Horse carriages, popularly known as Victorias, would continue to serve joy rides to tourists in the city for some more time as the Bombay High Court granted further time to Maharashtra government to file an affidavit on complying with its earlier order banning them. A division bench of justices A S Oka and A K Menon was hearing a PIL filed by city-based NGO Animals and Birds Charitable Trust.
The government was to file a compliance report on rehabilitation scheme for horses, but did not file any affidavit, following which the judges gave more time to the government.
However, the time-frame has not been given to the authorities for reporting compliance. The court had completely banned Victorias from plying on Mumbai roads a year after its order issued on June 8, 2015. However, some horse carriages are still seen plying in the city, the petitioners said.
The high court had banned the Victorias as they were “illegal” and violated the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. The high court had directed the authorities to ensure that use of horse driven carriages and Victorias in Mumbai be completely stopped from June this year.
The court had also directed the stables to close down by then, while directing the government to formulate a rehabilitation scheme for the horses by December 31, 2015. The government is yet to reply whether it has come out with such a scheme.
The court had also specified that the ban on Victorias and horse-drawn carriages from June this year was only for the city of Mumbai and ruled that in other cities such carriages may be used for other purposes too. “But if it is noticed that the carriages are used for joyrides, then that should be stopped by the concerned authority,” the court had said.