A Supreme Court bench consisting of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice M.M. Sundresh on Monday dismissed an appeal against the ban imposed by the Bombay High Court on horse-drawn Victoria carriages. With this dismissal, the Bombay High Court orders dated June 8, 2015 and April 3, 2017, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' (PETA) petition, stand reaffirmed.
The June 8, 2015 judgment of the Bombay High Court ruled that using Victoria's carriages in Mumbai for "joyrides" is illegal. The court also maintained that none of the stables for horses in Mumbai possesses a license under Section 394 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888.
On April 3, 2017, while dismissing a review petition filed by horse owners, the Bombay High Court firmly reiterated its earlier decision. Following this, on July 7, 2017, the Bombay High Court accepted Maharashtra state's rehabilitation plan for horse-drawn carriage owners and drivers, further clearing the way for the implementation of the ban on Victoria carriages.
"The beautiful mechanical e-carriages now used in Mumbai instead of horse-drawn carriages have relieved the animals' suffering and are safer for city roads", says Arunima Kedia, PETA India's senior legal counsel. "Old habits die hard for some, but most tourists and drivers alike prefer the e-carriages to those that unhappy horses are forced to pull."
PETA India's investigations, filed before the Bombay High Court, revealed that horses were often injured, sick, and severely malnourished and forced to stand amidst their waste in filthy and decrepit stables. Reports further documented that they were frequently denied adequate rest, water, and veterinary care. Accidents involving horse-drawn carriages have caused numerous injuries, some of which have been fatal.
In the years since the Bombay High Court passed the above orders, many horse owners and carriage drivers have switched to alternate forms of livelihood, including driving mechanical e-carriages to offer rides to tourists. Numerous horses have been rescued from suffering by pulling Victoria carriages on tar roads and released to sanctuaries, where they can enjoy their lives in peace, said PETA in a statement. (ANI)