Supreme Court Refuses Special Leave Petition Attempt by Mumbai Victoria Carriage Industry

For Immediate Release:
25 April 2016

Dr Manilal Valliyate; [email protected]
Shambhavi Tiwari; [email protected]

Court Directs Petitioners Back to the Bombay High Court While Emphasising the Urgency for Maharashtra State to Develop a Rehabilitation Plan for Victoria Drivers

 Delhi – Today, the Supreme Court of India directed Victoria carriage owners to withdraw their special leave petition, which sought permission to continue to operate horse carriages in Mumbai, and informed them that they need to approach the Bombay High Court by way of a review petition. The Victoria owners’ attempt follows the 8 June 2015 Bombay High Court ruling that horse carriages must be phased out of Mumbai within a year.

Though the Supreme Court will allow the carriage owners to ply their trade for six more months or until the pendency of the review petition, it refused to stay the 8 June order and called for the Maharashtra state government to develop its plan for the rehabilitation of the carriage owners and drivers as per the Bombay High Court. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India was an intervener in the Bombay High Court matter which resulted in the directive that the Victorias be phased out, and the organisation was represented in the Supreme Court today by senior advocate Anand Grover. Mr Grover told the Supreme Court that the Bombay High Court had found plying the Victoria carts illegal. He also said that the Maharashtra government is reportedly in the process of proposing a rehabilitation plan. The other intervener in the High Court matter, People for Animals, was represented today by senior advocate Siddharth Luthra.

“We hope the Maharashtra government takes notice of today’s directive to propose a rehabilitation plan and submit it before the Bombay High Court immediately”, says PETA India Director of Veterinary Affairs Dr Manilal Valliyate. “PETA India’s numerous investigations have found that Mumbai’s Victoria industry is inherently cruel, and any delay in implementing the rehabilitation plan for horse carriage owners would mean another day that the horses will pose a traffic risk and suffer on the road.”

PETA India notes that meanwhile, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has issued two notices calling for the closure of illegal horse stables in Mumbai as per the Bombay High Court’s 8 June order.

PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way” – had provided the Bombay High Court with reports of cruelty to horses from its numerous inspections of Mumbai’s horse-drawn Victoria industry. These reports reveal that the horses were often injured, sick or severely malnourished and that they were forced to stand amidst their own waste in filthy and decrepit stables. The reports also reveal that the horses were frequently denied adequate rest, water and veterinary care. In addition, forcing horses to spend their entire lives on pavement – when they are meant to walk on grass – is inherently cruel. Once horses lose function in a joint, as quickly happens when they’re made to walk on pavement or haul heavy loads, more stress is placed on the other joints, tendons and ligaments. As a result, the healthy parts of the legs are subjected to wear and tear, eventually leading to inflammation of all the joints, tendons and ligaments. No veterinary medicine or surgery can cure this condition, and it cannot be reversed.

In Delhi, the government moved tonga drivers into other professions by providing them with open access to Tehbazari sites and financial assistance to buy auto rickshaws.

PETA India’s campaign against cruelty to horses is supported by numerous celebrities, including Anushka Sharma, Arjun Rampal, Zeenat AmanHema MaliniMahesh Bhatt, John AbrahamPooja Bhatt, Jacqueline Fernandez, Sunny Leone, Dino Morea and dancers Sandip Soparrkar and Jesse Randhawa, as well as many others who took to Twitter, met with concerned government officials or helped in other ways to rid Mumbai of horse-drawn Victorias.

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