The Bombay high court on Thursday rapped the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for not considering applications from stable owners in the city, when they allowed the Royal Western India Turf Club to have one in central Mumbai.
“If you have issued a licence to one stable in the city, then consider other applications as per law," a division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Nitin Jamdar said.
The BMC’s counsel said that the corporation’s policy does not permit stables within Mumbai owing to concerns of hygiene.
To this, court said, “You may keep the highest standards of hygiene in mind while still considering their applications.
The court also asked the civic body not to segregate horses into five-star and other classes. Horse owners said that they were ready to apply for licenses and added that most stables are in a good condition.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Animals and Birds Charitable Trust, a not-for-profit, which stated that using animals to take passengers on joy rides amounts to cruelty. The PIL also sought a ban on Victoria buggies in South Mumbai.
The judges said the traffic police should renew licences of horse carriage owners after taking into consideration provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act.
The court further stated that if the civic body or the traffic police seize a horse found in an unfit condition, then it must be handed over to the Bombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty towards Animals (BSPCA) for treatment.
The petitioner's counsel, Shiraz Rustomji, contended that the carriage permit restricts the passengers to three. However, the counsel for horse owners said that as per their licences, six people are allowed on the carriages.