have been trained under various national bodies and run spas in Delhi. In effect, the grievance of the Petitioners is that, after the lockdown in March 2020, though various other establishments have been permitted to reopen and commence businesses, spas have still been forced to remain closed. The Petitioner is also aggrieved by the delay by GNCTD and the Ministry of Home Affairs in issuing guidelines for re-opening of spas. Accordingly, the Court permitted the reopening of spas, wellness clinics and similar establishments, in the GNCTD, by laying specific guidelines to be followed and strict measures to be taken.

The honorable Court asserted that, “The slight difference in the nature of services and a slightly higher percentage of risk due to the proximity of the client and the service provider can be obviated by prescribing stricter measures and safeguards rather than continuing to keep such establishments closed. It also cannot be lost sight of that several salons also provide services akin to those provided in spas. Thus, the difference between the services provided in Salons and Spas is very minimal. Both these services require service providers and service takers to remain in close proximity for a sufficient duration. Thus, while allowing the opening of salons, continuing the embargo on spas would be violative of the rights of these establishments and their employees”. The court further held, “While this Court is conscious of the importance of prescribing strict safeguards that ought to be taken by establishments providing spa services as also the clients who visit these establishments, the continuation of the embargo on reopening of spas is unjustified. Accordingly, this Court permits the reopening of spas, wellness clinics and similar establishments, in the GNCTD.”

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