Aquila, Delhi restaurant that denied entry to saree-clad woman, shut by South MCD

The South Delhi Municipal Corporation has alleged the Aquila restaurant was operating without a health trade license.

The Aquila restaurant at Ansal Plaza, where a woman was allegedly denied entry as she was wearing saree, has been shut after being issued a closure notice by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation.

The notice makes no mention of the recent incident; rather the civic body has alleged the restaurant was operating without a health trade license, following which the owner was issued a notice and he shut operations.

A senior official of the South MCD said the restaurant shut on September 27.

The closure notice dated September 24 states that a public health inspector found, during a check on September 21, that the facility was allegedly running without a health trade licence and under unhygienic conditions. It also flagged alleged encroachment on public land.

“The public health inspector again inspected the site on September 24 and found that the trade is running under the same condition. You are directed to close the trade within 48 hours of the receipt of this notice failing which suitable action including sealing will be taken without assigning further notice,” the SDMC public health department notice issued to the restaurant owner stated.

The development came to light in the SDMC House meeting Wednesday when Congress councillor from Andrews Ganj, Abhishek Dutt, moved a proposal demanding a fine of Rs 5 lakh be imposed against any restaurant, bar or hotel that denies entry to a person wearing traditional Indian attire.

“The restaurant was running illegally without a licence. The notice was issued after I raised the issue. Now, authorities inform that the restaurant has been shut. It is a matter of probe how the restaurant was running without a licence,” he said.

A video had gone viral last week, wherein a woman was allegedly not allowed to enter the restaurant as she was wearing a saree because it does not fall under the category of “smart casual”.

The National Commission for Women took cognizance and asked the Delhi Police chief to probe the incident, while also writing to Aquila’s director to appear before it on September 28 with supporting documents and an explanation.

As the clip went viral, the restaurant issued a statement: “At Aquila, we believe in honouring our Indian community and have always welcomed our guests in all dress codes from modern to traditional.” They also claimed the woman slapped their staff member. “To tackle the situation and request the guest to leave, one of our gate managers made a statement on sarees not being a part of our smart casual dress code; our whole team apologises for the same,” the statement said.

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