A Calcutta High Court division bench on Monday asked police and the Calcutta Municipal Corporation to ensure that no horse-drawn carriage is allowed to ply in the Maidan area without valid licence and registration.
The order, which had not been uploaded on the court website till 10pm on Monday, came on a public interest litigation seeking monitoring of the health of the horses.
The division bench of the court, headed by Chief Justice T.S. Sivagnanam, asked the Calcutta Municipal Corporation to inspect and identify the carriages plying without proper registration and license.
The petitioner alleged that a number of unlicenced carriages were being used for “commercial purpose” in and around Maidan.
The petitioner also claimed that in many cases, there were no whereabouts about the actual owners of the carriages.
The horses that pull carriages here are malnourished and are ill-treated, and often abandoned when they are no longer able to bear the weight, alleged the petitioner.
The petition identified “278 horses” in and around the Maidan.
An earlier PIL on the same issue had alleged that racehorses, when too frail to compete, are abandoned by their owners and then made to pull carriages.
The carriages are a popular attraction for tourists, especially in winter. They take people around Victoria and the greens of the Maidan.
An entire market system thrives around them, with balloon and snack sellers and others.
But animal rights advocates have been up in arms against these carriage operators alleging that they do not care for the horses.
Abandoned and unfed horses are a common sight on the Maidan.