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Mumbai to miss ‘Victoria’ rides after a year as HC orders ban

Bombay High Court

Mumbai: Visitors to Mumbai will be missing the joyride in the famous horse-dawn “Victoria” carriages a year after as the High Court today ordered the government and civic authorities to ban them totally within that period to end cruelty towards horses.

In its order on a petition by animal rights NGOs,the Bombay High Court observed that the horse-drawn carriages carriages plying in the city were “illegal and violative of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.”

A division bench of Justices A S Oka and A K Menon passed the orders on hearing a public interest litigation filed by city-based NGO ‘Animals and Birds Charitable Trust’ alleging cruelty to horses by using them for joyrides.

The court also directed that all stables for horses in the city be closed down after a year and taking into account the livelihood of around 700 families dependent on this business asked the state government to formulate a scheme for their rehabilitation.

The petitioners, including NGOs- People for Animals and People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)- has sought a direction to ban plying of Victoria horse-drawn carriages.

The high court directed all authorities to ensure that the use of horse-driven carriages and/or Victorias in Mumbai shall be completely stopped after a year.

“We hold that the use of horse-driven carriages/Victorias in Mumbai for joyrides is completely illegal. The activity of using horse-driven carriages only for joyrides solely for human pleasure is an avoidable activity. Horse-driven carriages only for joyrides is violative of Section 3 and 11 of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act,” the bench said.

The court has also directed that all stables for horses in the city be shut after a year.

“The government shall also formulate a rehabilitation scheme for the horses. If any reputed animal welfare organisation comes forward to take care of these horses, then the state government is free to consider the same,” the court said.

The government has been directed to formulate the scheme by December 31, 2015 and submit a compliance report in January, 2016 before the high court.

The court made it clear that the ban is only for the city of Mumbai.

“In other cities, such carriages may be used for other purposes too. But if it is noticed that carriages are used for joyrides, then that should be stopped by the concerned authority,” the court said.

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