CHENNAI: The Greater Chennai City Police commissioner Shankar Jiwal tendered an unconditional apology before the Madras High Court after police officers in several parts of the city raided a spa against the provisions of law and the direction of the High Court.
The Commissioner filed a counter before Justice N Anand Venkatesh expressing regret for the act of policemen who raided a spa network’s branches in the city.
“Police could have avoided the controversy in this case if they had followed the procedure under Section 15 of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act before conducting the raid/search. I tender an unconditional apology to this court on behalf of the respondent police for not following the court order and conducting a surprise check without adhering to the procedure mandated under Section 15 of the Act, and the circulars issued to that effect,” the officer submitted through State Public Prosecutor Hasan Mohamed Jinnah while the judge was hearing a contempt petition filed by Hema Jwaalini, director, Willows Spa Private Limited, Chennai.
The petitioner prayed for action against police officials from Kilpauk, Nolambur, Foreshore Estate, Saidapet, Anna Nagar, Nungambakkam, Chetpet, Valasaravakkam, Neelankarai, Kanathur, Adyar, Tiruvanmiyur, and Mambalam stations for not obeying the order of the High Court dated March 15, 2021.
“While hearing my earlier petition, the High Court passed an order that when a trading establishment did not have any trade licence, Greater Chennai Corporation is the authority to conduct the raid in the establishment. The court further clarified that police have no role to play insofar as running the business establishments without a trade licence. However, ignoring the court order, the police continued to conduct raids in our spas,” the petitioner added.
In her affidavit, the petitioner said that the police had forced the staff and therapists working in the spas to sign letters and undertakings as dictated to them.
“Our staff were also asked to pay fines under Section 37 of Chennai City Police Act, 1888, without issuing any receipts, even though the violation of the Section does not apply to the operation of spa massage centres,” the petitioner submitted.
The city police chief submitted that the procedure under Section 15 of the Act would be strictly followed while conducting any raid or search, and also taking into consideration the fact that an SOP has been given to all the police officers concerned to follow the procedure while conducting the operation.
Recording the submissions made by the Commissioner, Justice Anand Venkatesh disposed of the contempt petition.