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Mumbai court tells Maharashtra govt to form scheme to keep Victoria horses safe, healthy

Mumbai city news: As there are no licenced stables in Mumbai, the Bombay high court was worried over the fate of 150-odd horses

mumbai Updated: Jul 08, 2017 09:54 IST
Kanchan Chaudhari
Kanchan Chaudhari
Hindustan Times
Mumbai city news,Victoria horses,Maharashtra government
The court was responding to a public interest litigation filed by NGO Animals and Birds Charitable Trust, which raised concerns over how the horses and carriage owners would be rehabilitated.(HT File Photo)

A day after the Maharashtra government submitted a policy to rehabilitate Victoria owners and drivers, the Bombay high court directed the state to frame a comprehensive scheme to ensure that their horses are healthy and safe.

“What about the 150-odd horses? What will happen to them now that there are neither licences to ply such carriages nor licenced stables in Mumbai?” the division bench of chief justice Manjula Chellur and justice Nitin Jamdar asked additional government pleader Milind More.

“We are concerned about them,” said the judges, directing the animal husbandry department to ensure the safety of these animals that once used to draw iconic carriages in the city.

The court was responding to a public interest litigation filed by NGO Animals and Birds Charitable Trust, which raised concerns over how the horses and carriage owners would be rehabilitated. The NGO alleged that these horses were treated cruelly and forced to ferry people on joyrides.

In June 2015, the high court had directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to ban Victorias, terming them “illegal and violative of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.”

The court had also directed the state to frame a comprehensive policy to rehabilitate the carriage owners and drivers who would be affected by the ban.On Thursday, the Maharashtra government filed an affidavit disclosing its policy to rehabilitate Victoria owners and drivers.

Under the policy, the Victoria owners and drivers are eligible for street vending licences under provisions of the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending Maharashtra Scheme) Act. They will also get Rs3 lakh in financial aid.

The affidavit said the state cabinet has instructed the animal husbandry department to frame a comprehensive policy to care for the horses.

First Published: Jul 08, 2017 09:52 IST