23 Dec 2021 3:45 PM GMT
In a plea filed by the owner of an Ayurvedic Therapy Centre aggrieved by frequent police inspections, Madras High Court has held that it cannot pass preventive orders to curb the law-enforcing authorities from exercising their powers in accordance with the law. Justice S.M. Subramaniam observed,"there are large scale allegations in general in the public domain against such Ayurvedic...
In a plea filed by the owner of an Ayurvedic Therapy Centre aggrieved by frequent police inspections, Madras High Court has held that it cannot pass preventive orders to curb the law-enforcing authorities from exercising their powers in accordance with the law.
Justice S.M. Subramaniam observed,
"there are large scale allegations in general in the public domain against such Ayurvedic Spa and Massage centers. On information, the Police authorities are empowered to conduct inspections. If any doubt arises, the Police authorities are bound to conduct inspections in order to verify the business activities and to prevent illegal activities in the premises."
The plea sought relief in terms of restraining the law enforcement agencies from repeatedly conducting inspections in the business premises and interfering with the lawful business of the petitioner, thereby causing disturbances.
The Court was however of the opinion that the petitioner's claim about 'lawful business' can't always be trusted upon and the Police authorities are duty-bound to verify the same. Noting that the Police should conduct such inspections, the court suo motu impleaded Director General of Police while stressing on the need to issue a circular to that effect.
The court also observed that installing CCTV Cameras in such public places will go a long way in preventing illegal activities. The court felt that it was necessary to make functional CCTV cameras a norm in all Municipalities and corporations in Tamil Nadu. Accordingly, the court noted in the order as follows:
"The respondents are directed to issue appropriate orders to all the Spa and Massage centers, Therapy centers etc., across the State of Tamil Nadu to install CCTV cameras which must be functional in all circumstances."
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The Spa Centres, etc. are further directed to avoid secluded or closed rooms for conducting their business activities. The police has also been instructed to initiate action against any illegal activity in such centres upon receipt of a complaint or based on information received.
While considering the plea of the petitioner, the court added that preventing the law enforcement agencies from exercising their due powers is 'not only unconstitutional but result in encouragement of crimes in the society'.
"No doubt, the Police officials are bound to exercise their powers only by following the procedures and in accordance with law. However, the preventive orders, if any issued, would cause great prejudice to the authorities from exercising the power even in a lawful manner and such restrictions would be taken undue advantage of the persons, who all are running such massage centers and spas. Thus, entertaining a writ petition itself would create certain issues in the absence of any cause for consideration of relief", said Justice Subramaniam.
About the police officials insisting on the installation of CCTV Cameras in such premises, the court remarked that it will help authorities to verify the CCTV footage and ensure that no illegal activities are conducted.
"In urban Areas and Metropolitan Cities like Chennai, Coimbatore, large number of such spas and massage centers are suddenly growing within a short span of period and there are numerous allegations against the business activities of these spas and massage centers and more specifically, the allegations of prostitutions are also frequently received by the police authorities.", the court noted.
Case Title: C P Girija v. Superintendent of Police & Ors.
Case No: W.P.No.37089 of 2015
Click Here To Read/ Download Order