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HT Correspondent and Agencies, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, January 16, 2013
The state government has received 53 applications from owners of Victoria horse carriages for renewal of licence, of which they have renewed only 18, the Bombay high court was informed on Tuesday. The state has rejected 35 applications, it told the HC. The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by the Animals and Birds Charitable Trust, seeking a ban on the popular Victoria carriage rides on grounds that it amounts to cruelty to animals.

The bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and Anoop Mohata then deferred the hearing of the PIL for a month.

The court had earlier expressed displeasure over the delay by the police in renewing licences of Victoria horse carriage owners within the time stipulated by the court.  It had also asked the civic body to seize horses in unlicensed stables in the city and hand them over to the NGO. The court had directed authorities to also issue fitness certificates to the horses while deciding whether to renew the licences. 

According to an order passed on November 4, 2012, horse carriage owners who have failed to renew licences would be prohibited from plying on the roads.

Currently, there are 170 horses, including ponies, as well as 130 Victoria horse carriages in the city, down from about 800 a few years ago. The petitioners had alleged that horses are made to stand all night, with their legs tied, and were badly injured or sick.