New Delhi: A new license policy for spa and massage centres was implemented by the South Delhi civic body, after East Delhi Municipal Corporation banned cross-gender massage. The SDMC announced on Monday, ‘Cross-gender massage will not be allowed at spa centres. Male and female centres will be in different sections and can remain open only between 9 am and 9 pm. In residential areas, new centres will not be allowed.’
East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) banned gender-bending massages at spas under its jurisdiction last month.
SDMC estimates that there are about 300 spas and massage parlors in south Delhi. ‘There will be a mandatory provision for the production of ID cards of all customers,’ it said. According to a report from the civic body, the policy has been approved by Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal. Any failure to follow the guidelines may lead to legal action being taken against the defaulters, including revocation of their license. It is expected that the North MCD, which is governed by the same framework, will follow suit.
The Delhi Commission for Women’s (DCW) Chairperson Swati Maliwal had earlier raised concerns about irregularities and sexual abuse at spas and massage centers, and a task force was then established to review her report and take action.
To obtain a health trade licence, spas and massage centres must follow the new guidelines of the Delhi government, which completely prohibit ‘any form of sexual activity on the premises’ and employment of people under the age of 18. The Delhi government, however, in response to a petition challenging the recent guidelines prohibiting cross-gender massage in spas, has informed the Delhi High Court that the guidelines have yet to be notified and are not currently being enforced.