Practice of ‘cross-massage’ at spas permissible
The ruling will put an end to the practice of the police poking its nose in the day-today functioning of the peaceful business of various spas.
Request for interim injunction
The court’s order came in response to the application for interim injunction filed by M/S Influence Lifestyle Stores Private Ltd. The said firm had, in its application, asked the court to direct the police not in indulge and interfere in the firm’s routine functioning of providing various spa treatments to its clients of both genders.
The spa owner had, in the application, stated that running a health spa, with cross massages done by the opposite sex, is a global practice and there is no legal embargo on the same.
Response to the application
To this application, Justice K Chandra said, “there is no law regulating the field.” The judge said, “Police as on date has no legal right to prevent a health spa being operated by any citizen of this country, even if it (massage) is done by persons belonging to the opposite sex.
“As pointed out by the Supreme Court, majoritarian impulses rooted in moralistic tradition cannot impinge upon individual autonomy... In the absence of a law, the only argument of the state was based upon moral and ethical grounds," added the judge.
Referring to legal precedents on related subjects, the judge said the honorable Supreme Court and several other high courts had, on various occasions, got in the way with of police powers to disallow dance shows in restaurants and women serving liquor in bars.
The judge however clarified that the police was well within its rights to inspect the premises of the spa and take any action, within the ambit of law, to stop any sort of criminal activities from thriving.
Meanwhile, the Chennai city police commissioner filed a counter, stating that the practice of cross massage was to hoodwink the authorities and under its garb, health spas carry on immoral activities. Such practices attract men of dubious character as well as anti-social elements to the spas, the commissioner noted.