As The State Government Delays Developing a Rehabilitation Scheme, Horses Used to Haul Carriages Continue to Suffer On the Streets Of Mumbai
MUMBAI, (GNI): A bench of Justice V.M. Kanade and Justice P.R Bora asked the Government of Maharashtra to file an affidavit within 14 daysexplaining their progress on developing a rehabilitation plan for Victoria horse carriage owners. PETA India is a party to the case and was represented by senior advocate Mr. Shyam Mehta in court.
According to sections 3(1), 8(1), and 11(1) of The Bombay Public Conveyances Act, 1920, horse-drawn carriages, horses, and drivers, respectively, are to be licensed by the traffic police. However, the 8th June 2015 judgment of the Bombay High Court ruled that using Victorias in Mumbai for so-called “joyrides” is illegal since they aren’t being used for the purpose of conveyance of persons or goods and, therefore, do not meet the definition of “public conveyance” under the 1920 law. The court also maintained that none of the stables for horses in Mumbai possess licences under Section 394 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888.
In April 2016, the Supreme Court dismissed a special leave petition challenging the Bombay High Court order which stated that Victorias must be phased out within a year. Instead, it directed carriage owners to approach the Bombay High Court by way of a review petition and directed the Maharashtra government to present its rehabilitation plan for carriage owners and drivers. The Supreme Court also granted a six-month extension for the implementation of the Bombay High Court order, and this timeline ended on 24 October, 2016.
“It’s high time the Maharashtra government puts an end to the cruel, dangerous, and illegal plying of horse carriages that is occurring right under its nose”, says PETA India Chief Executive Officer Poorva Joshipura. “Any delay in implementing the rehabilitation scheme for horse-carriage owners and horses would mean another day that the horses will pose a traffic risk and suffer on the road.”
PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way” – had earlier provided to the Bombay High court with evidence of cruelty to horses from its numerous investigations of Mumbai’s horse-drawn Victoria industry. These reports revealed that the horses were often injured, sick or severely malnourished and that they were forced to stand amidst their own waste in filthy and decrepit stables. Reports further revealed that the horses were frequently denied adequate rest, water and veterinary care. Since July 2016, a total of nine unfit, suffering horses have been seized from Mumbai roads by Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI)-authorised inspectors. For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com. ends